17 November 2009

Review: After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Leigh Hunter is a genuinely nice kid, sixteen years old and just finishing up his junior year in high school in New York City. He lives with his mom, a romance author, and visits his dad, step-mother, and step-sister in Maryland on weekends. He loves soccer, he is dating one of the most desired girls in school, and he's on the path to adulthood.

He begins to get lost the day he learns that Seth Davis died in a car accident. All Leigh can think of his how Millie, his step-sister, is now a half of an orphan and how much he loves her and wants to help. Although it wasn't in his plan, Leigh agrees to spend his senior year living with his father's family so he can act as support for his sister. As it turns out, Leigh begins to stray off the map when he gets to know Maia Morland, a troubled girl who has befriended Millie.

After the Moment is a young adult novel that examines what happens when a fairly normal boy meets a far-from-normal girl. Despite dealing with two families, two girlfriends, and two homes, Leigh's only real problem is that he suffers from the wounded bird syndrome. He sees that someone needs help, and he tries to provide that help, even when he doesn't fully understand what the problem is or how to make it better. He is driven by the need to be the exact opposite of his emotionally crippled father.

Maia, on the other hand, loves only her imprisoned step-father and maybe Millie. She has grave problems, including anorexia, but Leigh is sure he can help her recover. One day Leigh goes too far in playing the knight in shining armor, and his life is forever altered.

Although Garret Freymann-Weyer is certainly a fine writer--a winner of a Printz Honor--the novel failed to make a strong emotional connection. One of the problems was that there was nothing new here. It seems that every young adult novel involves a teenage girl who has a psychological disorder that manifests itself physically (anorexia, cutting, promiscuity) and a nice but generally clueless boy tries to help her, doesn't realize he should help her, or really does help her.

The other problem is that After the Moment seems to drift, bringing up a number of interesting issues but focusing on none. There are no real lessons to be learned, no larger questions to ponder. This is a book that is easy to read and only mildly troubling because it just touches the surface of larger concerns. Perhaps another problem is that several young adult novels published earlier this year do a excellent job of engaging the reader and of deeply, and sometimes disturbingly, exploring the issues brought up in After the Moment.

Here is video of Freymann-Weyr discussing the novel.

After the Moment at Powell's
After the Moment at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780618605729
Challenges: 100+
YTD: 82
Source: Review, TLC tours (see review policy)
Rating: C+


Unknown 11/17/09, 1:08 PM  

This sort of plot does seem to have been very common this year. I haven't read any of them, but it is hard for an author to stand out amongst so many similar novels.

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) 11/17/09, 1:59 PM  

It's too bad there was no emotional connection for you. I recently read a book that left me feeling that way and I felt it was for the same reason - too many things going on to really make a specific point. Great review though.

bermudaonion 11/17/09, 2:49 PM  

The story sounds good - too bad you couldn't get emotionally involved with the characters.

Amy 11/17/09, 4:30 PM  

This is in my to-read and I have just not been able to get into it, I def, agree with you on that point.
Great review though!

Kathleen 11/17/09, 5:06 PM  

The story sounded interesting but based on your honest assessment I'm not sure I would rush to buy it. I do think that this premise has been overdone so unless it is done really, really well, I can't skip the book!

trish 11/17/09, 6:27 PM  

Sorry you didn't like the book, Beth! I appreciate your honest review, though. Thanks for being on this tour!

Belle 11/17/09, 10:15 PM  

This type of book isn't really my cup of tea to begin with. Enjoyed reading your review, though!

Unknown 11/18/09, 2:46 AM  

This premise of this book would have made me pick it up but I probably would have found the same issues as you. I really liked your review. It's great that you were honest and gave your true opinion :)

S. Krishna 11/18/09, 10:37 AM  

This book sounds interesting, but I've read enough mixed reviews of it to where I think I'l pass on it. Thanks for the review.

Elizabeth 11/18/09, 2:50 PM  

Sorry this one didn't work for you!

Alice 11/18/09, 8:57 PM  

Sorry that the book didn't work for you...

Anonymous,  11/20/09, 5:06 PM  

The reviews for this one have been fairly varied. Thanks for your take on it.

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