Parents' Guide to


By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

School shooting haunts intense story of girl's grief.

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Though there are some glimmers of hope that shine through the tragedy, this story may be too intense for most young readers. It's an everyday reality, after all, that kids these days have to undergo active shooter drills at school. The attempt to tackle this subject, as debut author Emily Barth Isler does in AfterMath, is certainly well-intentioned. But it lacks nuance.

There are tender moments as Lucy's parents realize their grief has overshadowed their ability to connect with their surviving kid. Some of the dialogue is pitch-perfect. But the enormity of the grief, the intensity of the pain is an awful lot to confront in a book about a girl adjusting to new school. The personal tragedy of losing a brother might have been sufficient for this story. The mass shooting theme is simply too burdensome for this narrative to handle.

Book Details

  • Author: Emily Barth Isler
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
  • Publication date: September 7, 2021
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 12
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
  • Last updated: August 31, 2021

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