Cover Image: AfterMath


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Aftermath turned out to be a heartwarming middle grade book. It follows Lucy, who starts at a new school after her brother dies due to a heart condition. Years before her starting at this new school, there was a school shooting, and her classmates are still dealing with the trauma. Lucy struggles to make friends, but clings to her love of math, and joins an after school mime class. Throughout the story, she learns more about grief, friendship, and love.

I really enjoyed the inclusion of math within the story. I was a math nerd at Lucy's age, and I appreciated the math jokes her father leaves for her. 

The author drew inspiration from other school shootings in America, and she tackles this incredibly difficult subject in a way that is age appropriate for the middle grade reading level. She incorporates grief and trauma in ways that the target audience can understand. 

The author narrates the audiobook, and I can tell that great care and love went into not just the creation of the book, but in the narration as well.
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A phenomenal story for a generation defined by surviving tragedy. Emily Barth Isler highlights how grief can mean different things for different people for different situations. This is a very important topic for middle grade readers who've never known life beyond school shooter drills, probable war, and an always shifting financial world.

Readers meet Lucy, a 12-year-old girl who is forced to move after the loss of her younger brother. And she ends up in a school that is still traumatized by a school shooting that took a lot of her classmates friends. Navigating personal and private is hard. It's not easy to step into a world that's defined by something you can never fully understand. The author does a fantastic job of showing how Lucy grieves.

How math is her safe space...but what happens when new terminology upends all expectations. Bonding is essential in feeling part of a community and to be seen. Lucy does a great job of highlighting the fear, doubt, and more.

School shootings are a part of American student life now. I was reminded of Newtown since the kids in the book were in 3rd grade when one man destroyed so many families. I was in high school when Columbine happened and that was across the country. Yet the book didn't feel exploitative. Raw and honest with a voice that fit Lucy's age and experiences.

Honestly, I recommend this book to anyone trying to communicate with children facing PTSD, grief, and the unknown words on how to find peace with the new normal. Absolutely blew me away. A well-earned 5 Stars for me.
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Thanks to #NetGalley for the early copy of this book. As a teacher, this was a very difficult book to listen to, but also one I think is important that we have today which is unfortunate. This book takes place in a town where there was a school shooting 4 years prior. When a Lucy and her family move to town, people are shocked as no one has moved to town since the shooting. What they don't know is Lucy's family is going through a tragedy of their own. Lucy also becomes friends with an unlikely person who is also dealing with the aftermath of the shooting in a very personal way.
Not a spoiler but the title, "AfterMath" also has a connection to the main character's love of math and math jokes. I won't spoil that either!
I think this book would be good for students who are older and students who have experienced shootings in their school, which I hope no one has to use this book for that reason.
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I enjoyed reading this book, especially from the perspective of the book’s narrator. Lucy is a brave young girl who’s own experiences shape how she perceives others. She is thoughtful and kind. This book provides an interesting perspective on school shootings, and the emotional journey necessary to move forward.
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I thought the characters were incredibly realistic, as was the setting itself.  While I don't know what it is like to be a victim of a school shooting, there was a boy at my school who was stabbed and killed in a hallway.  You never forget it, and the PTSD in this book remind me very much of how I felt all those years ago.

This is definitely a book to read/listen to at some time in your life. The story certainly makes you think about all aspects to situations like this one and see it from the eyes and view point of a child too.

This may be a middle grade book, but it is something that adults should read too.
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An important story of hope after immense grief and shocking tragedy.

This book had so many strengths, dealing with such a shocking subject as a school shooting, and childhood trauma and bereavement in an age-appropriate and relatable way.  Subjects often relegated to 'grown-up news' stories, when, especially in the case of school shootings, it is the children who feel the impact, the loss, and may have the least support, communication skills, or experience to even begin to come to terms with such a thing.

The writing was excellent, the main character extremely relatable, and I loved the Maths jokes, and the way she figured out her world as equations and formulae, working her way through human relationships and complex emotions through mathematics, that was great as you don't often read about female characters with an aptitude and straight-up love for maths and logic, though we do exist!  

The reason I gave this 3 stars, and not a higher rating, is simply because, understandably, there isn't much joy in the book.  Yes, there's hope at the end, and yes, it feels true to life, and it is important that nothing romanticizes or trivializes gun crime, mass murder, or childhood illness and mortality, but it was difficult to read/listen to, the tone is sombre, thoughtful, respectful, but overall it is so sad.   So, while I rated it high for writing, character development, and sympathy, I could not, from my experience of it, give it a high score for enjoyment or plot, and would not know who to recommend it to.

It is a strange one to rate really, and I may well have to reconsider my rating, or rating system for books like these.  I think it is a valuable story to have in the world for many reasons, and I hope it will help young trauma sufferers to see themselves represented in such a way, and would be an excellent teaching book, but not sure how many Middle Grade readers in general, would pick this up by choice over other books.

