After the Moment

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
After the Moment Book Poster Image
Honest look at how crazy first love can be; teens only.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The characters all have good intentions, but they are not without their problems. Maia suffers from several disorders, including self-injury and anorexia. Leigh eventually gets into a violent fight in an effort to protect Maia. 


When Maia tells Leigh that she was videotaped having sex against her will, he beats up one of the boys involved, nearly killing him and doing permanent damage to his vision.


Leigh has a sexual relationship with his girlfriend before Maia. And at the start of their relationship, Maia tells Leigh, "In my experience guys want one thing, and I don't do that now."


Some minor cursing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Maia gets drunk at a party with other kids from school.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a mature book about a boy who falls in love with a very troubled girl. Maia has family problems and also is trying to recover from anorexia and self-injury. She is also raped at a party while drunk -- and another boy videotapes the incident. Leigh finally gets so angry that he beats one of the boys nearly to death.

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What's the story?

After moving to Washington D.C. to be closer to his step-sister, Leigh meets troubled Maia, and the two begin an intense romance. But after Maia is raped, Leigh struggles with how to cope. His eventual act of violence leaves him wondering if he really loved Maia, or just loved protecting her.

Is it any good?

This book provides a real, rare look at a teen romance. Readers will connect with nearly all of the damaged characters, who are trying so hard to do the right thing and be happy despite all their problems.

There is some major drama, but mature readers should be able to handle even the most intense material. The author shows great restraint in the telling; readers will have to follow the conversations and plotting carefully to understand all the dynamics involved.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can use this book to talk about first love. What other books or movies can you think of that have portrayed first love well? Think, too, about media where someone falls in love with a mentally ill or critically ill person. What is so appealing about that dynamic?

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