Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn’t want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.
After the Fall is an utter disappointment. It features bland characters, a truly ridiculous twist, and doesn’t offer anything constructive or worthwhile with the highlighted topics.
After the Fall ultimately fails because of the sheer amount of work it takes on. Rape, consent, gender double standards, and slut shaming are featured heavily within the book on top of developing a romance and having the characters deal with loss. All of these topics are touched upon briefly or spoken about directly, but ultimately offer no real solutions or conclusions.
I enjoyed the focus on The Handmaid’s Tale throughout the novel, but only because it’s one of my favorite novels. Like I mentioned previously, the references also offer no solutions making it stick out like a sore thumb.
From the beginning of the novel to the end, I never felt a connection to any of the characters. They’re bland and have no concrete personalities. The format the book is told in doesn’t help with connecting either. There are no chapters and the points of view oscillate between the main characters, Raychel and Matt. This format makes the story choppy and awkward to connect to.
Overall, After the Fall bit off more than it can chew. It tried to tackle a lot of important issues, but failed to offer anything substantial.