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After

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Overview

Who could do such a thing? Certainly not someone like Devon Davenport-a straight-A student-athlete with everything going for her. But in a moment of denial, desperation, and sheer panic, she did something that most people couldn't even imagine. And now Devon is being charged with attempted murder. In a skillfully crafted story, Amy Efaw takes readers through the days leading up to-and after-Devon's crime, painting an unexpected picture of a truly empathetic character caught up ...

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After

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Overview

Who could do such a thing? Certainly not someone like Devon Davenport-a straight-A student-athlete with everything going for her. But in a moment of denial, desperation, and sheer panic, she did something that most people couldn't even imagine. And now Devon is being charged with attempted murder. In a skillfully crafted story, Amy Efaw takes readers through the days leading up to-and after-Devon's crime, painting an unexpected picture of a truly empathetic character caught up in an unimaginable situation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to the author's note, “approximately one baby is abandoned to a trash can every day in the United States.” This “dumpster baby” phenomenon is the subject of Efaw's (Battle Dress) chilling sophomore novel. For optimal (if expected) shock effect, the perceived heartless mother, 15-year-old Devon Davenport, is a poster child overachiever—star goalie for the soccer team, exceptional student, well-liked by all. But when she becomes pregnant, her carefully chiseled world turns in on itself. Fueled by a mixture of intense denial about her predicament and disgust at her behavior, Devon tries to absolve herself of what happened “That Night” by pretending “IT” (how Devon refers to the baby throughout) never happened. The result—and the subsequent story of her arrest and prosecution—is harrowing, if melodramatic at times. The scenes between Devon, portrayed as a frozen and shattered victim of her own choices and background, and her lawyer, Dom (especially during the trial), are strong and resonate like the best courtroom dramas. It's an emotionally wrenching story that will keep readers' attention through its surprising conclusion. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
Booklist
Efaw assigns herself a seemingly impossible task . . . yet somehow pulls it off in this successful button-pusher.
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
For those who wonder how a teenage girl can abandon her baby in the trash, this story attempts to flesh out the often one-dimensional character the evening news depicts. Fifteen year-old Devon has spent a long and lonely night of labor and delivery on her bathroom floor, and she is still in shock from the reality of the pregnancy she has spent months denying. When a neighbor discovers the baby in a dumpster, a police search of the neighborhood reveals Devon bleeding on her sofa. The consequences that result from her choice to try to hide her baby are sobering: a handcuffed journey from the hospital to a juvenile detention center, a court date, high school classes at a juvenile facility filled with menacing young women, and finally a critically important hearing to determine if Devon will be tried as an adult. The characterization of Devon shows her to be an achiever, a talented athlete, and a star student, so it takes some doing to reconcile those surprising traits with her criminal deed. The reader wants to root for her and indeed is primed to understand how she could do this, but between Devon's reticence to open up to her attorney (or anyone, really) and the author's use of the third person viewpoint, it is difficult to connect with her, to feel what she feels. At some points, the details of Devon's journey are so specific—the medical exam, the court proceedings, the attorney-client conversations—that the book lacks heart and art. It reads more like a guide to what to expect when you do not know you are pregnant and less of the intriguing narrative it might have been, had there been more pathos. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
VOYA - Hannah Preisinger
This suspenseful story about a young girl is full of heartbreak and fear. Scared and without her mother, who is unreliable at best, Devon has no one to whom she can turn. The book paints a canvas of murky confusion as she battles the state and her own self denial. Readers will be shocked by the sharpness of the characters, the newspapers, court, and the reality of the plot itself. Reviewer: Hannah Preisinger, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Nancy K. Wallace
