Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: What Comes After by Steve Watkins

Book: What Comes After by Steve Watkins
Pages: 334 Pages
Release Date: April 12th, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick
Source: Teen Book Scene
Grade: 5 Stars
After her veterinarian dad dies, sixteen-year-old Iris Wight must leave her beloved Maine to live on a North Carolina farm with her hardbitten aunt and a cousin she barely knows. Iris, a vegetarian and animal lover, immediately clashes with Aunt Sue, who mistreats the livestock, spends Iris’s small inheritance, and thinks nothing of striking Iris for the smallest offense. Things come to a head when Iris sets two young goats free to save them from slaughter, and an enraged Aunt Sue orders her brutish son, Book, to beat Iris senseless - a horrific act that lands Book and his mother in jail. Sent to live with an offbeat foster family and their "dooking" ferrets, Iris must find a way to take care of the animals back at the farm, even if it means confronting Aunt Sue. Powerful and deeply moving, this compelling novel affirms the redemptive power of animals and the resilience of the human spirit.
My Thoughts:
What Comes After is a remarkable story about a remarkable young woman.  Sixteen-year-old Iris becomes an orphan and goes to live with her abusive aunt after her father dies. She’s a vegetarian and a huge animal lover and hates that her aunt and cousin treat the animals so poorly. After her cousin Book kills one of the baby goats, she decides to set them free and in turn, she gets beaten so badly by her aunt and cousin that she ends up in a hospital and into another family’s hands.

I felt really bad for Book (here comes the booing from everyone). I know he did terrible stuff to Iris and the animals, but was it really his fault? I mean, his mother taught him everything and she also beat him when he screwed up. I blame everything more on Aunt Sue than Book.

Iris was a strong character and I loved that she stood up for what she believed in. Taking care of the goats when no one else would is something I could never do.  I fell in love with her and her new family the Tutens’ immediately.  Littleberry was another character I adored. He was quirky and I loved how he helped Iris recover emotionally.

Overall, What Comes After was a beautiful story and I praise Steve Watkins for having amazing writing skills. This is an award winning book that is sure to take your breath away and it has a wonderful cover. 5 Stars!

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