After the Moment

( 21 )

Overview

A new novel by the Printz Honor author Garret Freymann-Weyr, about a boy who discovers what happens when love fails us—or we fail love.

Maia Morland is pretty, only not pretty-pretty. She’s smart. She’s brave. She’s also a self-proclaimed train wreck.
Leigh Hunter is smart, popular, and extremely polite. He’s also completely and forever in love with Maia Morland.
Their young love starts off like a romance ...

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After the Moment

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Overview

A new novel by the Printz Honor author Garret Freymann-Weyr, about a boy who discovers what happens when love fails us—or we fail love.

Maia Morland is pretty, only not pretty-pretty. She’s smart. She’s brave. She’s also a self-proclaimed train wreck.
Leigh Hunter is smart, popular, and extremely polite. He’s also completely and forever in love with Maia Morland.
Their young love starts off like a romance novel—full of hope, strength, and passion. But life is not a romance novel and theirs will never become a true romance. For when Maia needs him the most, Leigh betrays both her trust and her love.
Told with compassion and true understanding, After the Moment is about what happens when a young man discovers that sometimes love fails us, and that, quite often, we fail love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Readers will appreciate how real this story feels, in its telling details and careful conversations . . . This is an expertly crafted story about a complicated first love."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The book’s strengths lie in the characterizations and the author’s ability to convey the many complex layers of love. With its wise writing and literary word choices, this is a smart book . . . "—Kirkus Reviews

". . . an engaging male-coming-of-age tale that explores notions of violence, devotion, and trust against a thought-provoking backdrop of love and war."—Horn Book

"The author’s prose is at once spare and sophisticated, and the resulting mood gentle and furious by turns. Simple details–Leigh synchronizing bites of cake with Maia–evoke astonishing emotion. The DC suburbs are appropriately generic, and the guilty comforts of the prep-school world are thoughtfully presented. The story begins and ends four years after Leigh and Maia part, and a sense of tense foreboding moves the plot."—School Library Journal

“Freymann-Weyr . . . writes with polished intensity . . . Subtle, reflective, and emotional, this is a fascinating complement to Chris Lynch’s Inexcusable in its exploration of a young man who can’t see beyond himself enough to avoid devastating the person he loves most.”—The Bulletin

"Freymann-Weyr offers another rare, sophisticated exploration of love at the end of adolescence . . . Within this story’s raw, honest, psychologically attuned scenes, older teens will find their own aching questions about how best to love, shape a future, and “do the right thing.”—Booklist, starred review

"Written with great heart, this book caters to readers young and old."—Romantic Times

"Freymann-Weyr’s newest novel about relationships (familial, romantic, friendship) does not disappoint. The author delicately balances a love story with family obligations, violence, and the perils of being a nice guy. Leigh’s fascination with the war and misguided chivalry challenge ideas about masculinity and its relation to aggression. Maia’s troubled nature and sometimes inexplicable actions are sure to spark debate. Several elements in this novel—multifaceted characters, ambiguous motivations, and gender dynamics—lend themselves to lively group discussions. Hand this one to mature readers who will get the most out of complex themes."—VOYA, (4Q4P)

