Cover Image: What Comes After

What Comes After

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Member Reviews

This book will rip your heart out and throw it on the floor. It’s so tragic and gripping and real. You will cry and feel sorry for the characters.
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Rating: 4.5*
This was my first book by JoAnne Tompkins and I really enjoyed. 

This book hooked me from the first pages and I couldn’t stop until the end. The mystery surrounding the death of the two young boys was a really good way to start, it keep me interested the entire book and also the mystery around Evangeline. 

But the book spins not only around the mystery but also around the emotions of people and very complex dilemmas.

A really great book. I hope to read more by JoAnne Tompkins very soon. 

Thank you Net Galley and Penguin Random House International for the free ebook.
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This is my first book by JoAnne Tompkins but def won't be my last! JoAnne's writing and story telling hooked me early and kept my attention through out. What Comes After was a complete rollercoaster that kept my guessing and when I thought I had figured it all out JoAnne threw major curve balls. I love that when I am reading thrillers!
I can not wait to read more from JoAnne Tompkins!
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Part Lovely Bones. Part mystery. Part small-town drama. I was pulled in and swept along by the story of what happens to the parents and town after two young boys die. Evangeline is a young pregnant girl who joins Isaac's home after his son is murdered by his friend- the friend then kills himself. How do parents recover (or not) after that tragedy. And how do they find the strength to bring in and care for Evangeline after she comes into their lives. The book is less a mystery and more an examination of the human spirit. I enjoyed the character Tompkins created, but I didn't like the chapters from "Jonah's ghost" as they felt unnecessary and inconsistent. That is why I gave this book a 3 star.

Thanks to #NetGalley for the ARC. #WhatComesAfter
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

This novel centers on what happens after death as an overarching theme, but not only in the guise of grief. It's a novel that makes us question how well we really know those we love, and how people can hide pieces of themselves to fit a narrative. The book is dark, sad, and complex. 

I will say there were points where the novel dragged on a bit. I felt it could have been fine tuned a little more, but overall, the book is a solid effort.
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I hadn't read anything by JoAnne Tompkins before this book, and will definitely read more.  This story is fast paced and draws the reader in.  The characters are all struggling with different aspects of life, but find that leaning on each other can help find a way through.
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Wowza, what a book!  One that is not only a great thrill feast, full of chills, twist and turns, and shocks, but also a complete emotional roller coaster!  The character development in this book is stunning, so it makes you absolutely hooked, vested, and unable to put it down!  I cannot even explain the way this author drove into my emotions, but must say that I think it’s a must read!  I highly highly recommend this book!  

Will make sure to buzz around and use low Amazon reviewer number on release date!
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Wow. Just wow. This book WRECKED me in the best way. I was crying the whole last 50 pages. It’s so beautifully written and the story is told so intricately. The only thing I was expecting by the end was not included was Evangeline revealing that Daniel raped her. I thought that would have come out in one of her fights with Isaac or during a conversation with Lorrie. But for especially for a debut, this was INCREDIBLY well done.
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WHAT COMES AFTER  is a beautiful, heartbreaking novel about parenthood, adolescence, harsh realities and how we save each other.  I found it deeply moving and inspiring and highly recommend it.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Riverhead Books for gifting me a digital ARC of the debut novel by JoAnne Tompkins - 5 glowing stars!

Two families are grieving - Isaac is mourning the loss of his teenage son, Daniel, and next-door neighbor, Lorrie, is also mourning the death of her son, Jonah.  While their sons' deaths are connected, Isaac and Lorrie are now worlds apart.  Into this grief stumbles Evangeline, a pregnant teenage girl who appears at Isaac's door.  She has connections to both boys that she is keeping to herself.  All three must first come to grips with their pasts before moving forward.

