professornana (professornana) wrote,

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There has been a great deal of buzz about the book AFTER by Amy Efaw. It is the story of a teen, Devon, accused of giving birth to her baby and then throwing it away in a garbage can. Certainly there have been headlines about this type of incident. Just a few years ago, there was a case of a newborn dumped in the garbage here on our own campus. The police went door to door through the dorms where the former resident of the back bedroom lived at the time. They even took DNA swabs from the residents in an effort to find the person responsible.

It is an awful situation. Devon is stretched out on the sofa as the novel opens, feeling ill and out of touch with reality. Her mother returns home from work; Devon is fairly unresponsive. The police come to the door and ultimately discover that Devon is the person who has recently given birth. She is rushed away in an ambulance.

When she recovers sufficiently, Devon is placed in juvie while lawyers argue about whether she should be tried as an adult or not. Her attorney tries to get Devon to talk about what has happened, but Devon is unable and sometimes unwilling to discuss the events leading up to that awful day.

Efaw's narrative shifts back and forth in time as Devon begins to admit the truth, at first only to herself, about what has happened. Readers see Devon's life in the detention facility, her life with her unpredictable mother, and Devon's wrestling with her feelings and memories. There are no easy answers here and no cut and dried moralizing. There are plenty of victims as well. I am anxious to see how teens respond to the story.

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