After

After

4.0 235
by Amy Efaw
     
 

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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… See more details below

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.

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)
From the Publisher
-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.+ -Kirkus Reviews
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:
9781101135518
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/11/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
193,120
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
-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.+ -Kirkus Reviews

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