ARC Review: After the Fall

Author: Kate Hart
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 336 Pages
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Source: ARC via publisher
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Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.
After the Fall is an indescribably and immensely powerful book. If there is one book you read in 2017 it should be this one. This book doesn't just touch upon tough subjects, it surrounds us with these issues and makes us face them even when we wish to stay ignorant and entertained by what we read. But Kate Hart knows better, she confronts us with the problems in such a way that it really settles within us, it makes us squirm and think about our own actions and choices and the people in our lives.

In After the Fall, Raychel has a lot on her plate. An assault from a classmate, the threat of eviction, and her dwindling chances of escaping her hometown for college. Not to mention her two very different relationships with brothers. Perfect Matthew Richardson, her best friend since youth, and his slacker brother Andrew, her secret love interest.

Raychel's life is messy and difficult and her assault weighs on her mind and health. When people in school spread rumors very loosely based on what they thought was true, Kate Hart does a great job speaking to the ideas of reputation and rumors. The inequality and double-standard between men and women. The definition of assault and how the victim tends to blames herself and tries to rationalize while the perpetrator thinks he did nothing wrong. Everything was tastefully done, and Kate captures Raychel's emotions and thoughts perfectly.

Raychel's relationships are another huge part of this book. Most of her friend group is a year older than she and Matthew are, so they are all off at college while she and Matthew finish their final year of high school. Kate explores the meaning of friendship and Raychel's complex relationships with her friends, Matthew, Andrew, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, and Raychel's mother. The romance in this book was cute and sweet and really resonated within. Raychel found someone who wouldn't judge her and tried to understand and if all else failed he was just always there to comfort her. Raychel's friendship with Matthew really sucked me in and held my attention too.

This book has a huge twist, and I urge you not to spoil it for yourself. It's gut-wrenching and gives this book a poignant tone.

Kate Hart is an amazing writer. She manages to find the perfect words to describe literally everything that Raychel and Matthew feel. She makes us feel anguish and regret, sadness and longing, happiness and joy. She seamlessly weaves in such powerful elements and themes in a way that don't seem preachy but rather so natural and effortless. Nothing felt forced, but Kate Hart makes you understand and learn.

Although I really loved this book, the last third of the book lagged for me. An overwhelming sadness overtook me, so you've been warned. I might've sobbed for a good twenty minutes after finishing this book. Kate Hart basically smashed my heart into a million pieces with the ending of the book. She slowly starts to mend it by the last page. The end is by no means perfect which I love.

I loved basically everything about After the Fall. I urge you to read this book. It might not be 100% entertaining and happy at times, but it just so powerful. I think you'll appreciate it.
Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.

4 comments:

  1. Great review, Rachel! I cannot wait to read this book. :)

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  2. I read this a couple weeks ago and it absolutely gutted me in the best way possible. I never in a million years saw it the plot twist coming, and though it was painful, I think it was a huge part of the reason why I loved this story so much. That, plus the graceful way Hart handled all the tough emotions.
    Awesome review, Rachel! :)

    Mariah @ Vibin With Books

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  3. Eeh, I can't wait for this one. I'm SUPER curious about the twist now! Great review!

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  4. This is one of my most highly-anticipated 2017 releases so I'm so happy you loved it! I'm even more excited to read this now! *_* Great review!

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