Publishers Weekly

After his stepsister's father dies, good guy Leigh moves from New York to Washington, D.C., to support her and finish his senior year. There, he falls in love with "train wreck" Maia, a recovering anorexic, self-injurer and germaphobe, whom he tries desperately to protect. When a group of boys do "something unspeakable" to Maia, Leigh commits an act of violence that threatens his future and their relationship. Readers will appreciate how real this story feels, in its telling details and careful conversations, as well as in the murky motivations behind Leigh's actions and his whole relationship with Maia, which haunts him years later. As she did in My Heartbeat and Stay with Me, the author creates a wonderful, complicated but loving family for her protagonist. Readers may have difficulty tracking all the characters, but they will understand that each family member is there to support Leigh, from his emotionally challenged father to his romance novelist mother who constantly warns Leigh "that he didn't take enough time for what might please him-for what he wanted." This is an expertly crafted story about a complicated first love. Ages 14-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
The summer before his senior year, Leigh moves to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. That is where he meets Maia, " a strange girl who had to be coaxed into eating and who had a fierce attachment to a man in prison." But love is blind and Leigh falls "in love with her—suddenly and forever..." How can a germ-phobic recovering anorexic who is (or was) a cutter with self-inflicted scars on her feet and elbows arouse such unfathomable feelings of love and protection? Leigh "built his universe on Maia's smile...and the way her skin smelled." Then a group of boys do something unspeakable to Maia and thanks to modern technology, it is all over their high school. And Leigh's violent attempt to defend Maia's honor goes horribly and unexpectedly wrong. Now four years later, out of the blue, he sees her across a room. Is this unexpected meeting a signal that their relationship can be renewed and end happily ever after like mother's romance novel. Or have the two moved so far beyond what happened in the past, there is no hope of beginning again? A poignant story about first love, family relationships, trust and betrayal. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
VOYA - Angelica Delgado
At a dinner party in New York City, Leigh reconnects with his high school sweetheart. While guests clink glasses and make small talk, Leigh remembers how he fell in love with Maia Morland and broke her heart. Leigh moved from New York City to the Washington DC suburbs the summer before his senior year. Amidst the looming war in Iraq, Leigh met fragile, wounded Maia and grew to love her, despite the fact that he had another girlfriend and Maia had "SI [self-injury], anorexia, acute anxiety, and other stuff." When Maia's life takes a tragic turn, Leigh makes a decision that changes their relationship irrevocably. Aside from deliberate pacing that sometimes slows to a halt, Freymann-Weyr's newest novel about relationships (familial, romantic, friendship) does not disappoint. The author delicately balances a love story with family obligations, violence, and the perils of being a nice guy. Leigh's fascination with the war and misguided chivalry challenge ideas about masculinity and its relation to aggression. Maia's troubled nature and sometimes inexplicable actions are sure to spark debate. Several elements in this novel—multifaceted characters, ambiguous motivations, and gender dynamics—lend themselves to lively group discussions. Hand this one to mature readers who will get the most out of the complex themes. Reviewer: Angelica Delgado
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Leigh Hunter, 17, moves from New York to Washington, DC, to help his stepsister Millie cope with the death of her father. Maia Morland, a recovering anorexic and self-mutilator, eats her meals with the Hunters as part of her recovery. At first Leigh wants only to keep her safe but finds himself falling in love. He eats so that she will eat. She's raped (and filmed) by three prep-school classmates on his one night away from DC. In the background, bombs drop on Baghdad, and Leigh discovers that nations, like preppies, can justify anything. The author's feel for character and voice has never been better, and Leigh narrates with deep intelligence and heightened feeling. He's a complex and fully fleshed out protagonist. Millie is an especially vivid supporting character-precocious and hyper-verbal, wide-eyed yet cosmopolitan. Maia, however, around whom so much of the narrative revolves, sometimes seems too lightly drawn. She's clearly tortured and is ultimately unreachable. The author's prose is at once spare and sophisticated, and the resulting mood gentle and furious by turns. Simple details-Leigh synchronizing bites of cake with Maia-evoke astonishing emotion. The DC suburbs are appropriately generic, and the guilty comforts of the prep-school world are thoughtfully presented. The story begins and ends four years after Leigh and Maia part, and a sense of tense foreboding moves the plot.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Leigh is a popular athlete from New York City. Maia is a wise yet strange suburbanite. Disaster in the form of a family member's death brings them together. This, however, is a story of love, not romance. Maia and Leigh's path is fraught with relationship baggage, Maia's host of self-injurious behaviors and Leigh's inability to say no to anyone. Leigh brings about the end of their relationship when he beats up another student in an attempt to defend Maia's honor. Readers who love doomed, tearjerker romances will be enthralled by Leigh and Maia's fate, if they stay with the story through Leigh's complicated family angst and personal apathy. Freymann-Weyr does a lot of telling without showing to fill in Leigh's background and emotional states, which makes the pacing drag. The story moves back and forth in time, and the delineation between the two isn't always clear. The book's strengths lie in the characterizations and the author's ability to convey the many complex layers of love. With its wise writing and literary word choices, this is a smart book with questionable popularity. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547331683
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 970,352
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Garret Freymann-Weyr grew up in New York City and often sets her books there. She went to college at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and received an MFA in film from New York University. She has written four books for young adults, including My Heartbeat, which won a Printz Honor for excellence in literature for young adults. Her books have been published in numerous countries including the Netherlands, Japan, and China. She currently lives outside Washington, D. C., with her husband. She has said that the best way to get ideas is to read a lot. “That gets you thinking in terms of story, character, and image.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One. Black Ice

