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SWEET, HEREAFTER by Angela Johnson Kirkus Star

SWEET, HEREAFTER

By Angela Johnson

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-689-87385-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Sweet never really fit in at home or at school, but she has satisfying friends and connections. Few are surprised when she leaves—or is kicked out of—her family home, but there is talk in her small town when she moves into a cabin in the woods with a young man. Curtis, somewhat mysterious, is a military reservist and college student, home from Iraq and—perhaps—AWOL. “I’ve had secret parts of me since I was little. I’m used to it, and I guess it makes sense I’d love the secret parts of another,” she says. Sweet doesn’t question Curtis’s enveloping sadness, and there is an air of inevitability about the way he avoids returning to war. Johnson’s evocative yet starkly simple language powerfully shows the devastating effects of the war on one small community. Whether in a scene at a high-school career fair with military recruiters or in the conversations between Sweet and teens readers met in the book’s award-winning companions, Heaven (1998) and The First Part Last (2003), the characters and circumstances are never anything less than rich and real. (Fiction. YA)