What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins
Rating: 4/5 Stars
After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families–a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.
In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses–until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.
Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.
I’ll keep this review spoiler free and probably pretty short haha.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this book, but I did have the feeling it was going to be a four or five-star read for me and I wasn’t wrong.
I might as well get this out of the way but it wasn’t a five-star read for me…just didn’t have that five-star feel when I finished it. It was still an incredible book and I loved it very much! I’m super happy to have picked it for my BOTM book. I’m also glad to be all caught up on my BOTM reading.
One of the things I really loved about this book is that the chapters are really short so it makes it go by really fast and it’s what made me want to keep reading. The chapters alternate between Isaac, Evangeline, and Jonah. Mostly it’s just Isaac and Evangeline. I feel like that’s also what helped me want to keep reading because something would happen and I would want to know how it affected the other and vice versa.
This book is very deep and there are a lot of deep things that are talked about. I thought the author did a wonderful job creating such a dark, deep, and mysterious atmosphere. It just completely wrapped me up and it made me feel so much more for the characters and what they were going through. I resonated with them and their struggles. The way I felt I could relate to them in some deeper way was incredible to me. It’s what made me really connect to the book.
It’s got a lot of dark and deep topics though. So, if dark books aren’t your thing then don’t pick this book up haha. I love dark books though.
I think watching the characters grow and transform throughout the book was really spectacular and it made me love this book. I felt like I was part of it, part of the story. It’s just such a beautifully written book especially for a debut.
It’s mostly character based but it does have a good plot. The main focus is on how the characters grow and how they manage this new life with such loss but also with things gained. It’s just a great story to me. 🙂
I recommend this to anyone who likes a deep book that can also be dark…I mean it does have a murder take place. If you are a fan of descriptive writing then you might like this book too. This book has great character development and an intriguing plot. I’m definitely gonna keep an eye out for more of JoAnne’s books in the future. 🙂