Review Blog

Nov 24 2011

What Comes After by Steve Watkins

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Candlewick Press, 2011. ISBN 9780763642501.
(Age 14+) Highly recommended. Newly orphaned 16 year old Iris is forced to leave her home in Maine and live with unknown relatives in North Carolina. As an animal and vegetarian she is horrified by the way her callous aunt and cousin treat the animals on their small farmlet. When intervening to save the lives of two of the animals she is savagely beaten by her cousin on the orders of her aunt and both aunt and cousin end up in the county gaol.
This results in her being fostered and is a new beginning for Iris as she realises that that she must be the one to redeem her life and that there will be no fairytale ending for her. This novel is beautifully written and despite its negative subject matter it has a strong message of hope and resilience. All the characters  are believable and there are some engaging secondary characters.
Fans of Cynthia Voigt's writing will particularly enjoy the novel and it would be an interesting suggestion for girls you would like to move on from the Jenny Downham books.
Chris Lloyd

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