But someone clearly doesn't want Skye back in town, and when she and Jesse uncover new evidence that could clear Luka's name, it becomes obvious that someone wants the past to stay buried. In the aftermath of violence, someone has to pay. Blood for blood.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes a mind-bending thriller that will have readers keeping the lights on.
Synopsis from Amazon
When I first read the synopsis for Aftermath, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to read it. School shootings are becoming way too common to hear about and I didn’t know how I would be able to handle the emotional toll that reading about the aftermath of a school shooting would do to me. However, I’m a big fan of Kelley Armstrong and I didn’t want to miss out on reading a book that she had written; I was surprised to find that this book was different than I was anticipating (more thriller than I had imagined) but it still made an emotional connection.
Loved the Main Characters
I’m a big fan of numerous POVs, so I loved that this story was told from both Skye and Jesse’s perspectives. They are coming from incredibly different places emotionally – Skye is the sister of one of the shooters, and Jesse’s brother died after being shot – and understanding both of their stories was really important. Above and beyond the fact that they were also best friends when they were younger, and a lot of the story revolves around them finding their friendship again and moving into a romantic relationship, I thought it was really well done that Armstrong chose to tell this story from these two viewpoints because it’s always the families of the victims that are left wondering “why?”.
Equally interesting is the relationship that Skye and Jesse each had with their older brothers. Skye doesn’t feel like she can mourn or miss Luka, which is heartbreaking because regardless of his actions, he is still her brother. The flashbacks involving moments of their childhood constantly had me tearing up, because she isn’t allowed to remember the good moments with him. When we eventually learn the truth about Luka’s role, it’s such a relief because it means that Skye’s entire childhood had not been a lie.
On the flip side, Jesse and his brother had a pretty awful relationship and I think it’s fair to say that I hated his brother. He was constantly bullying Jesse and made his life hell on a daily basis. Does that mean that he deserved to die? Absolutely not. But it’s really interesting to read about Jesse’s confusion about mourning his brother. While everyone acts as if he was an amazing person, the way he treated Jesse behind closed doors was awful. I think the hardest moment is when Jesse tells Skye that he’s mostly angry that he didn’t get the chance to grow up and see if his brother actually changed. He’ll just forever be this negative influence in Jesse’s life, and that’s incredibly sad; they never had the chance to heal.
The Ending Felt A Bit Rushed
It’s clear throughout the book that someone is stalking and taunting Skye, trying to make her leave town again, but I didn’t feel like there was enough buildup to the ending of who was behind it all. I wish there had been a bit more depth to the relationship between Skye and Jesse (more time to actually see their relationship grow) and well as more interactions with other people at school. The revelation of who was actually behind the shooting and Luka’s role in everything felt very rushed, and I didn’t feel like it was well developed. I also would have loved to get a little more of an epilogue to see how the school and the community dealt with this revelation. Skye touches upon it briefly, but a bit more information about what happens next would have been nice.
Aftermath could have gone in many different directions, but I liked how Armstrong chose to tell it from the point of view of two characters who have to deal with the repercussions of a school shooting, although they themselves weren’t there. It’s such a hard subject matter, especially because of how often this is currently happening in North America, but I was impressed with the way Armstrong wrote this story. Have you read Aftermath yet?
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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