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After

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Lauren, fifteen, has her life change after a phone call from her father.
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Rating: 4/5
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Description
After
by Barbara Ehrentreu
Genre  Young Adult Romance
Tags  YA, realistic, teen romance
Imprint  MuseItYA
Cover Designer  Carolina Bensler
Words  47193
Pages  176
ISBN  978-1-77127-600-9
Price  $5.50

 Back Cover

“After” is a story about the struggles Lauren Walstein, a fifteen-year-old girl, has to go through when her father suddenly has a heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery. In one phone call her life changes completely. Lauren is a character with whom most teens will relate. Her best friend since kindergarten, Joey, is going out with her enemy and they have grown apart. Before the phone call all she thought about was getting a scholarship for softball, and the Mets. Suddenly she must deal with both her father’s illness and being in school. The demands on her from both ends complicate the story. In the middle of all this, she finds she is developing feelings for her best friend that are more than friendly. Is he feeling the same or is he just comforting her? In addition there is Joey’s mean girl friend Amber, who doesn’t appreciate Lauren being in the picture. Will Lauren’s father recover? How will Lauren cope with her new feelings for Joey?


Excerpt

Let me go back and tell a little bit about myself. First of all, you might be thinking I’m a boy, but you’re wrong. My name is Lauren. I’m fifteen, and my sister is seventeen. I’m one hundred percent female. We learned about stereotypes in social studies and thinking sports can be only a boy’s thing is one of those. The teacher used blondes—and how people think they’re dumb or playing dumb—as an example. We had to come up with a few stereotypes of our own as our ticket to leave that day. It was then I realized my own parents thought in stereotypes.
I go against the stereotype for girls. I’ve always loved baseball. Joey loves it differently than I do. He likes to play it, but he memorizes all the facts and can spew them out any time they’re needed. I like the flow of the game and the feel of the perfect pitch leaving my hand.

Our friendship goes against the stereotypes, too. He and I clicked in kindergarten. The first day of school, Joey and I sat together and didn’t stop talking the whole morning. My parents told me that when the teacher tried to separate us we both put our feet on the ground and refused to be moved. She let us sit together for the rest of the year. But the next year the teachers were onto us and separated Joey and me for the whole year into different classes. We’d see each other in the hallway and wave. Sometimes I’d have a little tear in my eye when I saw him and it didn’t go away for a long time.

   Before the phone call, there I was, eyelids drooping, in front of the TV, about to go upstairs to bed. Mom joined me for the last couple of innings. It looked like the Mets might do it. Though I tried, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was in the process of raising my tall, lean body off the sofa and placing one foot on the floor when the phone rang. Dad usually called Mom late when he worked nights, so I handed the phone to Mom and started upstairs. I didn’t get far. As soon as my foot touched the first step I stopped in mid-step. Mom was screaming into the phone.

“What? You want me to go out now and buy you Alka-Seltzer? You have indigestion?”

Dad never has anything wrong with his stomach. You could say it’s made of iron. I turned around and went back to the living room, catching bits of Mom’s conversation as I approached her. Even though I didn’t understand the reason for the phone call my heart started pounding and a sick feeling started in my stomach. I stood behind Mom.

“You have pain in your back, and indigestion? Go to the hospital! No, I’m not going out to buy you Alka-Seltzer.” She slammed down the phone and gave into hysterics.

“That stupid man. He has to go to the hospital. He’s having a heart attack. He is so insufferable. I’m calling the doctor.” Tears rolled down her face as she frantically punched in the number for the doctors we use. She described Dad’s symptoms to the answering crew and they put her through directly to the coronary doctor on call.

“Okay, I’m calling him back. He’s insane,” she said to no one in particular, but really to me and my sister. Diane, hearing all the screaming, had run down the steps and put her arms around Mom, who was now sobbing uncontrollably, but still punching in Dad’s number.

Holding the phone and wiping away tears she spoke to him again. This time it sounded a lot more like the way she spoke to my sister and me when she wanted something done for her. I wrapped my arms around myself and prayed this was a nightmare.

“I called the doctor and he said you need to go to the Emergency Room as soon as possible.” Then she added her own Mom advice. “Take two aspirin and we’ll meet you there.”

My life changed at that precise moment: 9:30 p.m. Sunday, September 24.And I never even realized it had happened.

Meet Barbara Ehrentreu

Reviews

Saturday, 13 December 2014
Review of AFTER, a teen novel by Barbara Ehrentreu.
Review by JD Holiday.

Sometimes the people close to you are just there and it takes a major event in your life for you to see them in a new light. A crisis can change a lot of things in your life. For fifteen-year-old Lauren, her life under goes such an event 'after' the phone call telling her her father is ill.
Lauren struggles with her father serious condition and that crisis leads Lauren to realize her deep feelings for her best friend from childhood, Joey. All Lauren wants is for Joey to comfort her and her sadness slips away when Joey's with her. Only Joey has a girlfriend who is mean and resents Lauren and her problem.
'After,' is a believable account of the hardships and headaches of having a sick parent and a real emotion of blooming love from a true friend that grows through the sympathy of these events. You feel Lauren's fear that Joey is not feeling the same. That unsure, chaotic and warm all over of young love. From school to the hospital setting and that first hint of young love unspoken between lovers, you are there, a part of their experience.
The story moves and pacing is good. I applaud Ms. Ehrentreu's achievement of capturing these feelings and events in the young life of a teenage girl. She gets it right how teens feel love; the uncertainty of how the other person feels about you in return and your fears that you are reading more into it than there is. 5 stars!
JDHoliday
Wednesday, 03 December 2014
I read Barbara Ehrentreu's If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, and this one doesn't dissapoint. My favourite part was when Joey, the boy she likes... wait, I can't tell you...you have to read it and find out, but for sure you'll find yourself saying, "Ha. She deserved it!" Anyway, a great read.
Suzanne Demontigny

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