by Emily Barth Isler
Narrated by Emily Barth Isler
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 07 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2021
Lerner Audiobooks, Lerner Digital ™
"This book is a gift to the culture." —Amy Schumer, writer, actor, and activist
After her brother's death from a congenital heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy is not prepared to be the new kid at school—especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family's own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers.
Lucy clings to her love of math, which provides the absolute answers she craves. But through budding friendships and an after-school mime class, Lucy discovers that while grief can take many shapes and sadness may feel infinite, love is just as powerful.
"This book is a gift to the culture." —Amy Schumer
"[T]his novel comes pretty close to perfect in its fearless and compassionate exploration of the sorrows, struggles, and hard-won maturing of a spunky twelve-year-old as she deals with the aftermath of loss."—Judith Viorst, author of The Tenth Good Thing about Barney
"AfterMath is both heartbreaking and filled with hope. Gentle, nuanced, and honest, Isler's extraordinary debut will stay with readers long beyond the final page."—Alex Richards, author of Accidental
"Lucy's story of grief and healing packs an emotional punch that will tug at your heart strings long after you've read the last page." —Edith Cohn, author of Spirit's Key and Birdie's Billions
"AfterMath is gorgeously written, infinitely heart-wrenching, and tragically timely. Lucy's voice is powerful and distinct. I loved this novel." —Leslie Margolis, author of Ghosted, We Are Party People, and the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries
"This book is for any kid who has ever felt alone with pain. It offers a light, an understanding, a togetherness that brings hope." —Melissa Walker, author of Why Can't I Be You
"Emily Barth Isler handles so many potentially explosive topics with grace and subtlety but also with enormous assurance and power. This is a brave, important and even essential novel."—Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The Bicycle Spy and Courageous
Average rating from 98 members
I received an ARC audiobook of AfterMath by Emily Barth Isler from NetGalley on June 15, 2021. After her brother's death from a congenital heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy is not prepared to be the new kid at school—especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family's own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers. Lucy clings to her love of math, which provides the absolute answers she craves. But through budding friendships and an after-school mime class, Lucy discovers that while grief can take many shapes and sadness may feel infinite, love is just as powerful. I am a fan of books that deal with heavy topics. In her debut novel, Emily Barth Isler thoughtfully explores the tragedy of a mass shooting at an elementary school, loss, and friendship. AfterMath is told from the point-of-view of twelve-year-old Lucy. She and her family move into a community that is still attempting to heal after the tragic shooting four years prior. Her family are also trying to heal from the loss of her little brother. The way Lucy is written, she actually sounds like an authentic pre-teen. The story is well-developed and incredibly moving. I look forward to owning a physical copy of this book and whatever else Emily writes.
I listened to this book in one day and loved it. It will stay with me for a while. Beautifully written. Deep and poetic.
AfterMath by Emily Barth Isler was a really thought-provoking look into family and community after a loss. Lucy, a twelve-year-old, is starting off the school year in a new house and going to a new school after the loss of her brother. Oh, and the school that she starts attending is still recovering from a school shooting. Unbeknownst to her, she starts the school year off by sitting at lunch with Avery, who happens to be the school shooter's sister. There's a whole lot of oomph and all of the feels in this book. For me, the most gut-wrenching moment was when Lucy finally goes off on her mom and tells her exactly how she's feeling towards the end of the book. It was heartbreaking but beautifully written. I think this book is good for anyone to read/listen to, but I feel that those that have suffered a loss at a young age will appreciate this story and will hopefully get something a bit more out of it than your average reader. The author narrated the book as well and I thought she did a great job sounding like an adolescent girl and didn't mind the narration at all. I did notice that three chapters, 9, 11 and 15 were very quiet and it sounded like there were audio problems. I had to skip over those chapters because even with the volume all the way up in my car and on my phone, I could barely hear the audio. Thankfully I still was able to follow along with the rest of the story.
I simply don't have the words for how brilliant this book is. Lucy loses her brother to a congenital heart defect, and her parents are looking for a new start. What better place than a community that understands loss? Moving to a community that is familiar with death, her parents think the transition will make their loss feel easier, but Lucy finds it to be anything but. How does she fit in with everyone who experience a school shooting? How can she share her loss, when theirs seems so much greater? Will she every escape the shadow of the shooting or the shadow of losing her brother? The tragedy of loss, the darkness of trauma, the breadth of one person's decisions, the fragility yet resiliency of children, the power of friendship - this book has it all. What a stunning read, with so many nuggets of brilliant writing, yet perfect for a middle grade audience. Emily Barth Isler did an outstanding job of tackling very difficult and delicate subjects with both truth and tact. I'd recommend it to any of my friend's children. The audio book (read by the author) was also done very well. I received an audio copy of this book via NetGalley. I read and reviewed this book voluntarily, and all opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
I listened to the audiobook of AfterMath by Emily Barth Isler and was utterly surprised to find out later that the book's narrated by her too!! It's a beautiful, yet heart-breaking that the same time. We have all heard about the countless school shootings in USA and that's something so appalling that I could never understand why no gun control measures were ever passed. And I was looking for a read that could give me more than the CNN news stories do. And AfterMath, a middle grade book, being based on a school shooting was just perfect for me. This MG literally amazed me, the narration, storyline, character development was flawless. ***Right from the beginning I would like to give you trigger warnings for this book, the story deals with a lot of traumatic issues like school shooting, violence, suicide etc. So please know that before diving into this book!! Lucy, a twelve year old, has recently lost her brother to a heart defect which he was born with. After Theo's death, Lucy and her parents move to another place for a fresh start. But when Lucy join her new school she finds out on the first day itself that everyone there was a survivor of a school shooting four years ago. I cried while listening to the kids talk about the shooting in the book, it was shattering to know that there are kids who are dealing with this as I read this book. It's a burden they'll bear for the rest of their lives, the loss of a friend, a brother, a sister, a child. Every chapter was beautifully written and I was lost in the book till the last word. In the book, Lucy's character is one which I'll cherish knowing for the rest of my life. And it's not only Lucy, Avery"s character was another aspect of the story which wouldn't ever let me go. After reading this book, I've simply fallen in love with the author! Thank you NetGalley for the audiobook! I am so thankful for it.
