Books & More from the Teen Scene

Book reviews and other reflections from one of Oregon's young adult librarians

“After” by Amy Efaw February 5, 2013

Filed under: Fiction,Realistic,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 2:20 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
After cover

Images courtesy of GoodReads.com

The Facts

350 pages; published August 2009

The Basics

Devon Davenport was a good kid – a quiet, self-motivated scholar-athlete who was so good at soccer, words like “The Olympics” were being used about her. Until she put her newborn baby in a garbage bag and put it in the trash behind her apartment building. Now, she has been arrested and even she can hardly figure out how it all happened.

Review

Stories about “dumpster babies” get a strong reaction. As one character asks in the book, “What kind of a monster would do this?” Amy Efaw works to supply an answer in this riveting story of a nice young woman who is lying on the couch, feeling ill and out of sorts as her mother describes the scene playing out behind their apartment building. A man on an early morning walk with his dog discovered a baby in a trash bag, crying in the alley. Devon is nearly as shocked as her mother and the visiting police officers when they discover that the mother of this baby is  Devon. She is a straight-A student, a hard worker, a crackerjack on the soccer field, a reliable babysitter and yet … How did it come to this? We come to understand a great deal about Devon – some things only she knew; some things even she didn’t seem to know. The story is certainly interesting and well-written, but I can’t truly say I feel any more understanding of the “dumpster baby” situation. How could someone not know they are pregnant? And while they may not want the baby, how could someone – a decent, nice, good person like the character here – not feel the impulse to protect a life that grew inside them?

Random Thoughts

This book was recommended to me by a library patron who was helping a friend find “really sad stories.” She said it was both worth reading and “super sad.” She was certainly correct on both counts.

Awards/Honors

  • Borders Original Voices Award for Kids & Teens (2009)
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee (2011)
  • TAYSHAS High School Reading List (2010)
  • Florida Teen Read Nominee (2010)
  • Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2012)
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