Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: After the Storm by Marie Landry

After the Storm

By Marie Landry

 For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reserve, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…

After the Storm is a standalone companion novel to Waiting for the Storm.

Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Publication Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 242

My Rating: 2 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ella's story is something I looked forward to reading, because out of all the characters in Waiting for the Storm, she is the one who interested me the most. She was not a likeable character by any means, but I though it would be fun to get inside her head and learn more about her.

In the previous book, Ella was a holy terror. This book comes after her change of heart, so there's not as much emotional turmoil in here as there would have been with the Ella of the first book. In fact, she barely resembles the person she was in the first book, and it borders on unbelievable. She now has an awesome relationship with her sister, and I would have liked to see that be built up a bit more, rather than the book starting with them already super close again. She has to deal with feelings of guilt, but she doesn't have to struggle all that much to reconnect with her sister, for the most part. Seeing as what originally hooked me in Waiting for the Storm was Ella and Charlotte's interactions, this kind of disappointed me. Charlotte and Ezra are actually not hugely prominent in this story at all. The main secondary characters are River and Sadie.

River and Sadie were good in the fact that I liked that the author developed them instead of just throwing them into the story and not doing anything with them. A lot of YA has those random sidekick characters that don't do much other than provide sarcastic comic relief or something along those lines. Sadie and River, however, were crucial characters to the story, which I appreciated. Still, I never really loved them. I didn't ever get to learn enough about River to ever get emotionally attached to him. He was the love interest, and his personality was kind of bland. Plus, I felt like the romance was kind of just thrown in there for Ella to have a boyfriend, and I didn't feel any chemistry between them. I am admittedly very picky when it comes to romance; barely any romance is ever perfect for me, but it did bug me.

I thought Sadie's character was the better of the two, but for the first half of the story, I was kind of bored with her storyline. The most memorable part of it until around the halfway mark was Ella and her watching Doctor Who--a great show, but not the most exciting story for a contemporary novel.

This book tended to drag at times. Like I said before, I don't really care if Sadie hooked Ella on Doctor Who. I am fine with that being in there, but I felt like sometimes those scenes would go on for too long. Or, the scenes that were supposed to be really tense and/or emotional would fall flat for me.

I was hoping I'd like this more than Waiting for the Storm, but this one had some problems for me too. It was not a horrible series by any means, but it never had enough to fully grab me, and so I think I will be stopping at this book rather than going on with the Angel Island books.

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