The year Leigh’s stepsister, Millie Davis, was in seventh grade and Leigh was in eleventh, he heard a lot about Maia Morland. She was new in school, her mother lived in the huge house that had been empty for so long. Maia was really brave, Millie told him, as it was hard to be new in the tenth grade. Everyone had friends already. But Maia was really smart and pretty, only not pretty-pretty. And her mother had been married five times. (It would turn out to be only three, but Millie did say, quite often, Five times. Imagine it). On and on she went. It was clear to Leigh that this Maia Morland was the object of his sister’s crush—the kind a twelve-year-old girl develops on the girl she wants to become. He almost wished Millie were still obsessed with collecting stickers or building Lego palaces. Listening to his sister go on about her stickers would take less time than her endless talk about this other girl. Eleventh grade was a lot more demanding than Leigh had thought it would be, and he had to work so hard to maintain his B average that he ended up with straight A’s at the end of the first term. This in spite of being on varsity soccer, which not only took up most of his afternoons but twice sent Leigh to the emergency room: once to tape up some bruised ribs, and once to be checked for a concussion after getting knocked out cold. A lot of soccer matches were on weekends, and as his father, Clayton Hunter, was lenient about enforcing the custody agreement, Leigh wound up seeing his father, Millie, and his stepmother even less than usual. It was a long train ride from New York to D.C., and one he hadn’t made so often that year. In March, when Clayton called on a Monday, which was rare, Leigh assumed it was to say, Of course, it’s no problem. Go to the game in Pennsylvania this weekend. Lillian was in the tiny living room, which she used as a study and was where they kept the TV. Before the divorce, they had lived with Clayton in a big apartment on West End Avenue, but this one, on a side street off Broadway, fit them better. Leigh’s bedroom didn’t have a desk, but he generally had the kitchen to himself in the evenings to do his assignments or to read. That night, he felt like he should be watching the news, as the president was giving Iraq a new warning before the much-promised Shock and Awe could start. While Leigh was glad that the war had stopped his mother’s ravings against the obscene coverage of a little girl from Utah who was abducted from her bedroom, he didn’t want to think of the men not much older than he was who were about to go into battle. He felt lucky and relieved, of course, but mostly baffled by the knowledge that short of a draft he would not be going. And even then, he probably wouldn’t go. Clayton, more than once in the past year and a half, had mentioned cousins he had in Canada. “I’m a lawyer,” Clayton had said to Lillian when Iraq turned from a question of if to when. “I’ll get him whatever documents are needed.” Lurking behind all this was an amount of good fortune so large, it was impossible to be grateful for it. It wasn’t the same as being rich, which was an obvious advantage, as only an idiot would be unable to see. The good fortune that Leigh knew as his wasn’t something he could feel or point to. It was more like oxygen or blood; it was that intrinsic, so you took it for granted even though you really shouldn’t. That the impending war unleashed confusion in everyone was clear, but for Leigh it highlighted how little he understood his own life. So, in spite of vaguely despising himself for not facing the disquiet brought up by images of teenagers massing on the Kuwaiti border, Leigh pretty much tried to ignore the news. He happily picked up the phone when it rang and exchanged hellos with his father, preparing to discuss his soccer game in Pennsylvania. Maybe this time his father and Millie could drive up from Maryland. Instead, Clayton wanted to speak to Lillian. Right away, Leigh braced himself for something bad. His parents got along well, mostly because Lillian refused to blame anyone for Clayton’s affair with Millie’s mother. But even so, it was very clear that neither of them wanted to be in touch more than necessary. Leigh brought the phone to his mother and then, so as not to overhear anything, made as much noise as he could doing the dishes. When Lillian came