Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

AftermathTitle:  Aftermath
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers 
Publishing Date:  May 22nd, 2018
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Series:  Stand Alone
Source:  ARC

Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.

I have read a few books by Kelley Armstrong and I always seem to enjoy them. I appreciate how different they are from each too. I can say I was delightfully surprised with this book. I figured I would enjoy it since I have so many of her other books, what I didn't expect was this to be a mystery thriller. I thought it was more the line of realistic fiction. Which it is realistic fiction too and also a little bit of romance. It was a good story well written. 

There was a school shooting in the local high school. Skye Gilchrist and Jesse Mandal were in middle school at the time. When they heard of the shooting they had the shock of know their brothers were in involved. One was part of the shooters, the other one was killed. Skye and Jesse were friends at the time and on the verge of something more. The had crushes and Jesse just asked Skye on their first date, not as friends. Life was good, until the shooting. Skye lost her brother, she lost her friend, Jesse, and she lost her home. 

Now it is three years later and Skye is moving back to the town of the shooting. She is headed to high school with some of the same kids that lost someone in the shooting, that was there when the shooting happened. She isn't treated well. She is trying just to get through the day. Then things start happening. Someone is sending her messages with videos of the victims, sounds from the shooting. Other strange things are happening too. Someone is out to get Skye. She turns to Jesse for help, and together they piece it together while trying to stay alive. 

I really enjoyed this book. I felt it was well written and executed. I have a love-hate relationship with school shooting reads. I mean so many have happened over the years, one recently here in Texas. It seems to be an epidemic. ( I know that is not the correct word but I couldn't think of a better one.) I think sometimes they are glorified in a way, giving way to much attention to the event but it is also an issue that needs to be addressed. So yes love-hate relationship. This author did a great job on this book. 

What I really loved about this book, the school shooting was there, the issue was brought up, the extremity was evident, but it was not the main focus of the book. It more supported the main focus. The man focus was Skye and the mystery of all the stuff happening to her. There was also questions around her brother an the shooting.  So lots of mystery. The school shooting doesn't happen int he book. Its tidbits of flashbacks and video snippets and talk. So I also appreciated that. I really didn't need to live the school shooting. 

I liked both the main characters Skye and Jesse. They were different from each other and both had their strengths and weaknesses. Skye was anti-social. She has gone through a lot with online bullying. She is hated for what her brother did. She can't seem to concentrate on her grief of losing a brother because of the events that led to his death. she is super sad, angry, and just tired of hate. She is lonely. When Jesse comes back into her life, it's a very good thing. 

Jesse is known around school, but he is not the Jesse that Skye remembers. He is full of anger. It takes a bit for Jesse to talk to Skye. Not because of what her brother did but because of how he treated her right after. He is still working on forgiving himself. He is also angry at himself. He didn't get along with his brother and he doesn't quite know how to feel about his death. 

These two reunite and its just great. It does take a bit. Jesse is a bit stalkerish at first because he doesn't know how to approach Skye. Once they get talking again, things seem to fall into place. Of course, their relationship is a little rushed when someone is threatening Skye. Jesse is bound to figure it out and to protect Skye. Of course, their reunited friendship also ignites a romance. It's sweet and just perfect. I really enjoyed these two and their relationship. 

I liked the family dynamics in this book. There were all kinds. Skye lived with her grandmother and mother until her grandmother had some medical issues, and her mother was kind of nuts... so Skye moves in with a workaholic aunt. Her aunt wants to be there for her but has no idea what to do with a child much less a teen. 

Jesse parents are great and put together and there is a great family unit with dinners and trust and talking and all that good stuff. So there is all kinds of family dynamics. I like this because not everyone has the same family dynamics. 

Really it was good. The story was great, it was written seamlessly, it was paced well, and the mystery was well done. I didn't focus too much on who it might be but I did have a feeling of who it might be. A couple different times. So the red herring is there for sure. 

The ending was well done and I was smiling at the end. It was full of shock, revelations, thrills and chills. There were some very creepy scenes in this book too. Really it was well done. I think the only thing I needed was just a bit more on the chilling thrilling side.

This was a really good read. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last page. 

Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This one sounds really intense. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    Blushing Geek


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