After the Fall
I went into this book without many expectations --- “Another high school drama, that’s all,” I thought. However, AFTER THE FALL was a shockingly powerful novel that handled many grave topics with integrity. The summary on the cover jacket is awfully misleading, claiming the protagonist --- Raychel --- is “sleeping with two boys” who are brothers. I feel as though this description seems to imply that Raychel has a questionable, if not slovenly, character even though this is far from true. Rather, she has two completely different but equally beautiful relationships with Matt and Andrew that help her grow as a person.
"I feel as though the message behind this novel would have been exemplified had the story been broken into two separate books rather than two parts; nevertheless, AFTER THE FALL is still moving and deeply meaningful, as well as the right amount predictable and unpredictable."
Raychel is truly a strong young woman who faces problems that arise in her life with dignity and aplomb. The novel is told from the alternating perspectives of Raychel and Matt, and although I understand why Kate Hart felt the need to incorporate Matt’s point of view in the novel, I cannot help but wish she hadn’t. Matt is an all-around stereotypical “good” boy: the Student Council member who excels academically, volunteers in his free time, is destined to attend his parent’s elite alma mater and helps his friends and family out. However, although Raychel is supposedly Matt’s best friend, I felt as though their friendship is forced and awkward. Matt drives Raychel to school, offers her money when seeing her family’s dire financial situation, hangs out with her and basically does everything a best friend should; yet, unfortunately, he fails to understand her. Matt and Raychel do not connect on an emotional or spiritual level, and Matt refuses to place himself in her shoes, someone who is not as fortunate as him. Keri, on the other hand, is one of my favorite characters in the novel. Even though she has not known Raychel for nearly as long as Matt has, she is able to offer Raychel support in a much better manner than him. Keri constantly tries to defend Raychel and uplift her even when Raychel attempts to push her away and is simply an amazing friend we would all be lucky to have in our lives.
The first and second halves of the book have vastly different tones to them. Whereas the former part was slow-paced, the latter was so rushed I was unable to connect with the characters in the way I wanted to. Personally, I feel as though the message behind this novel would have been exemplified had the story been broken into two separate books rather than two parts; nevertheless, AFTER THE FALL is still moving and deeply meaningful, as well as the right amount predictable and unpredictable. There are some parts that left me devastated and others that gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside; either way, this novel is sure to take you on a whirlwind of emotions and concludes with a bittersweet ending that is realistic, heart-wrenching, and lovely.
Reviewed by Niraja S., Teen Board Member on February 13, 2017