into the kitchen, she sat down at the table. He looked at her and asked, “Tea?” “Scotch,” she said, and he pulled the bottle from under the sink and watched her pour about an inch into one of the jam jars they used as glasses. Millie’s father was dead. Which meant that Millie was halff of an orphan. Leigh refused to let his brain spin out the possibility of creating fractions from orphanhood, if that was even a word, and he listennnnned as his mother answered his half-formed questions. Seth Davis had flown to Kansas to attend a seminar and had died in a rental car on the way from the airport to his hotel. There’d been a five-car pileup—three deaths and countless injuries. A mention was made of black ice, although it was also possible that someone had been drunk. Autopsies would confirm that. Leigh thought of the fetal pigs his biology class had dissected the year before, and wondered why anyone had to bother with an autopsy. Black ice or a drunken driver. The reason wouldn’t bring Seth back. “Insurance,” Lillian said. “Liability, litigation. If someone caused this, money will be involved.” The money paid out to the families of people who’d died in 2001 had been a detail Leigh had been unable to grasp when the planes flew into history. He had barely started tenth grade when it happened. He thought he’d been having a math problem with the insurance story. Now he saw that what he’d been incapable of understanding back then was the attachment of a price to a person. It wasn’t that such a thing was right or wrong that bothered him. It was that such a thing was necessary. “What kind of seminar?” Leigh asked, also wanting to look at a map. Where was Kansas, exactly? Next to the Dakotas or farther west? In a little more than a year, he’d be living in Montana and would know all the states bordering the Dakotas—Kansas was not one of them. But on the night Seth Davis died, any state not on the Atlantic Ocean was, for Leigh, a landlocked blur. “It was a teaching intensive,” Lillian said. “For high school English teachers. I think Seth was giving a talk or getting an award.” Seth Davis taught English in the city’s public schools, and was also a literacy advocate for communities in need. Seth, Lillian once said, is an old-school idealist. Leigh thought of all the fuss Millie’s mother, Janet Davis, had made whenever Millie came to visit her father. Seth lived in a reasonable neighborhood in the block-to-block way that most city neighborhoods were reasonable. But Janet was convinced that there was every chance Millie would be shot on the street, pushed onto a subway track, or raped in a stairwell. She had not thought to be afraid of what a car could do. Yes, Millie was technically safe, but there was no way Seth’s death would leave her unharmed. “I should speak to Millie,” Leigh said, not at all sure he wanted to, but remembering clearly all the times she’d calmed down from a bruise or a cut if he just sat beside her while she got a Band-Aid or an ice pack. “They haven’t told her yet,” Lillian said. “What, is she asleep?” Leigh asked. “It’s not even eight-thirty.” “Your father thinks it might be better if you were there,” Lillian said. Clayton and Janet were waiting to tell Millie that her father was dead? It wasn’t as if she were six years old. She’d know right away that they’d treated her like a child. That they’d protected her from news that she, more than anyone else, owned. “He wants me to tell her,” Leigh said, knowing that neither Clayton nor Janet would ever flat out ask him to do it. But his being there would let Millie know to be on guard before a word was spoken. “Yes, I have the impression that he does want that,” Lillian said. Memories of Seth that Leigh hadn’t even known he had kept flashing into view. The day they’d met, more than seven years before, when Seth was drinking coffee from a paper cup with a plastic lid that didn’t quite fit. The way he would hold his hand under his armpits if he’d forgotten his gloves. Seth running up the stairs three at a time but always letting Millie win if they were racing to his fifth-floor apartment. “But I have school, right?” Leigh asked. “Should I go tonight? Can I get a train?” Seth wore wire-rimmed glasses that he was forever pushing tight against the bridge of his nose. At some point Millie had started cleaning her father’s glasses by blowing on them and using