What Comes After

Riverhead. Apr. 2021. 432p. Tr $28. ISBN 9780593085998.
Jonah and Daniel, friends from the age of three, are now 16 and still the best of friends. Or are they? Sixteen-year-old Evangeline, recently abandoned by her mother and homeless, meets Jonah and Daniel one fateful day. Two days later all three lives have become inextricably and forever linked as tragedy and fate move in and take over. Two of the three end up dead, and Daniel’s normally introverted father is determined to understand how and why. Evangeline is also determined to survive, to make a new life for herself at almost any cost. Through alternating narratives, readers learn the hows and the whys as each character is laid bare. Part mystery and part coming-of-age, this is a finely written tale of love and betrayal, and what happens to those left behind after a mind-blowing tragedy. This is also a salutary lesson in how people can listen but not hear, see but not comprehend even their very best friends or closest family members. How the merest of words, in the most banal and unlikely situations, can precipitate catastrophe.
VERDICT Give this heart-wrenching gem to fans of John Green, Jay Asher, Jennifer Niven, and Jeff Zentner.

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