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Danny’s nostalgic first-person narration includes interestingly quirky information as well as sweet moments. Middle school readers will see the inevitable end of this first love long before Danny faces it, grieving his new loss but grateful for his healing. Far more than a summer romance, this is a tribute to those left behind.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The tone of this first-person narrative isn’t maudlin or morbid, it’s smart and searching, and the well structured story quietly builds to a moving climax and a worthy, satisfying conclusion.
—Booklist (starred review)
Posted November 20, 2013
Posted October 2, 2013
Posted July 28, 2013
Posted August 14, 2012
9/11 happened and Eli wanted to help at ground zero but Eli’s dad said no. Feeling that he had to do something to help he enlisted in the army instead. About a year or so after he dies in Iraq while on duty. Eli’s death has left Danny alone, his dad even less sociable and mom has checked out. While coping with the death of his brother, Danny begins the “Book of the Dead” a book where he records famous people and the cause of their deaths.
I think the most interesting part of this book was the “Book of the Dead” and how the author used it to tie it back to certain events in Danny’s life and/or to show his thought process on the topic of death. This definitely made After Eli a very unique story.
I liked the story well enough. I thought it was written well. I liked the characters especially the twins who were a hoot! I especially liked that you could noticeably see the growth within these characters. The flow of the story was right on point and the ending was just right. Yet something didn’t sit well with me.
I’ve read a few contemporaries as of late and they were heart wrenching and I guess I was expecting this book to be that way. It’s not. There are some moments and I did cry during those moments but it was hard for me to connect in that way the entire time.
Another thing, I felt like I was reading the wrong era. The book reads like the TV show the Wonder Years. This is not a negative, people. I loved Wonder Years. My thing was that this is supposed to be the present, you know 2012. Although there were parts that felt like 2012, there were other parts that felt like the 1960’s.
I don’t know. It could just be the emotional overload I’ve felt reading other types of books in the last few months. Also, it could just be a figment of my imagination about the era switch up I felt often in this book…figment or lack of sleep. Or it could just be that this book is just a different type of grief and it doesn’t always have to be over the top and the town is rural and could possibly still feel like the 1960’s even if it is 2012.
Bottom line: I still recommend this read to everyone because it was an overall enjoyable read. After reading it let me know your thoughts on it.
ARC was provided by Candlewick via NetGalley.