her shirt to rub them clear. “I told Clayton it would be up to you,” Lillian said. “I’d like you to consider what you want.” This was an almost constant refrain of hers. She felt that Leigh worked too hard to please other people. That he didn’t take enough time for what might please him—for what he wanted. Leigh, who knew he didn’t do anything that made him unhappy, felt that she worried for no reason. He did well in school, he was popular, and he had a girlfriend. Although he wasn’t sure where he would go to college or what he would study there, Leigh believed that the road he was on belonged to a map. One free of too many detours, and leading him to the exact places where he was needed. Still, he’d met other mothers, had listened to Lillian’s friends talk about their kids, and he figured worrying was her job. If Lillian was asking him to consider what he wanted in the face of Clayton’s news, well, then this time Leigh had an answer. “I want Millie’s father not to be dead,” he said. If he left tonight, right now, he’d get to D.C. well before Millie was up. Clayton would pick him up at Union Station and they’d drive the half-hour or so that it would take to get to the house. Leigh pictured himself going into her room, the last person she saw right before her new life started. Knowing Millie, she’d either cry right away or sit for a while, trying to work out what she thought. He also, unwillingly, thought this was something his father could do. Should do. It was his job. Leigh, aware that he didn’t know his father that well, was reluctant to use terms that were definitive. And if the word coward now sprang to mind to describe Clayton, then wouldn’t that force Leigh, if he broke the news to Millie, to describe himself as brave?
Which he wasn’t. He was just, at this particular moment, angry. The whole ridiculous cliché of men hitting walls only to wind up with their hands broken was making a frightening sort of sense. “Janet will make her nervous,” Leigh said. “Millie will worry that being upset will upset her mother.” “That doesn’t seem possible,” Lillian said. “Are you sure?” “Millie hides everything Seth gives her in the guest room closet.” Leigh, who slept in the guest room at his father’s house, was forever shaking glitter out of his shoes or getting hit on the head by small stuffed animal squirrels. Millie loved squirrels. “I think I should go,” he said, thinking of his sister trying to figure out a private way to be sad. Or angry. Did girls hit walls? No one ever said so, but this kind of aimless rage couldn’t belong only to men. “Do you have any tests this week?” Lillian asked. “Papers due?” “No,” Leigh said. “A vocab quiz in French, but I can take it late.” “The memorial service will probably be in New York,” Lillian said. “Yeah,” he said. His mother had followed him into his room, where he was putting a shirt, a sweater, and jeans into a small bag. He had clothes at his father’s, but he always liked to bring some just in case all of his things had disappeared between visits. “I’m sure Seth’s school will want to do something,” Lillian said. “Tell her . . . ” Leigh knew his mother was inviting Millie to stay with them in case Clayton and Janet didn’t offer to accompany her up to the city for her father’s service. “I will,” Leigh said. “But I think Dad, at least, will come to the service.” Leigh didn’t want to think about how people were going to bury Seth. It felt like a great betrayal to Millie. If she had no idea her father was dead, then no one should be making plans until she knew. Lillian booked a train ticket online for him and then insisted on coming down to Penn Station. These days Penn Station, Grand Central, and the airports were crawling with police and National Guardsmen. There was no safer place to be in the city than at one of its exit venues. Normally, Leigh might have persuaded his mother to stay home by asking if she didn’t trust him. But he knew the news of Seth’s death had brought with it the type of fear that proximity to misfortune often carries. It was ridiculous, of course, but Leigh was as glad of his mother’s company that night as he had been at the age of ten when he was routinely woken up by the sound of his own screaming voice. “Bad dreams,” Lillian would say, turning on the light, helping him out of bed, and fixing him hot milk with honey. “It’s just bad dreams.”

