ages: 12 and up
grades: 6 and up
on sale: now
copy from: Scholastic
title: Life, After
author: Sarah Darer Littman
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 America is not all it’s cracked up to be. Dani misses her old friends, her life, Before.
But then Dani meets a boy named Jon, who isn’t like all the other students. Through him, she becomes friends with Jessica, one of the popular girls, who is harboring a secret of her own. And then there’s Brian, the boy who makes Dani’s pulse race. In her new life, the one After, Dani learns how to heal and forgive. She finds the courage to say goodbye and allows herself to love and be loved again.
"People say that Argentina is a country that lives with ghosts. But it was my home"- Dani, Life, After
Characters: Dani was 50% generic and 50% uniquely Dani. Instead of crying or hiding when things got touch, she got angry and wanted to fight back. It's a wonderful change from mainstream YA Lit. Another significant character is Dani's papa, who is a round developed character (a tortured soul) that made me continue reading.
Theme: There was one, main big-picture theme. A young Argentinian girl and her family, spurned by the death of a close family member during a time of political turmoil, must make the heart-wrenching decision to move to America. It's a familiar theme, because there are other books where the main characters have to leave to America, but it was also new, because it differed from the other books. (Dani's papa's subplot)
Plot: The elements of plot were evenly spaced out, but it wasn't evident (like, ohmygosh, this is it! The climax! The moment of truth!) There was a subplot that I mentioned, between Dani, her sister and her mother, and her father.
Style: A kind of harmony was sensed through the writing from the voice of Dani, a voice that was very real. So yes, Sarah Darer Littman has a, though not very potent, style.
To the general reader: Life, After is a wonderful cultural read that I loved, and I'm sure you'll love it to!
Overall: The book over-all was emotional and touched me. Yet if only there were more to it! It was so short! And I couldn't help but to feel this book was geared mainly for the younger age group. If it were more young adult, possibly even adult, I'm sure it would've been amazing. So I do recommend this book! A library read, I'd call it.