When police officers find Devon lying on a blood-soaked couch in her mother's apartment, she barely remains conscious long enough to hear them read her rights. In a fog of pain and weakness, she hears them describe the newborn baby found in a plastic bag in the trash can in the alley. In the emergency room, Devon insists that she is only having a bad period until, restrained and sedated, undeniable proof is revealed that she has given birth. A few days later, she is taken to the juvenile detention center where she awaits a hearing. With the help of her attorney, Devon gradually remembers her first and only sexual encounter, her secret pregnancy, and the nightmarish birth that she endured alone in her bathroom. Devon has distinguished herself as a high school honor student and a star soccer player. Afraid of following in her single mom's footsteps, Devon lies to her doctor, her coach and her friends to hide her pregnancy, cutting herself off from any available help. Only her complete denial of her pregnancy and the birth transforms Devon into a sympathetic character. With horror, readers realize that their worst fears are confirmed. There are no extenuating circumstances that excuse Devon's behavior. She bundled her newborn infant into a garbage bag to still its cries and erase its existence. Chilling, realistic and horrifying, this book examines clinical denial in a young girl. Graphic and heart-wrenching, this book belongs in every high school and public library. Reviewer: Nancy K. Wallace
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Through flashbacks, listeners learn that 15-year-old Devon has been a good student and an outstanding soccer player, and her life is all about control and not messing up. But as the story (Viking, 2009) by Amy Efaw opens, Devon is found by the police lying on her family sofa, bloody after giving birth to a baby which was found in the dumpster by a passerby. The story moves through Devon's arrest, her confusion about what is happening to her, and the preliminary court proceedings to determine whether she will be tried as an adult for attempted murder or in juvenile court. Rebecca Soler does a fine job of varying her voice to reflect Devon's various states of consciousness and conscience. Most prominent is the flatness of Devon's voice as she responds to the demands and interactions of those around her, such as her lawyer, who loses patience at Devon's resistance to assist in her defense. Soler also captures the teen's softness as Devon recollects the romantic encounter that led to her pregnancy and then quickly switches to a harsher tone as Devon reflects that she doesn't want to be like her own irresponsible mother. This is an emotional, compelling listen, as the details of the birth are told in great detail and Devon often seems like an observer rather than a participant.—Edith Ching, Washington Latin Public Charter School, DC
Kirkus Reviews
Devon, a perfect student and soccer star, can't explain how she didn't know about her pregnancy or how she could put IT, bloody and wailing, in a trash bag and carry IT out to a dumpster. Efaw captures Devon's mortification, denial and despair, shifting fluidly between her present experiences in a juvenile jail and the terrifying night a baby inexplicably arrived. As her no-nonsense lawyer pushes for answers, readers experience gripping flashbacks alongside Devon. Mounting tension culminates only when Devon finally faces her entire, horrific act. The author constructs powerful, pressurized scenes inside the girls' detention center as well, filling it with believable, disturbing characters, rigid rules and the metallic echoes of lock-downs. Authentic dialogue and pithy writing allow teens to feel every prick of panic, embarrassment and fear. They also quickly understand how Devon could delude herself for so long: No one would want to emulate Devon's mother, a salacious, brassy man-hunter who got knocked up as a teen. Young adults with smoldering parental resentment or with fixations on perfection will understand Devon's devastation at losing a cultivated future. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Barbara A. Ward
Fifteen-year-old Devon is the last person anyone would expect to be in trouble. A role model for others, she makes good grades and is a soccer star. But Devon has kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone, even herself. Alone in her Tacoma apartment, she gives birth, stuffs the child in a garbage bag, and throws it—along with the trash in the place—in a dumpster. The police quickly arrest her for attempted murder, and she is sent to a juvenile detention facility while her fate is determined. Her attorney Dom, who wants her charged as a juvenile, not an adult, encourages Devon to peel off the protective layers to get to the truth. Told through a series of effective graphic flashbacks in which Devon distances herself by thinking of the newborn babe as IT, this book prompts much thought about guilt and conscience and our assumptions about others. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142415900
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/2/2010
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 174,442
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 11.68 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Efaw (www.amyefaw.com) is a former Army officer and freelance journalist. She lives with her family in Denver, Colorado. This is her second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 234 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(127)

4 Star

(52)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 234 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Startling Story!

    After seeing After in a publishing catalog back in December, I just knew I had to read it!