When he finally got to his father’s house, Leigh took a pillow and a blanket from the guest room and stretched out on the floor next to his sister’s bed. When Millie woke up, he would be there, as Lillian had always been for him. He wouldn’t be able to ease the end of a bad dream, but he had vague plans about cushioning the beginnings of his sister’s grief. Whatever his intentions had been, they all vanished when he opened his eyes to find her staring down at him. “I knew you’d come,” she said. Leigh was quiet, not sure how to tell her what she apparently knew. Later, the details of her hellish night would leak out (overheard phone calls and an endless computer search until a local paper in Kansas posted the story). Right now what he focused on was that his sister had known he would come and he had. During some of the months to follow, her faith allowed him a place on the right side of the line separating men you could trust from men you couldn’t.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing Story!

    After The Moment is a story of love--love that is true but cannot hold strong through tough times. This book was a little more serious than I expected touching on subjects such as self-mutilation, death of a loved one, bullying, and many others. Even though it was a bit more serious it was truly an amazing story.<BR/>Leigh Hunter is the golden boy: soccer star, straight-A student, and boyfriend to Astra Grein. At least, he is until his stepsister's father dies and he is asked to move to Washington to be there for her. Leigh and Astra decide that they would rather have a long distance relationship than break up but Leigh never expected to fall for Maia Morland, the train wreck.<BR/>Maia has many different problems. Her stepfather that actually cares about her is in jail, her mother doesn't notice her, and she has her own issues such as self-mutilation, anorexia, and she had a tendency to act out sexually until her psychiatrist made her sign a contract.<BR/>When Leigh meets Maia he never once thinks that he could love her. She is the exact opposite of Astra and yet he can't get her off his mind. Leigh begins to drive Maia to her prison visits and in the process, gets to know her. He doesn't realize that he loves her until being away from her to visit his mom in Maine. When he returns home he goes straight to Maia's and is surprised to find out that she feels the same way. They begin dating, even though Leigh still hasn't broken up with Astra.<BR/>Finally, Leigh decides that he needs to end things once and for all with Astra and decides to go to New York and tell her in person. He never knew that his decision to stay in New York for one extra night would have such drastic consequences. When he returns to Washington nothing is the same and when he finds out why, he wishes he could change things but he can't.<BR/>Unknowingly Leigh breaks Maia's trust and loses their relationship. He will always love her but they can never be together.<BR/>And if you want to know why, you will just have to read the book. I wouldn't just give away the ending. ;]

