Saturday, November 03, 2018

YA Thriller Can't-Put-It-Down Compelling, If Not Wholly Believable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Three years ago, Skye Gilchrist fled her hometown in the wake of a tragic school shooting that left four of her classmates dead.  One of the students was her brother, Luka.  If he had been a victim that would have been one thing, but he wasn't.  Luka was one of the shooters.  Ever since the shooting, Skye has been wracked with grief and confusion.  How could her only sibling have committed such a hateful act?  She simply can't believe Luka would have done such a thing.

Now 16, Skye has returned to live in a town still haunted by what her brother did.  She's barely stepped off the plane when she realizes Luka's sins have not been forgotten.  Not by a long shot.  Since he's not around to take the blame, Skye becomes the recipient of the town's anger.  Even though he lost his brother in the shooting, Jesse Mandal—Skye's former best friend—is the only one who shows any empathy.  Together, the two of them uncover inconsistencies about the school shooting, evidence that may clear Luka's name.  The more they dig into the past, however, the more dangerous their present becomes ...

Since I've been enjoying Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series for adults, I thought I'd give one of her YA novels a go.  Aftermath sounded intriguing and it is, although I didn't end up loving the book overall.  While I did find it a compelling, couldn't-put-it-down thriller, it also seemed far-fetched and melodramatic to me.  The fact that everyone in the mid-size town knew Skye on sight (even though she was the sister of a shooter and it had been three years since she lived there) and felt so vehemently vicious toward her just didn't ring true for me.  Also, the kids in the book didn't act like 16 year olds—they seemed much older and their parents/guardians didn't seem to care a lick what they did.  Totally unrealistic.  So, yeah, there were definitely things about Aftermath that bugged.  Still, it's a fast, engrossing read that had me burning through the pages to find out what was going to happen.  Based on this, I'll for sure read Armstrong's other teen thrillers.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult)  

Grade: 


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, depictions of/references to illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

3 comments:

  1. This is such a timely book that it's a shame it brought in the YA melodrama, which took away from the importance of the issue.

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  2. I haven't read this one. I have read her trilogy that features kids with 'gifts' - necromancer, wizard, witch, ghost, werewolf. Liked those books a lot.

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  3. I still need to read Armstrong's Rockton series.

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