    The "dumpster baby" phenomenon, which is the book's main focus, was both interesting and scary real. Before starting this book, I hadn't really heard or read many news stories about this topic. So, I was intrigued to see how a case like this would go through the courts and the reasons behind the mother's choice to leave her own child in a dumpster.

    Devon was a character that I did come to like and understand her reasoning behind her choice, even if it did take me most of the book. I liked how Amy portrayed in her in way where she didn't glamorize her situation and make it go away, but instead made you see what the consequences from Devon's "dumpster baby" through her own eyes. Also, one thing that really got to me, was how Devon was the ordinary girl on a fast track to greatness, because she was an amazing soccer player, had lots of friends, and fantastic grades. Though, when she finds out she's with child, she flips and denies to herself that she is, leaving her to make the choice she did. What I'm trying to say with this, is that could happen to any of us out there. We could be what people think is "perfect" and still manage to screw it up with one bad choice. It just amazed me.

    The writing was also fabulous. I give Amy major props for how much research she probably did to give us this a story that tells nothing but the truth in what would happened in this kind of situation. I loved seeing the whole court room scenes and the ones between Dom and Devon because I felt like I was right there with them, witnessing the whole thing.

    Though, the one thing that kind of ticked me off about this book was the ending. Even though it did conclude the main problem the characters face in the book, it lead so many others to still be swirling around in my head.

    Overall, After is startling real book told in a way that's honest and raw. I can't suggest this book enough to teens and adults all around. I truly look forward to reading more by Ms. Efaw!

    Grade: A

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    I don't recommend this book.

    I consider myself an avid reader, and I've read many teen books. Although, "After" doesn't make my list of good books. I felt like the relationship between Devon and her mom was cliche. I would've have liked for Efaw to explore the tension between the too. I'm also a soccer player in a very competitive league like what Devon was said to be a part of, but the chance that a coach wouldn't notice a drastic change in one of his star player's bodies is slim to none. Every line of dialogue felt forced. On a positive note, though, I felt scared for Devon throughout the whole book, and I didn't want to believe myself that Devon had done the things she was charged with. Devon's character development was obviously something Efaw worked hard at, and it showed.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    Highly Recommended for BOTH Teens AND Adults!

    Devon is a star soccer player, with hopes and even a chance to make it to the Olympics. Devon has over a 4.0 GPA. She follows the rules and never breaks them. She is known to be the perfect student and teenager. That is until one morning her world is shattered and turned upside down when two cops knock on her door. They have found a newborn baby dieing in a trash can behind her apartment complex. She has no idea why they are knocking on her door... Why would she have any knowledge about a dieing baby??


    Devon is arrested when the cops notice that she has just given birth. But Devon doesn't remember this and does not know what is going on, let alone why she is arrested. After spending some time in the hospital, almost close to death from the loos of blood, she is sent to a Juvenile Detention Center where she is to remain until the courts can decide whether to charge her as an adult or a child for Attempted Murder, Child Abandonment, and Assault.


    While this story is clearly about the social issue of mothers dumping their babies in the trash, Amy Efaw's book is more about a girl's journey to finding out the truth of what she really did, and thus who she really is. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Devon committed this crime. The question is, did she know what she was doing while doing it...


    Most of the story takes place in the Juvenile Detention Center, where Devon meets many different teenage girls, there for many different reasons. By learning a bit more about these girls, Devon finds a little bit more about herself. During her time, you [as the reader:] are also given glimpses into Devon's past to find the events of what really happened: the father of the baby, when she started to feel the symptoms of pregnancy, how she alienated her friends, how she was in denial of everything, and most importantly the morning she gave birth. Amy Efaw bluntly pushes the question of whether Devon is a good character or a bad character, and what will happen to her, in your face. This book is raw in detail and by focusing on a real issue that occurs today, you are left affected in many different ways.


    I personally enjoyed this book - it had all the right qualities and aspects of a Teen-Social-Issue book (as I call them). I felt for Devon throughout the entire book, while at the same time, knowing she was in the wrong. I also felt uncomfortable as Amy Efaw describes details of gruesome but real events. I loved how Amy Efaw pushed this issue into my face and never backed down. A must read!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2009

    Not What I Expected :(

    I was so excited to read this book. Sadly it let me down. The charters were very unappealing. I hated the main character, which is hard to do. I tried to like her every chance i got, but every time she acted more and more stupid. Did Devon have ANY emotions??? NO!

