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27 April 2010 @ 04:05 pm
really after ever after  

Dear Jordan Sonnenblick:

Thank you for this gift of a book. I loved DRUMS, GIRLS, AND DANGEROUS PIE and must admit to some reluctance to read a companion novel. You know the old wisdom about sequels, I am sure. However, it was lovely to meet some of my favorite characters from DGADP all grown up and to be introduced to some new ones as well.

It has been a long haul for Jeffrey. He has been in remission from leukemia for some time. What a lot of people do not know, though, are the after effects of the toxic drugs that, while they kill cancer, are sometimes indiscriminate in the other cells they destroy and damage. So taking toxins to cure one disease can leave someone like Jeffrey with some other obstacles including a bit of a learning difficulty when it comes to math.

How wonderful it was to pick up this book on the first day of our statewide torture also known as the TAKS test week. A time met with sick stomachs by even some of hte most stoic of our students who are being exhorted to score that perfect score, do better, be above average or face. the. consequences. It is not sufficient that Jeffrey has to deal with his own challenges, now there is a new one: he might not go to high school unless he passes the new state tests.

AFTER EVER AFTER handles with aplomb so many topics and issues. Ones from the mundane and almost predictable: friendship, budding attraction to the opposite sex, parents who are, well, parents. But also issues and topics that are not so every day: dealing with death and dying, wrestling with learning and physical challenges. And to do this without being preachy??? How do you do that?

Thanks for letting me see Jeffrey (and even his older bro, Steven, off stage) again. Thanks for reminding me that not only do characters live on after the book ends, people live on after remission. Some face cancer again, some do not. No one gets a happily ever after guarantee. No one knows that more than Jeffey and kids (and adults) like him.

Thanks for making me laugh and cry (unashamedly) and rail against the state testing system with Jeffrey. I enjoyed the visit.


Current Location: homne
Current Mood: moved
Lisa Schroeder, Author for Kids and Teenslisa_schroeder on April 27th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
I'm reading this right now. LOVED DRUMS, GIRLS and DANGEROUS PIES and I too was nervous. But the new one is wonderful too.
proseandkahnproseandkahn on April 27th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
Didn't that bike ride just do you in? It did me. I'm getting sniffly now and do so every time I think about it. Drums is an all-eighth grade read. They're starting it next week, after NJ's state testing.

You're review is just beautiful.

(Anonymous) on April 28th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
I agree it was well done.

(Anonymous) on April 28th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Shared it with my book club
I, too, loved AFTER EVER AFTER. I read the galley last fall when my book club (moms reading YA fiction) read DRUMS, GIRLS AND DANGEROUS PIE, and was thrilled to be able to tell them that not only did Jeffrey survive, he thrived!

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful review.

Cathy B
Houston, TX
owlforya.blogspot.com on April 28th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
I'm so happy there is a sequel and that it's well done. I've got a bunch of kids that read Drums, Girls..... and now want this book!
ramsel22 on April 29th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
Our Beautiful Andrea could benefit from this book...
Andrea is a 17 year old who has gone through two brain surgeries and countless chemo and radiation treatments for tumors that have been cancerous since she was 10. She is in remission and is as sweet as ever and as artistic and conscientious as ever! My children have grown up with her and are endeared to her because she's been a wonderful babysitter and a beautiful friend. Her younger brother Alex (15) is autistic and her younger sister Victoria (11)is "normal." Because we all love her, I want to read this book before I recommend it to her so she can read something she can relate to considering her extraneous circumstances. Maybe this will be a tiny miracle that will give some comfort to the huge living miracle she truly is.

With hope for Andrea,
Selma Ramirez