Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Life After Juliet by Shannon Lee Alexander

Becca Hanson is a reader-a voracious reader. And with all those fictional friends, she never had time for real ones. Plus real ones come with uncontrollable quirks, like constantly filling a room with song, drawing on any available surface, and worst of all, dying. Real friends are more trouble than they're worth. Since her best-and only-real friend Charlotte's death six months before, Becca has returned to a life of books in order to distance herself from heartache and constant loneliness as her junior year at Sandstone High begins.

When a class project forces her into the Drama Club, she attracts the attention of not one, but TWO guys involved in the production, onstage and off. Meanwhile, she's still dealing with the grief of Charlotte's death--the fact that Charlie is away at MIT--and that she finally has to build a life for herself on her own terms. Ultimately she learns more about who she is, what she wants, how she feels--and how to find what she's looking for. (And while she isn't sure what comes next, she's pretty sure there'll be more kissing involved.)

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Becca is grieving the death of her best and only friend, Charlotte. She spends every minute she can with her head buried in a book, avoiding the world, her grief, and making connections with people. She is socially awkward and thinks people don't notice her. But they do.

When Becca face plants into Max's lap in class, and after a little pursuing from Max, they become friends and Becca starts to come out of her shell. She signs up for the school play and starts to live. Charlotte's death and grief hang heavily over Becca as happiness in her new life wars with guilt over moving on.

The lovely teen romance between Max and Becca moves slowly and is PG rated. Becca's relationship with Max is important in her new life, but so are the people around her. Max's best mate, Victor, provides comic relief while frienemy, Darby, helps hold a mirror up to Becca's life, forcing her to face things she'd rather avoid.

This is a beautiful story about a girl learning to move out of her comfort zone and live life after the death of a loved one. I note this is a companion book to Love and Other Unknown Variables but I read it as a standalone. Love and Other Unknown Variables has been added to my 'to read' list but knowing what I know, I'm not sure if my heart can take reading Charlie's story. Perhaps I need to take a leaf out of Becca's book and move out of my own comfort zone.

Shannon Alexander was compelled to write this story after the death of her best friend to ovarian cancer. She is a member of SCBWI and She Writes, and works as a copy editor for Sucker Literary, a showcase for new and undiscovered writers of young adult literature. She recently completed her seventh Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Washington D.C., and is an active supporter of cancer research.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Life After Juliet by Shannon Lee Alexander to read and review.

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