    4 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    How is it Possible?

    I am halfway through this book and so far it is really good. All I can really say is WOW! I dont know if i could do what Devon did. When i first picked up this book to see what it was about, i thought it was a pretty cool book. Then i read the inside cover and i wwas blown away. " Straight A student, soccer player, very responsible...." It sounds quite familiar. Sounds kind of like myself. Im not sure what drove Devon to do what she did yet, but im very curious as to why it happened in the first place. The is a very good book and i recommend it 100% It is a verrrrrrry good book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    F word

    It was...an interesting read. Very engrossing. But I never saw it resolved because the f word was so inconveniently inserted.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    You can only be innocent, if you feel you are

    In this story, Devon, a teenager on the verge of womanhood is thrown into life's ugly grasp by getting pregnant. She is then forced to make a cruel choice to throw away her newborn baby girl, leading to her arrest. Throughout the novel there are a couple of themes, Devon's mother and her newfound friend Karma. Devon's mother not only plays an important part in her life, but also in Devon's choice to throw away her child. Her mother had Devon when she was in high school, and then spent the rest of her life with flings instead of relationships. Devon, not wanting to end her life like her mother, tried everything possible to stop there ever parallel lives, that included the unthinkable. Karma on the other hand showed the internal struggle Devon was facing, and Karma pointed out that while she wore her scars on the outside, Devon wore her's on the inside. There was one major message in the story: It does not matter whether anyone else thinks you are innocent or guilty, it is how you feel, as Devon came to realize at the end of the story. That is one thing I really liked about this book, and also how it gave you another side to all of the news stories you have heard. It added humanity to the seemingly inhumane, a reason behind the actions. What I did not like, is how Devon's thought process worked. Her good judgement was delayed and hard to understand at the end, it was also a little cliff hanger. Leaving the reader wanting more. I believe all teenagers and adults should read this book, it is one of the most raw, in depth novels I have ever read. If you want the other side of the story, read this, and sneak a peek at the lives of teenagers who make bad decisions. Overall, this is a fantastic book and if you like this book, I would also suggest The Secret Life of The Bees and A Long Way Gone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2012

    I really enjoyed and highly recommend this book! Honestly when I

    I really enjoyed and highly recommend this book! Honestly when I read the summary I didn't think that I would get into it very well, but once I started reading I couldn't put it down! It is a very intense and emotional read. Before reading After I hadn't read much about "dumpster babies." This book really opened my eyes to this problem and gave me a passion to learn more. I hope that more people will read this book and be influenced to try to help stop the "dumpster baby" problem. Also anyone who is going into Social Work or Criminal Justice fields I believe would definitely like this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Bittersweet (Spoilers)

    I've read this book in paperback after my sister convinced our dad to get it. I had no idea what it was about, but decided to read it after she was done.
    One word: beautiful.
    It was beautiful in a kind of bittersweet way. I never felt like the conflict was completely resolved. You just knew it was for the best, but you couldn't help but want Devon to reunite with her baby.
    But this isn't that kind of story. When the child grows older, she will be told of how she survived the situation in which her "mother" tried to "kill" her.
    Devon isn't her mom, and she just couldn't raise a child at this age.
    She just couldn't.
    To her, she was still a virgin. The possibility of being pregnant was never even a possibility, let alone considered.
    Yet the only thing I wish was explained more would be the "father" of the child.
    How did he feel that a living being that was biologically "his" almost died from the other person who was in the same situation, yet closer?
    How did he feel that this person was someone he'd known?
    I'd have been fully satisfied if at least one of these questions were addressed.
    When I neared the end of the book, I began to go into a state I can only describe as near-depression.
    I became sadder and just felt like doing nothing and saying nothing. I walked around with my nose in a book, and a bad attitude.
    Finally, I finished he book and felt empty. So I tried to bring up my spirits with a nice shower, and warm leftovers.
    The best kind of books are those that can get a physical or emotional reaction from you. Without that, they are just words printed on dead trees.
    This book is a masterpiece and I recommend it to those of the appropriate age in their early teens.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    This takes place in my neighborhood!!!