A note on format: I listened to the audiobook, read by the author: Emily Barth Isler, and I thought her reading was fantastic, she clearly loved and knew her characters and their emotions very well.

Thank you to Lerner Digital for the ALC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a Middle Grade that covers some hard hitting topics. I feel that this book cover these issues very well, and it is so well written. I loved getting to know the characters in this book. I do feel that this is a middle grade book that parents and kids should read together, so they can talk more over the topics cover in this book. I have a son that has a congenital heart defect lucky his is not life treating. My daughter at first was super worried about the fact we may lost him. I think at times Adults forget that kids worry to, and we do not know what to do to help them. I think this book also can help adults see that fact. There are a lot of great messages in this book. I listen to the audiobook of this book, and I have to say the narrator was really good. I was kindly provided an e-audiobook of this book by the publisher (Carolrhoda Books) or author (Emily Barth Isler) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
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I loved this audiobook, it is great for teens and adults. The story talks about grief, mental health, friends and family. This difficult subject was handled incredibly by this author.
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Aftermath is a great middle grades novel by Emily Barth Isler.  The story follows 7th grade Lucy in her transition to a new school. Her family moved to start over after her younger brother's death from a heart condition.  Lucy is no stranger to grief, and neither are any of her classmates at her new school.  Four years ago, there was a tragic school shooting at the school that killed 27 people, including students and staff.  Lucy struggles with balancing her own grief while learning about her classmates' traumas.  

I don't read that many middle grade novels, and I was surprised at how openly Aftermath confronted such serious topics.  Still, everything was definitely handled in an age-appropriate manner.  I even think this could be a great book for adults to read with the middle schoolers in their lives to open up lines of communication since that is a conflict in the story with Lucy and her parents.
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AfterMath is the third book I have read this year that has dealt with a school shooting before or after the fact. AfterMath is a middle grades novel by Emily Barth Isler and the title has multiple meanings. The idea for AfterMath came to Isler after the December 2, 2015 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, California. She had a baby and a 4-year-old at the time.

Each chapter of AfterMath begins with a Math problem. Our main character is Lucy who is twelve years old and dealing with the death of her younger brother from a rare congenital heart defect. Dealing with the loss, Lucy’s parents decide to move. They move to where her parents have a shorter commute, but they also move to a town that has not had new members to the community since there was a school shooting four years earlier. Not only that, but Lucy is also the age of the students who were victims of the shooting. The house they move into was also the home of a girl her age who died in the shooting.

Lucy’s adjustment to a new school in a unique situation at an awkward time of life is our story. There are so many important issues addressed in this book with loss and grief being at the forefront. PTSD in various forms is also addressed along with bullying. For one particular student we see the effects of how the sins of one person affect another who had nothing to do with said sin. We see how everyone experiences their grief in different ways, and the way Lucy does this is not telling anyone at her new school about the recent loss of her brother.

I really liked Lucy and how we see her love of Math despite having problems with learning the concept of Infinity. We see how she grows over the course of the novel. We also get to know Avery through Lucy, a girl whom everyone at the school avoids. We also see Lucy’s homelife with her parents and mysterious math jokes appearing in her room. Lucy has a good relationship with her math teacher who also teaches her after-school mime class.

This is a great book for those in the middle grades age group. I listened to the audiobook version which the author also narrated. She brought a special voice to the novel. I received an arc copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

AfterMath is definitely recommended for the middle grades ages readers.
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I got to hear the audiobook AfterMath which created a lot of emotion thinking of the struggle of people in the story. The way the survivors of the shooting speaks about it is like a weather forecast and Lucy, who lost her brother Theo and shifted to a new place where she faces more difficulties and she joined the class which was more affected by the shooting and having a lot of memories.

There are a lot of sad moments that make you feel a lot. I really felt bad for Lucy's family who was acting like they are good and happy, finally, they had the guts to speak about they miss Theo and accept the loss and speak it.

I really felt pity for Ivory as no one speaks to her as the shooter was her brother but Lucy made her friend and created a good impact on her. 

We all have problems and sorrow that cannot be compared as each pain is different. We should try to speak up with the close ones or seek medical help than getting depressed thinking of the past and living in it.

