After by Amy Efaw

Note:  review contains some spoilers.

This is a very compelling book about a teenage girl named Devon who gets pregnant, spends the pregnancy in severe denial and then dumps the baby in the trash once she gives birth.  Unfortunately for her, someone discovers the poor baby and she is arrested for attempted murder.  The rest of the book covers her trial and her stay at a juvenile detention center.

The blurb for this book claims that the author wrote a character that is still sympathetic after what she’s done, but I did not feel sympathetic for Devon at all.  I just cannot comprehend someone her age, in this day and age, being in denial over something like pregnancy.  I mean, we, the reader, are expected to believe that she completely and totally convinced herself that she was not pregnant, and that she was utterly surprised to find a baby come out of her after being in labor.  I just wasn’t believing that.

The writing was very good – the circumstances leading up to the pregnancy are told in flashbacks and in Devon’s discussions with her lawyer.  Even though I found the whole idea of being in denial incredulous, I was riveted.  I also felt satisfied with the ending and the decision Devon makes, but there was one important aspect of it that bugged me.  She fully accepted responsibility for what she did, but didn’t seem to have much remorse for what she did.  She referred to her baby daughter as an “it” right up to the very end.

Even though there are some things about it I didn’t like, I would read it again and I’d even recommend it to others, especially parents and their teenagers, as this subject would be very good for parent-child discussion.