What an amazing debut - this book will have you in shreds at the same time as it will lift you up with all that is good in humanity.  You will feel so much emotion for each character and their story.  I loved Isaac's Quaker faith and the power of silence in this so very loud world.  I also loved delving into the acceptance of the reality of our children and our role in that.  "Every mother screws up her children one way or another. It's up to you whether you stay that way."  And just wait until you meet Rufus!  This would be the perfect book club book because there are so many topics - faith, grief, abuse, hope, kindness, family.   Such a powerful book - do not miss this one!  Bravo to all involved and I'll definitely be looking for more from this author.
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2.5, Rounding up. I wanted to like this book, but it was not for me. I had to struggle through the last 100 pages, it just made me so sad. Evangeline’s story broke my heart. Her resilience was beyond.  I found the writing was beautiful and strong. This book was just not for me.
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I’ve gravitated increasingly to meditative, contemplative fiction during the Age of Covid. When I first heard about “What Comes After’ I thought that it could be a good “palette cleanser”: a kind of thriller with twists and turns, good characters, and bad, easy to digest, not too demanding of my attention.

Well….how wrong could I have been? JoAnne Tompkins’ debut packs a punch, no, make that lots of punches. It is complex, unexpected, harsh, real, honest, cruel. The seemingly implausible story became increasingly real. Characters’ strengths and weaknesses are exposed, tested, often found unable to bear the necessary weight. And, in the end, it is tale of resiliency, courage, and hope.

Ms. Tompkins really understands adolescence - both from the adult lens and, most impressively, from the teen’s. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing is what it first seems. Adults are more often than not found to be arrogant, ignorant, self-indulgent, and vacuous. And you’ve got me every time when the deepest, most salient character is a dog.

There are multiple events that could trigger reactions from those who have experienced trauma in their lives. With that said, “What Comes After” is a book of healing, insight, and hope. Just a wonderful read. 

Thank you to Riverhead Books and NetGalley for the dARC.
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This is such a bittersweet story. Two dead teenage boys, a mysterious pregnant 16-year-old girl, and grieving parents finding their way through. It's so heavy and yet very much tinged with hope. Beautiful.
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Tompkins has written an intense debut novel set in a small community on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It is a mystery as well as a novel about how we deal with grief. Daniel, a high school senior has been killed by his friend and neighbor, Jonah. Jonah then commits suicide leaving no clue who he murdered his friend. Daniel’s father, Isaac, is a Quaker, who after Daniel’s death takes in an abandoned pregnant 16-year-old. Isaac wonders if either Daniel or Jonah is the father. Told from the characters’ different perspectives. Those told by Jonah are particularly difficult to read. Jonah’s mother, a widow, helps Isaac with Evangeline, the pregnant teen. As the story unfolds the truth slowly comes out. For me, the most thought-provoking chapters are the ones told by Isaac as he struggles with his Quaker faith and his look and good and evil. Its eventually, forgiveness and human connections that help ease the pain.
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What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins was a very beautifully written book. Unfortunately, at 30% through I found myself skimming and waiting for more to happen. I don’t think I was in the right mindset for this book at the time of my reading it. I think I will definitely revisit it at another time, but I just found myself wanting more. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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What Comes After as a title serves this new book well. The characters are not run-of-the-mill upper-middle-class stereotypes, and the plot involves violence and tragic loss. Issac teaches at the local high school in this Washington town. His wife, Katherine, left him for another man. Issac's son, Daniel, was murdered. Issac introduced me to the underpinnings of what it takes to be a Quaker with his stoic stance in all his losses. Rufus, an old dog, stole my heart immediately. Rufus plays the part of the Greek chorus in many ways.

Evangeline enters the picture, and with her, chapters go back to where she came from and who she encountered when she entered the lives of the characters in Port Furling. Lucas got into my heart, as did his mom, Lorrie. All the characters in this sorrowful and moving novel are created perfectly. Evangeline, a damaged teenager, keeps coming back with the possibility of being completely lost at sixteen. JoAnne Tompkins works magic with her writing skills to create a novel that will stay with me for a long time.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this e-ARC.
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Tl;dr: Read. This.

What Comes After is JoAnne Tompkins first novel but it sure doesn't read like it! It's so beautifully written and so thoughtful that I assumed the author had published a lot of books. But no, this is the real deal, a first novel that reads so well that the comparison to Tana French are apt. I was reminded of Helen Dunmore, because the writing is so lovely. I have entire sections highlighted because of the writing and the meaning behind it.