Mental health is equally important to physical health. Just speak out. In all countries, mental health was a taboo topic. Start speaking and share your problems that will reduce your pain a little by little and helps to move on in life.
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This is such a good story, and so important too! It made it all that more touching that the author narrated her own story.
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It’s so good. It hits you right in the feels from the very beginning and just never lets up.
Lucy's parents decide to move after her little brother dies of a heart defect. They think of it as a new start, but they also decide that the best place to do that is the Washington suburb where a gunman entered an elementary school and killed a lot of people fours years earlier. And Lucy starts the new school year as not only the first new student since the incident but in the same grade as the survivors. I'm not going to talk more about the plot because I truly appreciate the little twists, turns, and revelations that Barth Isler worked into it. It shows the different levels and reactions to events in a very humanistic way.
There are very dark topics touched in a way that I think is perfectly appropriate for the target age. I also particularly enjoyed the way the author manages to weave healing and hope into the story in such a way that shows that it's not just about getting 'over' trauma but learning to live with and accept it. 
It hits hard to read this fictionalized school where kids talk about dead friends and go into serious PTSD episodes when the fire alarm accidentally goes off because I can easily picture it happening for real. It's a sad truth of today's world where bulletproof backpacks are sold. But I appreciate how it can give a voice and a story to prove that you can move on from the worst moments in your life. 
I would particularly like to give kudos to the author for the brilliant wordplay involved in the title and Lucy's love of Math. Just that element would be worthy of praise. 

The audiobook narration was very good, and it makes sense because it's read by the author. She knows when to hit what key in order to elicit the right emotion for the scene. It shows that the person doing the narration cares about the story.

Many happy thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Audiobooks for the emotional early listen!
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AfterMath is a wholesome story that deals with grief, friendship and family. It shows that each loss is different but equally valid and painful. It also discusses the topic of therapy and the fact that talking about what happened to you, helps you process the event, whether it was a loss or a different trauma. We shouldn't remember the people we've lost by the bad things, but by the things that made them happy and the happy memories we have together. We should remember them by who they really were. Memories are infinite.

The story entails a very lovely friendship between the main character Lucy and Avery that grows and blossoms because Lucy puts aside the bias that the other students have towards Avery. Lucy in that way doesn't only find a friend but also breaks down the wall the other students put up between them and Avery.

Mr Jackson is the perfect example of an excellent teacher. He is aware of what the students are going through and tries to guide them in the best way possible, not pressuring them to grief in a certain way or talk about it when they're not ready. 

The story doesn't only entail the loss Lucy endured but also covers the grief her parents are going through. Grief does not have an age. And for as much as Lucy is hurting, they are hurting too. For as much as Lucy is trying to find her place in this new school, her parents are struggling to find their way in this new community. 
The relationship between Lucy and her father grows in such a lovely and heartwarming way. 
The family ends up coming together in a great way and they acknowledge that therapy can be done as a family, on your own, or a combination of the two. 
The story encourages therapy, and I could not agree more having gone through therapy myself multiple times. 

I would recommend this book to everyone.
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Really fun audio book, though the theme was less my thing i did still really enjoy it. I had a fun time listening and sorting out the math and it's link within the story
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This is a story that at some times was quite hard. It’s always going to be difficult subject matter. A death of a child. This took the different route of it being told through the eyes of the sister. It gave insight into her feelings and her thoughts which I suspect sometimes gets lost. It was sensitively done and I could imagine being a useful tool for children to use who have been or are going through a similar situation. The narrator of this audio book was the author which was great and I it was easy to listen to her telling of the story.
Thank you @netgalley for this arc
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Emily Barth Isler's book "Aftermath" is sensitive title about a young girl's loss, a family's loss, and a town's loss.  Lucy and her family move to a new town, needing a new setting to restart their lives after the loss of their son/brother.  However, Lucy quickly discovers that the town has suffered it's own tragedy which occurred the year before at the new school she would be attending - mass shooting at the school. Isler's sensitive approach to both the topic of family loss, but the trauma-informed perspective of the students is well crafted.  As a reader, it was deeply inciteful, the usage of performing arts as a therapeutic way to have students share their feelings.  I found that Lucy's own emotions were relatable, especially as she found herself in the middle of this sea of emotions while trying to still understand her own personal loss as she worked on understanding the emotions of her classmates who had lost friends and family members.  Isler's research and sensitivity is seen throughout this book as she created her characters and is shown through Lucy's experiences.  Definite read with understanding of the book's contents.
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*received for free from netgalley for honest review* really loved this book, coming from a generation where school shootings have been common my whole life its sad we have gotten to the point we have to write books about enitre classrooms of children being killed and it be based in truth but important we don't gloss over it, its something that needs to be talked about and that as far as America goes, most kids will grow up dealing with. 

This book touches on lots of subjects, mainly gun violence and grief, but many other bumps in the road kids (and adults) face. 5 out of 5, plan on buying several copies!
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This was good, but maybe just not my thing? My biggest pet peeve in novels is statistics being used, I just find it incredibly boring, especially when I have to listen to it over and over via the audiobook.

Though not completely for me, I can definitely see the merit of this book. It deals with grief very well and the characters are decent, it just feels a bit incomplete.
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As an a parent and an educator, I enjoyed Aftermath. I feel that it would appeal to both YA readers and a wider audience. 

It is well written, nicely structured and deals sensitively with some tricky topics. 

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