I’m excited to share my review as a part of the Aftermath Blog Tour. Not only is this book about an issue dear to my heart, but one book blogger has taken her love of the story above and beyond and uses it to support RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, both resources the author lists for readers in the back of the book. You can win one of the Aftermath tote bags in the giveaway below, too.
Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad’s a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte’s twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life–the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.
This was a tough read for me emotionally. For the most part, I thought the author kept the details of Charlotte’s captivity to a minimum, mostly hinting at her experience rather than describing it in detail. Some of the most emotional moments for me were the scenes in which she tries to reconnect with her family. I felt like her struggle to process and understand were easy to identify with. There were some moments where things seemed to happen too easily, but I think the story would have been super dark if every victory was hard won.
I really liked that the characters weren’t as simple as we at first believed them to be. Her father isn’t simply a fame-obsessed guy. Her mom isn’t simply a broken alcoholic. Her sister isn’t simply a drug addict. There are a lot of other elements at play, and as the real truth about Charlotte’s disappearance comes out and the truth about what her captor has done becomes clear, we finally understand the larger issues going on in Charlotte’s family. I thought that orchestration was incredibly well done.
If you’re interested in a story that explores a kidnapped girl but has more mild content, try Girl, Stolen by April Henry. If you liked Girl, Stolen and check the content below to see if Aftermath is the right book for you.
Recommended for Ages 17 up.
Characters are described as white, middle class, small town people. Both Charlotte and Alexa have pale skin and black hair.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.
Alexa tells Charlotte about the prayer vigil and memorial service held while she was missing.
Alexa swears she’s done using drugs, but confesses to experimenting with pot, cocaine and even heroin. She takes Charlotte with her to a party and gets drunk. Charlotte drinks beer as well, in an attempt to feel like a “normal” teen.
Romance/Sexual Content – TRIGGER WARNING
Charlotte frequently recalls details from her captivity. She makes a reference to him forcing her to perform oral sex and describes some creepy things, like his preference for brushing her hair. She tells a friend that he forced her to have sex with him every night, and that her fear for her sister’s safety kept her from fighting back. She also knows he killed another girl he kept, The One Before Charlotte. Later she learns he had abused a family member.
Charlotte tries to feel like a normal girl by persuading a boy to have sex with her. Alexa finds them, the boy’s pants are off, and Charlotte’s kneeling on the floor.
Violent Content – TRIGGER WARNING
Most of Charlotte’s flashbacks involve remembering her captor choking her. She briefly describes other instances where he beat her. She has an injury that never healed correctly from one occasion. On another, he beat her so badly that she suffered a miscarriage.
About Clara Kensie
Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.
Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her super-romantic psychic thriller series, Run To You, was named an RT Magazine Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Run to You Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book.
Clara’s latest release is Aftermath, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines YA contemporary in the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones. Aftermath is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.
Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Check out the other stops on the Aftermath Blog Tour
1/5: Novel Ink – Review
1/6: Fiction Fare – Q&A
1/8: The Story Sanctuary – Review – you are here
1/11: Gabriella M Reads – Q&A
1/12: Novelgossip – Review
Enter the Most Awesome Giveaway: Clara Kensie books and Aftermath Tote
1: A “Do It Double” Aftermath tote bag from Blu Bear Bazaar. Inspired by Aftermath‘s message to “Do it double, because some can’t do it at all,” Blu Bear Bazaar designed beautiful artwork for it and printed it on tote bags and throw pillows. Blu Bear Bazaar is generously donating a portion of all Aftermath product proceeds to RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for more information.
2: Choice of TWO books from Clara’s collection of YA novels. Clara will give the winner a list of the YA novels in her collection, and the winner can pick two. Some of the books are signed by the author.
*US/CAN for the above prizes. If the winner is international, the prize will be substituted by a book from Book Depository up to $18.00, winner’s choice.
Good luck, and happy reading!!!