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A love story from the male veiw

    It's pretty rare to find a love story that is worth reading, written from the male point of veiw. This book does justice to a first love. To a love that is not at all what it seems, but worth all the pain it will bring. This is a great coming of age story for young men. It deals with real life issues, but in a way that isn't forced.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Angie Fisher for TeensReadToo.com

    No one can forget their first love, and Leigh Hunter isn't any different.

    Leigh is as close to the perfect boy as a girl could ever hope for: attractive, athletic, smart, and selfless. His life is rolling along nicely, as he is looking forward to his senior year and what the future might hold for him beyond high school. Leigh's biggest worry is finding a summer job that would look good on his college applications, until something horrible happens and his sister, Millie, needs him.

    Not willing to let her down, Leigh packs up his things and moves a state away to be with Millie and help her begin to recover from her loss.

    While taking care of Millie is in his plan, falling for the sweet-if-not-a-bit-odd Maia Morland is not, especially since he still claims the hottest girl in his school back home as his girlfriend. But even the best laid plans have a way of changing, and the best intentions a way of crumbling.

    AFTER THE MOMENT is a story of first love, but it's so much more. It's a story of perseverance, strength and loyalty, but also of betrayal, pain, and disappointment. It's a story every reader who has loved and lost can relate to, which is the very reason it's not one to be missed.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Titans vs texans

    My team gone lose i already know it ;( :'( :/

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  • Posted January 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very confusing read.

    This book pulled me in instantly by the cover image, but as I read it, I got confused very easily. If you can pick out a confusing read, this would be the book to choose. I never finished this book, but what I read of it, it was very well written.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Lend me?

    I REALLY wanna read it but my mother wont let me buy it. Could someone lend it?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    okay

    hard to follow really boring but in the long run a beautiful storu about love and letting go.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

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    After the Moment

    After the Moment was an okay read. From the beginning, I was confused and it didn't really get any better. It starts off with Maia and Leigh meeting at a party when they are 21. Then Leigh tells the story, or maybe just remembers it, of what happen to the two of them when they were 17. Every now and again, it would flash back to the present without any breaks. That is where I got the most confused because it was hard to follow where the story went.

    For me, this was a slow read. There was so much going on and not any details to explain certain things, so I still have a ton of unanswered questions. There were plenty of details for parts that didn't pertain to the story at all though. Once the story started to get interesting, which wasn't until page 200, I was kept wanting to know what happened.

    I did enjoy the characters. They were realistic and were trying to deal with issues that people in the real world deal with everyday - divorced parents, friendship, love, school, death etc. This is a different take on love, one that shows first love doesn't always work out. With all the extra stuff going on, I think it would have been better if the book was a bit longer.

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  • Posted November 16, 2009

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    After the Moment

    The book opens at a dinner party in New York City, when Leigh sees Maia Moreland for the first time since high school. We're immediately aware of her impact on him and that he's never gotten over some event in their past where he did something dreadful. We don't know their history, only that there was something beautiful and fragile that was destroyed somehow and that Leigh has carried this with him for years.

    After reading the opening pages of their chance encounter at the NY dinner party, I was pushed so off-center that I put the book down for weeks. I didn't want to read about the violence or how Leigh hurt Maia so badly and was still so affected by their past. I won't go into details - you deserve to read the book without any spoilers - and to enjoy it as the story slowly unfolds.

    Here is just a quick peek into the plot and characters:
    After the brief scene where Leigh and Maia meet in the present, the main story opens in flashbacks to Leigh's last years in high school. Towards the end of his junior year, seventeen-year-old Leigh has everything going for him - excellent grades, a spot on the soccer team, and Astra, his dropdead beautiful, popular and smart girlfriend that most everyone else wants to date. He's not unappreciative of his life even though "the good fortune that Leigh knew as his wasn't something that he could feel or point to...It was more like oxygen or blood; it was that intrinsic." Leigh knows that he doesn't yet know what future he wants but he's steady and dependable and he does his level best, knowing it's "a matter of continuing to do the right things: study and apply to colleges, as well as keep old friends and make new ones." Though Leigh isn't driven by clear plans for his future, he will do almost anything for his younger step sister Millie. So when Millie's father dies and she asks Leigh to move to Maryland for a year, Leigh uproots his life. He leaves New York, his mother and Astra for Maryland, Millie, and her troubled friend Maia. Maia is the polar opposite of Astra - nervous, eating disordered, and troubled - but somehow Leigh finds himself drawn to her.

    Once I got over my initial hesitation and returned to the book, got to know Leigh and how he cared for the people around him, I was hooked. In After the Moment, Garret Freymann-Weyr created unforgettable characters dealing with complex and real life concerns. It's a beautiful and moving book.

    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; 1 edition (May 18, 2009), 336 pages.
    Review copy provided by the author and TLC Book Tours.

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  • Posted September 10, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read

    Good Book!!

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