Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton: Review and Giveaway

Posted May 1, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 10 Comments

Publisher: Crown
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Mystery
Source: TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Afterwards: A Novel
Blurb: There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there…

Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and rush. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.

Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who’s still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

Review: I’m sitting here in my recliner, trying to think where I want to start with this review. Should I start with what I disliked first? Or should I talk about how it emotionally made me feel? Or should I just talk about how close this book came to being extra-special, but ended up missing the mark in a pretty big way?

The first thing a reader should know before even opening this book is how awkward the writing style truly is. To me, this is where the book ruined itself before it even began. I actually abhorred the writing style. There were several occasions where I slammed the book down and said out loud that I couldn’t do it. I know what the author was trying to do. I even respect what the author was trying to do. But it seemed unnecessarily gimmicky and over the top. Rather than try to explain how messed up the second person POV and writing style were, I’m just going to quote it and let you see for yourself. Sometimes that’s better.

“Who did he get to blame my son?” Your anger hurling the words at her.

“I’ve no idea what you’re on about,” she says. 

“Tell him I want to speak to him,” you say. You turn to go.

“Wait. I haven’t finished! I told you, you need to hear the truth.”

“I have to get back to my daughter.”

You start to leave, but she comes after you. “The accident in the playground was Robert Fleming’s fault, nothing to do with Silas.”

You hurry on, not listening. But for a moment I think of eight-year old Robert Fleming, who bullied Adam so horribly.

I think that’s a pretty decent example of what the writing style was like. Now, imagine that over and over again, constantly, throughout the entire book. And there is the problem. I actually had to train myself to deal with the writing style. But I did. I got used to it. I never ended up learning to like it, but more or less endured it. 

And then there were the random but abundant italics. They were all over the place, and for no good reason. I mean why? Imagine if I just stuck random words in italics throughout this review. Can you picture how annoying that would be? No more to say about that. I just don’t understand the point in doing that. It made no sense.

But the truth is, even though there is a lot about this book to complain about, I still loved it. The story itself was brilliant, and even though I didn’t care for the writing style, it did create this wonderful feeling of foreboding. I felt like I was spending the entire book in the eye of a storm and you just knew something terrible was going to happen eventually. I loved the author’s way with words. I loved Grace’s observations of everything that was going on around her. Unraveling the mystery slowly and from her point of view was agonizing, but at the same time, riveting. It was mental torture. But in a good way.

And the thing is? I know I am completely contradicting myself all over the place in this review. But I don’t know how else to do it. Because I still really disliked the writing style. But at the same time, I don’t believe this story could have been told in a different POV. It just wouldn’t have had the same effect. So I’m conflicted. 

Let’s put it this way. I would definitely recommend this book to mystery and whodunit fans. But don’t expect it to be like a standard mystery. Because it isn’t. And even though it’s close to 400 pages, it does read really fast. It’s also a fun ride trying to solve the mystery and figure out who started the fire. I solved it with 100 pages to go, but I didn’t arrive at my solution the same way the author did. So there were still surprises to be had for me even though I knew how it was was going to end. Just try it if you think it sounds like something you might like. You may love it.

To order a copy of Afterwards from, click here: Afterwards: A Novel.

Visit the author on her website at

Follow her tweets by clicking here: Follow Rosamund on Twitter.

And now, for the giveaway. Up for giveaway is one copy of Afterwards. This giveaway is US/CA only. Sorry International readers. I have more great Int. giveaways coming soon. Giveaway starts May 1st, and ends May 8th. Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to confirm mailing address or another winner will be chosen. 

Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Tour Stops:

Rosamund Lupton’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, May 2nd:  The Picky Girl
Thursday, May 3rd:  Indie Reader Houston
Friday, May 4th:  Amused by Books
Monday, May 7th:  Books Distilled
Tuesday, May 8th:  Me, My Book, and the Couch
Wednesday, May 9th:  Girls Just Reading
Thursday, May 10th:  Boarding in my Forties
Friday, May 11th:  Coffee and a Book Chick
Monday, May 14th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, May 15th:  Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, May 16th:  Melody & Words
Thursday, May 17th:  Lit Endeavors

10 responses to “Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton: Review and Giveaway

  1. I could never write a book… because I write how I TALK! In all CAPS with WAY too many exclamation marks!!! Lmfao! If I did- I’d totally have you edit it though, and you’d be pulling your hair out the whole time!!!


    • You certainly have your own voice and style–which I really love by the way. Good luck with Zombie Craze. That must be a ton of work and I totally admire you for putting in so much effort. I love zombie books so I will be visiting a lot. 🙂

  2. Your review of the writing style is probably the same way I’ll feel when I read this. I still want to read it, though, because I’ve read so many good reviews, including your good comments.

    I sure had to laugh at your indiscriminate use of italics to prove your point.

  3. Your review mentions a lot of things about the book that you don’t especially like. However, it looks like the good outweighed the bad because you gave it afour rating! That’s good enough for me to give it a try!!

  4. I just finished this book and was thinking about my review, but you cover most of my points. The idea is good, and surprising she sells the whole spirit thing. But the second person point of view..I spent half the book wondering which ‘you’ she was talking to. Confusing. Also I think about 50-100 pages in the middle could have been edited out.
    Yes, I still liked it. Maybe not quite as much as you, but it was good.
    Maybe I will save some of my points for my own review…lol

    • It did. For me, the pov kind of jolted me out of the story and created a disconnect. I found myself confused a few times, just like you. And you are right about the length. There were a few chapters where nothing happened and it got a little repetitive. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. The paragraph with the random italicized words was just painful to read. Please don’t do that ever again.

    With that said, I’m still very interested to read this book. I’m finding myself really interested in “whodunits” lately. Great review Kara! You always leaving me knowing exactly what to expect, without ruining the story.

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