    Im only on chapter three but its cool how they describe the setting because i live in tacoma, intern at tacoma general (the hospital devon was admitted to) & live right behind Wright Park! Its like i know exactly where she is throughout the couple chapters ive read so far

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    WORST BOOK EVER!!!!!

    It was awful

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    This book is truly amazing

    Amy is a fantastic writer. Although the book seemed cut short and left me thinking"I finished the book already?", i was in as much denial as Devon was on every page I read. Another minor flaw was that the law parts did get boring at times and I found myself skipping the occasional paragraph. Devon is a complex character but shes very realistic, in my opinion. Definetly do not hesitate to read this book. It left me hopeful and wondering about Devon's uncertain future.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Its not the best

    In the begining it was a good story. I couldnt put it down but towards the middle the story just draged on about the girl's days in jail, that got boring fast. I found my self just skipping chapters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    Horrible Book

    This book was quite good I'm going to be honest. But the end was a total killer for me, I was expecting something a little bit more crazy. Also the story line was totally not predictable at all so if you want an unpredictable book check this one out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

    Devon is a young, athletic girl with a bright future as a soccer player. The Olympics have even been linked to her name. How could a girl like this end up doing something as horrible as throwing a newborn baby in the trash along with other refuse from around the house?

    While canvasing the apartment building looking for information about the abandoned baby, a police officer finds his way to Devon's door. Her mother, recently home from a night shift at Safeway, answers the door and starts her usual flirting. She informs the officer that her daughter, Devon, stayed home from school that day because she was sick. It doesn't take long for him to put two and two together.

    Very quickly, Devon is thrust into a world she never imagined for herself. A world filled with kids with problems more complicated than she has ever experienced. A world in a juvenile detention facility under observation 24-hours a day. A world without anyone she can call a friend.

    The reader witnesses Devon's story unfold piece by piece, almost as if we are understanding what transpired at the same time Devon does. What readers will find most amazing about the entire story is the level of denial Devon immerses herself in so as to function every day. Devon isn't always a likable character, mostly because of the strict discipline she holds herself to in terms of school work and soccer. She rarely lets herself loose, which means people don't know who she really is - including the reader.

    I didn't want to stop reading. I needed to find out what pushed Devon to do something so horrible. Through conversations with her lawyer in preparation for a trial to determine whether or not she'll be judged in the juvenile system or be sent to the adult courts, we get a good picture of what was going through Devon's head. AFTER is definitely an engaging read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Excwed fawn

    Was in the dark forest

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Quick read

    It was pretty good. I cant wait for the sequel. This is on of those books literally no one has really heard about even though it shouldnt be that way.

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  • Posted December 7, 2013

    I read this book like, three years ago in the seventh grade and

    I read this book like, three years ago in the seventh grade and I still remember and love it so much. Such a phenomenal book! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book has some good parts but you almost fall asleep from Devon complaining. I think that it is ridiculous that Devon can throw her infant in a trash can and then go to jail for a week, then be let go. Also Devon cries like a little baby. She did this to herself. She says that she should go home when I think she should spend life in prison for trying to kill her child. Imagine being told that your mom put you in a trash bag and tried to kill you. Devon did this to herself. How could the jury know with all the evidence they have, not convict her for murder. Also at the end of the chapters something really interesting will happen and the book never tels what happens next. In the end of one of the first few chapters, Devon is in the hospital and she put the childs inbilicle cord back inside of her. It never says anything but the doctor kept on repeating her name and told her to relax. She also complains that her breasts hurt from all of the milk inside them. Well go over the sink in your cell and squeeze out some of the milk. Doy !!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Austyn

    That is a cool way to spell your name im assuming itsyour name anyways wanna chat? Reply to brittany

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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