... by Amy Efaw
I ditched another book I was reading (and likely won't finish) to start After. I was hooked on the book within the first chapter. This book's main character is Devon Davonport. Blessed with the name of a stripper or soap star, Devon (middle name Sky, for "the sky is the limit") is determined to be nothing like her mother, Jennifer. Jennifer was a teen mom, having Devon when she was 16, and had an endless parade of men walking in and out of their lives for as long as Devon could remember. Scarred by the memories of walking in on her mother and numerous short term relationships, Devon is determined to be a strong, independent woman.
Devon is a soccer star, a straight A student, a hard worker. She's also the dependable one in her small family of just her and her mom. Devon hasn't known any other family other than her mom, and has memories of being a child and having her mom leave her alone for a whole weekend.
But then IT happens. The book is written with a balance of the present, and memories of the past. When we actually meet the characters, Devon is home sick from school as her mom gets home from working her graveyard shift at the grocery store. Jennifer is pleased to get to spend the day with Devon. Devon seems to be in a bit of a trance, not talking to her mother. Then the police arrive. Seems someone has found a newborn baby (still alive) in the garbage can out in the back alley. Jennifer tells them her 15 year old daughter is home from school and may have heard something, so they come in to talk to her.
Devon doesn't want to talk to the police. In the process of trying to get her to talk, Jennifer takes the blanket off Devon and they see her sweatpants are covered in blood. Devon passes out and wakes up in the hospital. Then she gets carted off to jail.
The character development is fantastic. You have a main character who ditched her newborn in the garbage can, but you empathize with her. You want her to get help, and to be able to rise above this terrible situation. It's a sad book that looks at some harder sides of life. But it is also somewhat uplifting. I really enjoyed it.