FICTION

Aftermath

384p. Crown. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399550362.
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up—When Skye was 13, her beloved brother was found holding a gun and killed by police during a high school shooting that claimed the lives of four other students. Her grandmother swiftly moved Skye and her mother out of town hoping to avoid the inevitable retribution. Plagued by national headlines, they had to move multiple times. Now, three years later, Skye's grandmother has had her second stroke, and her mother has severe clinical depression. Child services decides to place Skye back in her hometown to live with her aunt. Despite still reeling from grief and unable to grasp that her sibling was a murderer, there's no avoiding former classmates who lost family and friends in the tragedy. Skye dreads having to face her best friend and middle school crush, Jesse, whose own brother was one of the victims. The trauma has drastically changed both of their lives and altered their personalities. But when Skye's life appears threatened by a series of increasingly bizarre incidents, their former relationship reemerges. Jesse becomes one of Skye's only defenders when even her aunt refuses to believe she's become the target of revenge. Armstrong's portrayal of Skye's anguish and confusion is heartbreaking. She takes a pointed look at how people often transfer blame for a shooter's actions onto family members.
VERDICT Teens will be drawn to this story and barely notice the lack of credibility in its intense and satisfying climax.

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