A gritty but hopeful love story about two struggling teens—
great for fans of The Spectacular Now, Willow, and Eleanor and Park.
Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?
Description taken from Goodreads.
I don’t know if I enjoy books with douche-y characters who grow into people who are more empathetic and aware of the world (such as Bethany Crandell’s SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS) or if SHORT BUS is just the exception, because I loved and hated Tyler’s attitude in this book.
*deep, dramatic voice* In the beginning, I hated Tyler. He uses his mother’s death as a reason to push everyone around and make fun of everyone. I tried to understand what he was going through, and I understood a lot of why he feels like everyone is patronizing him, but, like in NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST, I think jerk-status only goes so far before it really becomes an issue.
However, one of the biggest things I enjoyed about this story was how Tyler transforms. He doesn’t heal right away, and it’s not even really apparent to the reader until Tyler realizes himself how he’s keeping his relationship with a certain someone intact, even when all of his other ones fall through.
Speaking of that certain someone, Jordyn’s contribution to this book was great. I loved seeing her relationship with Tyler grow, and learning what her past with Tyler was in the first place. I thought that she was hilarious and while some of her comments were a little unnecessary, for the most part, she was a fun heroine who grew right alongside Tyler.
In terms of themes, this wasn’t the strongest trouble contemporary novel I’ve read, even with all the scenes between Tyler and his dad. It was well-done, and I had a lot of sympathy for Tyler and his situation. While I was reading the book, I didn’t have any qualms with it, but there was nothing new about it. It was the same kind of alcoholism/descent into grief parent problem that shows up in other YA.
I wasn’t a fan of the drama circles NOT AFTER EVERYTHING went into (seriously, how many relationships can you describe in one book?), and I still have mixed feelings toward the ending, but for the most part, I would recommend NOT AFTER EVERYTHING if you like contemporary. Good read, 3.5 stars.
pg count for the paperback: 352