Anyway! What Comes After is about Evangeline, a teenage girl abandoned by her mother and determined to try and find a place to stay, even as she's suspicious of everyone and assumes everything will turn out poorly. She ends up at the home of Issac, whose son Daniel was recently murdered by his friend and next door neighbor, Jonah, who then took his own life. Jonah had a troubled family home life--his father was abusive, his death was brutal--but loved Daniel like a brother. Why did Jonah kill him? The answer seems obvious and it is on the surface, but underneath is tangled up not just in who Jonah was, but who Daniel was. 

As for Issac? He's drowning in grief but leaning on his Quaker faith, which he feels helps him see clearly. But he doesn't, and his journey to understanding not just Daniel but those around him and, eventually himself, is brilliantly done.

Evangeline also bonds with Lorrie and Nells, Jonah's mother and sister, and Lorrie's all too human mix of weakness and strength, combined with her innante ability to understand a situation, makes her an integral part of both Evangeline's and Issac's journeys.

Despite the murder that drives it, What Comes After is a quiet journey, like the most important ones are. It looks not just at love and loss but the very nature of good and evil and how neither can exist without the other, at least for people. It asks about this world, and what came before as well as what's after, and came the closest to expressing a view of god and the universe as anything I've read. Ever.

If you're looking for a thriller, this isn't it. It's so much more, so much better--a gorgeous examination of the light and dark within all of us and the beauty that lies in death, life, and every moment in-between. It's about the beauty of silence, the quiet of the soul, and the connections that tie us all together.

The most assured debut I've read in ages, with an author who can write teens and adults and philosophical issues with a deft hand and gorgeous prose, What Comes After is an absolute must read and one of the best books I've read in 2021. If you read only one work of literary fiction this year, make it this one.
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Evangeline shows up in town, newly pregnant and homeless at the same time two teenage boys have recently died in a small town.  As we read, we learn how the deaths of the boys occur. We find out that Evangeline knew both of the boys and spent some time both of them. Since Evangeline has nothing, she ends up sleeping outside of one of the boys' houses in the back yard. When the dog finds her, the father, Isaac, brings her inside to stay for a few days. Next door lives the mother of the other teenage boy who has died. Evangeline is not forthright and honest with anyone about who she is or what she knows. What follows is the exploration of relationships and friendships as well as the development of a new definition of a family unit. The story is well-written and explores many current issues facing teenagers and their parents today.
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This has a really intriguing plot! I found that I really wanted to discover what had happened with the boys and how Evangeline was involved. I didn't love the structure of the book - the first person narration from Isaac, then the third person narration for Evangeline, then the first person narration from the dead boy. I felt that it was a little hard to follow. But a nice slow burn thriller that many will enjoy!
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"You can see the crimes that people commit, see them in their clear brutality, and yet someday, somehow, forgive."

JoAnn Tompkins debut novel is a beautiful, heartbreaking, dark, compassionate story that left me stunned at the conclusion. A small town in the Pacific Northwest is reeling after the deaths of two teenage boys. Isaac, recently divorced, lives alone with his dog, Rufus, and grieves alone over the death of his son, Daniel. His next door neighbor, Lorrie, struggles with the heinous act her own teenage son, Jonah, committed and its resonance in their town, so shortly after the death of her own husband. Soon after, sixteen-year-old Evangeline appears on Isaac's doorstep, harboring secrets of her own. Desperate for the love and a family, Evangeline inserts herself into Isaac and Lorrie's lives, bridging the gap over the damage the deaths of their sons created. Over the course of the novel, secrets are revealed, hard truths are confronted, and the chasm that loss creates is slowing filled in.

This book is a masterful execution in dealing with loss and anger, forgiveness, hope, and what it means to be a family. I felt sadness and grief at some point for all of the characters, and it was wonderful to see how much each of them grew and changed over the course of the book, as their individual stories of loss and shame were brought to the surface and faced head on. Dealing with grief is a very personal experience, and I felt like Tompkins showed how everyone faces it on their own or together in very unique ways. I loved Rufus, such a good boy! So much of our inner turmoil comes out in different ways, and Tompkins gets it right in Rufus when the dog knows exactly where he's needed at all times.

Thank you to NetGalley and RIverhead Books for the e-ARC in exchanged for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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