Reviews: Afterward and Diplomatic Immunity

Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 320 Pages
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: ARC via Publisher (thanks!)
Goodreads | Amazon
When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.
I love Jennifer Mathieu’s novels, and Afterward was no exception. It was powerful, interesting, and a well-done look into the lives of kidnapping victims that have to come back into the real world. I was immersed into this story from the first page.

Two boys, and their families, have to come to terms with the kidnapping. Happily Ever After doesn’t come easily after kidnapping victims are rescued and brought home. There has to be therapy and adjustment and hard work put into recovery.

Our main characters are Caroline and Ethan. Caroline is the sister of Dylan, one of the kidnapped children, and who was also autistic. Ethan is the older kidnapping victim. He hadn’t been at his real home for four years. He hadn’t seen his parents for four years. Mathieu really puts the readers into this unreal seeming situation. How can you adjust back at home after four years away?

The relationship between Caroline and Ethan during the novel was just a powerful friendship, nothing more and nothing less. And I appreciate that. They play music together, and I loved that aspect. The story is sad at times, and hopeful at others. It’s a story about blame and I don’t want to spoil it for you. So go read it!

In conclusion, I really enjoyed Mathieu’s latest. Afterward was what I had hoped it would be and more! I would also really recommend her novel The Truth About Alice. Her works are always very important and hard-hitting.

Author: Brodi Ashton
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 368 Pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC via friend (thanks!)
Goodreads | Amazon
Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story's main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?
Diplomatic Immunity was a cute, quick read that wasn’t for me. I think my middle-school self would have loved this to bits! Now, however, I found myself with quite a few qualms with Ashton’s latest. I enjoyed some parts, but others fell flat.

Firstly, the main character, Piper, grated on my nerves. Piper kind of felt obnoxious to me, and I disagreed with her on so many things. This is a very personal preference, so not everyone may feel as I do. Her inner monologues felt scattered and random, and she spoke without a filter in a way that didn’t make me laugh. It’s also told to us many times that Piper is a talented journalist, but her skills seem far from competent in the book.

Secondly, I didn’t every feel very excited or on-the-edge-of-my-seat. It should have been. Diplomatic Immunity! Private exclusive schools! Crazy privileged students! Hard hitting exposes! Instead, I felt this was all watered down for romance and boring inner monologues.

I am so sad about this book. Some parts were entertaining and cute, but most of the time I was disappointed, especially since I am a fan of Brodi Ashton and the synopsis seemed so promising. Instead of this, I would recommend reading a Ally Carter or Jennifer Lynn Barnes book.
Emily Anne is a forever book-lover who also happens to dance and bake a lot. On rainy days you can find her cuddled up reading a book while sipping a cup of Earl Grey. Her passions are ballet, books, and blogging. She also stalks her favorite authors on twitter and unabashedly pushes her favorite series onto unsuspecting others.

 She is often on Twitter @Reader_Rising, on Goodreads, or on her blog!


  1. Great review this week! The blog layout is also looking beautiful <3 -Jessica

  2. Afterward was my first book by Jennifer Mathieu and I really enjoyed it. This was a five star read for me. I loved it.


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