BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN by Jeannine Garsee

BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Martha has spent 14 years following her alcoholic mom through one short-term job/house/relationship after another. The latest variation involves the Cleveland slums and abusive “Wa-ayne.” Despite this, Martha befriends neighbor Jerome and finds solace in playing her cello. But when Jerome’s cousin steals Martha’s cello, she steals his drug money—and the ensuing violence kills Jerome’s infant brother. Wracked by guilt, Martha feels completely lost when her mother overdoses. Enter a fairy-tale savior—a lawyer seeking atonement for his troubled past, who invites Martha into his wealthy, seemingly perfect family, where she reinvents herself as glamorous Gina. Living a lie backfires, and when Martha ends up back with her mother (whose sobriety doesn’t last), she resents losing the good life. She dabbles in drugs, alcohol and sex and alienates everyone who cares about her, then experiences a rapid epiphany and turnaround. The

first-person narrative often tells rather than shows, and Martha’s accounting of her atrocious behavior without comprehension of her own culpability frequently renders her unsympathetic. Despite these flaws, though, this gritty story has great appeal. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59990-022-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2007




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