Friday, May 18, 2018

ARC Review: Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publication: Crown Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2018)

Description: Secrets don't remain hidden for long in this thrilling read from a #1 New York Times bestselling author that's perfect for fans of Kara Thomas's The Darkest Corners and Lynn Weingarten's Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls.

Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.

My Thoughts: Skye Gilchrist is back home. When she was thirteen there was a school shooting at the high school. Her brother Luka was killed by the police when he came out of a bathroom with a gun. Skye can't understand why her brother would have been involved in a shooting, but the evidence is overwhelming. She was already dealing with an absentee father and a mother suffering from clinical depression. She and her mom went to live with her grandmother but she couldn't get out from the reputation as a shooter's sister. She was being harassed and persecuted for something her brother did.

After her grandmother suffers a second stroke, social services decides that she should live with her Aunt Mae who sends her back to school in the same town where the shooting happened. Her aunt feels that she needs to come to terms with her past. Only relatives of the victims are going to the same school as she is going to and they aren't going to let her put the past behind her.

Worst of all, Jesse Mandal is also going to the same school. Jesse and Skye were building a friendship into a first romance when the shooting happened and Jesse's brother Jamil was one of the victims. Jesse has been having a hard time too as he tries to fill the gap in his family left by his brother's death. Jesse was the academic brother; Jamil was an athlete. Jamil was also a bully who was constantly putting Jesse down. Now Jesse is just letting his schoolwork slide while he concentrates on track assisted by steroids given to him by his trainer.

She and Jesse start out with some misunderstandings but when Skye is being harassed again, including locking her in the school newspaper office and setting it on fire, he is there to help her figure out what is going on. It doesn't help at all that the high school vice principal is convinced that all the harassment that is happening is orchestrated by Skye in order to get attention. She did have a history of harmless pranks in her younger years. The principal has even convinced Aunt Mae that the  strange things like notes in her locker, eerie footsteps in what should be empty hallways, and other things are just cries for attention. All of this leaves Skye alone and unsupported.

The story had lots of tension, action, and danger. There were also quite a few people who could have been doing the harassment. I liked the way Skye and Jesse rebuilt their friendship. I also liked that Skye was determined to find out what happened three years earlier.

Favorite Quote:
I wanted to go to another school, no matter the travel time. Mae thought RivCol was best -- face my fears. I understand her reasoning, but there's a point when her encouragement starts to feel like a punishment.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here.

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