Life, After

Life, After

4.5 4
by Sarah Darer Littman
     
 

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From the author of PURGE and CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC, a new book that is searing, gripping, and impossible to put down.

Dani's life will never be the same again.

After a terrorist attack kills Dani's aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina-private school, a boyfriend, a loving family-crumbles quickly. In order to escape a country that is sinking

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Overview


From the author of PURGE and CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC, a new book that is searing, gripping, and impossible to put down.

Dani's life will never be the same again.

After a terrorist attack kills Dani's aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina-private school, a boyfriend, a loving family-crumbles quickly. In order to escape a country that is sinking under their feet, Dani and her family move to the United States. It's supposed to be a fresh start, but when you're living in a cramped apartment and going to high school where all the classes are in another language-and not everyone is friendly-life in American is not all it's cracked up to be. Dani misses her old friends, her life, Before.
But then Dani meets

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The intensely personal story of 16-year-old Dani and her family unfolds in the early years of the new millennium in Buenos Aires during Argentina's economic crisis ("It seemed like we lived in a country where every day the floor was sinking a little farther under our feet," she reflects). Her father lost his sister and her unborn child in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA building, a Jewish community center, and his clothing store has closed amid the economic tumult, leaving him "angry, unpredictable, and bitter." As such, money and food are scarce (Dani's father refuses to accept charity); additionally Dani's best friend has moved to Israel, her boyfriend's family is heading to Miami, and city violence is increasing. Dani's mother decides to move the family to Twin Lakes, N.Y., which they hope will be a financial and cultural refuge, but despite Dani's new friends, it is difficult to assimilate in post-9/11 America and to forget the tragedies in her past. The languid pace and wealth of details in Littman's (Purge) empathetic story magnifies its emotionally convincing and absorbing qualities. Ages 12-up. (July)
From the Publisher

Praise for Life, After:

“The languid pace and wealth of details in Littman's (Purge) empathetic story magnifies its emotionally convincing and absorbing qualities.”–Publishers Weekly

“Background information about the situation of Argentinean Jews is seamlessly woven into a story about modern-day immigrants and one strong, spirited teen.”–Association of Jewish Libraries, Greater Cleveland Chapter

“Littman catches the voice of teen readers with her spot-on dialogue and realistic situations as her characters learn how to heal, forgive, and open their hearts as they celebrate their new lives, After.”–The Jewish Journal

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Dani's life changes forever when a terrorist's bomb kills her aunt and her unborn cousin. After the horrifying event, Dani's father falls into a deep depression, which intensifies when he loses his family business during the Argentina Government Crisis in 2001. Dani's only moments of happiness are when she spends time with her boyfriend, Roberto, but those moments end when Roberto moves to Miami. Soon after, Dani's uncle offers to sponsor Dani's family and bring them to Twin Lakes, New York. Dani is frightened to move, but she knows that life in Argentina will not get better for her family. On her first day of school in America, Dani is terrified of getting lost, speaking English, and fitting in to the strange environment. She misses Argentina, her friends, and her boyfriend, and she wishes that her father would stop being so grumpy and depressed. Gradually, Dani makes new friends, including Jon and his popular sister Jessica, and the handsome Brian, who shows Dani around the school and offers to be her personal GPS. Soon, Dani learns that Jon and Jessica's father was one of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Having both lost a loved one to a horrifying event creates a bond between Dani and Jessica, a bond that helps Dani let go of her past, forgive and begin creating a new life in America for herself and her family. Told in first person narration, the author does a fine job of blending Spanish words into the text and creating vivid images of Buenos Aires and American high schools. She crafts a warm, culturally sensitive, character-driven story. Reviewer: Jody Little
VOYA - Lynne Farrell Stover
Daniela "Dani" Bensimon's story begins in Argentina, where her family is struggling to survive through a dismal period of national political unrest and economic decline. Her pregnant aunt was killed in a terrorist bombing. This event triggered a dramatic change in her unemployed father, who was once a successful and charming store owner, but now suffers from dramatic mood swings. Dani's mother is currently the family's breadwinner, and Dani finds herself taking on many family responsibilities, including being her younger sister's primary caregiver. With her best friend now living in Israel and her boyfriend moving to Miami, Dani accepts her family's decision to relocate to the United States as inevitable. Adjustments to a new school, language, and culture are not easy. By the book's conclusion, however, all is hopeful. The reader (undoubtedly a girl) will get caught up in Dani's experiences at her Jewish day school, her relationship with the romantic Roberto, and the problems that occur when one is dealing with quickly diminishing resources. The plot device of using letters and email communications from Dani and her friends works well to advance the story, whereas the insertion of multiple idioms that Dani and the autistic Jon often misinterpret quickly wears thin. Interwoven into Dani's story are the social issues of terrorism, post-traumatic stress syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, bullying, and immigration. These timely themes are not as intense as they could be, as they are seen through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Dani. Reviewer: Lynne Farrell Stover
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In 2002 in Argentina, Dani Bensimon weathers the political and economic crisis that is dragging her middle-class Jewish family into poverty and her formerly loving father into depression. They are all still grieving over the death of her pregnant aunt and her unborn child in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA building, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Many of the teen's friends have left the country, including her novio, Roberto. Eventually, the Bensimons relocate to the New York suburbs and Dani must work hard to remain the dutiful, perfect, helpful daughter. While the plot is predictable, supporting characters are direct from after-school-special casting, and the narrator is at times a bit too wholesome, this affecting book works in its entirety. It shows a place and part of recent history left mostly unexamined in YA literature, highlighting an act of terrorism in Argentina and a Latin American immigrant. Dani's experiences give her insight and empathy into a community suffering the aftermath of 9/11. Littman's sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases throughout gives a genuine feel to her dialogue, and her references to Jewish customs also fit smoothly into the context. This immigrant story is easy to swallow, if a bit weighty in tone, very much like Christine Gonzalez's The Red Umbrella (Knopf, 2010).—Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545151443
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/2010
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
599,200
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Sarah Darer Littman's widely praised first novel for teens, CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC, won the 2006 Sydney Taylor Book Award. She is also the author of the YA novel PURGE. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a house which never seems to have enough bookshelves.

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