Date to be Published: May 22, 2018
Author: Kelley Armstrong
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Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
I voluntarily read an ARC of Aftermath!
The first thing that came to my mind after reading the last word was; Wow. This was such a wonderful and awesome read. The first half really had me near tears while the last half was empowering. This dealt with a difficult topic while adding some action to keep the book moving. A lot happened and I'm still struggling to pick up the pieces. There were so many different emotions I felt while reading this book; so many feels. While there may have been some overly-dramatic moments, in the end it wowed me.
Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.
Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.
Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.
This was about a sensitive subject but this book didn't really start until three years after the incident occurred. But in the beginning of the book there is a short moment of the day of the shooting itself, like when Skye learned of what happened.The book focused on showing us a victim of bullying and dangers of being a sister of someone who is supposedly dangerous. This was definitely a mystery thriller because someone was after Skye and things kept happening to keep the story flowing. This was such a fast paced book that I literally had a hard time putting it down. I stayed up past 3 am just because I couldn't put it down. The story literally had me captivated. Most of this book was about trying to find peace within oneself. The bullying that Skye was put through was heart-breaking and I would hate to think someone would ever have to endure that an intense bullying. Also, there were moments in this book that took you back to when Skye and Jesse were 13. And one or two times of Skye and Luka. What I would have liked was to see those past explanations in italics or a different font so I knew when she was going back. Other than that the plot was really worth reading.
The romance was okay, though it took me awhile to adjust to Skye and Jesse's relationship. They definitely didn't click right away after being apart for 3 years. Jesse was more aloof and standoffish and Skye was more apprehensive. But as the story progressed the two formed and from there things went in their own direction. So yes there's romance and yes I'm glad there wasn't really a love triangle (thank goodness!!) but I still hated how Jesse treated Skye in the beginning. If you love someone you don't treat them the way he treated her at first (and yes I know the history!).
I liked Skye, she was the main protagonist. She had a lot on her plate and considering what she had to endure she was really strong. If it were me I'd hate to think what it would've done to me. Jesse was an unlikable character but by the end I was satisfied with him, just wished I could've of liked him a bit more. Skye's mom didn't make an appearance really (maybe at the end?). She was a weak character to me and I think if the author would've made her stronger maybe things could've been different. Aunt Mae was interesting but she fell kind of flat to me. Some of the other characters were well placed but there's too many to name. The characters were pretty well thought out to me. I could really feel what they were feeling.
Transformation of the Character:
Skye definitely transformed in this book. She changed from some taking crap to wanting to put it all behind her and stand strong. I really loved seeing her transformation because it gave hope to all of us. Jesse transformed in this book too. I liked seeing him become someone I didn't despise. Aunt Mae did some transforming herself, though her's was less noticeable. But she changed from a distracted character to someone who was worth looking at. She kind of was uncaring in an uncanny way. Not in a way of not loving Skye but one overlooking the little details.
I loved the description in this book. I loved the eerie way the author allowed us to feel as she described some scenes. It gave the book a chilled way that really allowed the reader to feel on edge but feel safe at the same time. Ms. Armstrong had a way with words when it came to describing Skye's emotions. The bullying was betrayed realistically and so emotionally that for a moment I forgot it wasn't real.The mystery was written in a way that allowed the reader to keep guessing who was the real person behind each threat. For one moment you were sure it was this person but in the end it totally ended up being someone unexpected. So the description definitely was portrayed perfectly in this book.
This was written in first person and in two POV's (point of views). This being written in first person allowed the author to really dig deeper into Skye and Jesse's psych. I loved being in their mind and exploring their thought processes. Skye's especially allowed me to know how it felt to be on the edge of everything you loved but not being able to touch it. This being in Skye and Jesse's point of view allowed the reader to go back and forth to see different views of the story itself. I thought it was an excellent idea to use these two main characters. They really allowed the story to expand. I loved the author's writing too. This isn't my first book by Ms. Armstrong. She has a way with words that really allows the reader to get attached to the story-line and characters.
Quote of the Book: (This is an ARC this is subject to change, but let's hope not!)
"I see their expressions, and I crumple to the floor. I hear this scream, this terrible scream, and I realize it's coming from me."
This was a fantastic read; one of my favorites by the author actually. So many feels and moments on the edge of my seat. This had me guessing till the very end. Loved the thriller part of it but also the transformation part of it too. This was definitely one thrill ride I loved to ride and sad to see the end. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by this author. I totally recommend that you pre-order this book; you won't be disappointed!!
5 blooms!! Fully Bloomed!!