This is a compact book with some very difficult topics. Mental health is one of them and mass shootings too. It sometimes got hard to read Lucy's story but she demands to be heard. And I loved her healing process and how friendships evolved and how observing Lucy is. And in the same time I have to keep reminding myself that She is just a kid. So yeah, it was a very good book. I lived it in audio. #NetGalley #AfterMath
Such a wonderful book! The story follows Lucy, a twelve year old girl, that just lost her brother to a rare heart defect and her family decides to move out of state to a town where the school was the site of a school shooting and the kids there are still going through the pain and trauma. Lucy's love of math helps her deal with her grief so when her new math teacher asks her to join his new Mime class, she does. No spoilers and I highly recommend it. Thanks to #netgalley for the advanced reader copy. I loved it.
Such a hard subject, handled so beautifully by this author. What could have been a maudlin or sappy story instead became a wonderful narrative about growth, strength, family, and friendship. The title is a play on the words - which I love. Not only is the Lucy surviving the "aftermath" of her brother's death, but she is a "math nerd" who sees the world through "math-tinted lenses." The unique math perspective was wonderfully done and really added a unique character to Lucy. As a teacher this book really hit home - I've lost many students to gun violence and was a bit fearful that I wouldn't be able to get through this story. My worry grew at the beginning of the novel when death was spoken about with such cold matter-of-factness. But... that was the point. I was SUPPOSED to feel uncomfortable. I was SUPPOSED to understand the struggle of this little girl who was not only going through one of the worst imaginable traumas, but was then put in the position where her grief and suffering was being compared and contrasted with another great tragedy. Is one loss greater than another? I don't want to spoil the plot or resolution, but there's no doubt that this brought all the "feels" without every making me depressed - I felt empathy, sympathy, grief, and.. hope. And, on top of all that - I LOVE Lucy's math brain. The fact that she is smart and strong and looked at the world through math-tinted lenses is remarkable. I chuckled at the math jokes, cheered at the mime storyline, and crossed my fingers that she would get the hand-holding that she so craved. Isler created a PERFECTLY age-appropriate voice for her heroine, and anyone who has gone through middle school will be able to relate. Lucy's incredible efforts of friendship for the horribly treated Avery was a stroke of genius. Knowing that Lucy's heart was so big -despite her own losses - makes her even more heroic. I will definitely get a copy of this for my class library, and will encourage students to read it. One suggestion - although I understand the author wanting to be the voice for this book herself, perhaps a professional could offer a more nuanced and less obvious reading. Some of the voice work was distracting and my experience as a listener was diminished.
This book was heartfelt and thought provoking. After the death of her younger brother from a congenital heart defect, Lucy's family moves to a new town for a "fresh start" where she attends a new school. This is a difficult transition for her after her family's loss and their inability to communicate about their grief. Additionally, she discovers the school was the site of a school shooting several years before so the students in her grade are the survivors of that tragedy. Lucy's character is so well written and authentic. She enjoys math and uses the logic to make sense of her life. There are funny math jokes and puns through out that are enjoyable and add a sense of lightness to the book. This was such a beautiful story of these kids and what they went through, including the sister of the shooter. I felt the author portrayed their feelings and told about what happened with such care and empathy. This book was incredible. Highly recommend - Five Stars
I love this book. How this book shows everyone's coping mechanism and how they live their daily life with their wounds. I deeply can relate to Lucy. She just reminds me of my school days me. It's straightforward and it's an amazing story for everyone (not only kids or young adults) because everyone has their own wounds and trauma. I love how the author has successfully brought Lucy characters along with math facts and jokes inside the story. It's a smart and heartwarming story. I never read a book like this before.
Once in a while, I came across a gem like this and I was reminded of why I loved reading so much. This middle grade book was a delight. Lucy, our main protagonist, had to move to a new town because her parents were trying to ‘escape’ the death of Lucy’s younger brother, their beloved son. Unfortunately, the new town they moved to had a school shooting a few years beforehand, which forever changed the entire town’s demeanour towards life in general. Suddenly, the death of a brother due to illness couldn’t compare to the mass grief of mass death. How would you process your grief when it seemed small in comparison, but still felt larger than life individually? Was this why Lucy loved Math so much? Because 2+2 would always be 4 and there was no room for uncertainty? I couldn’t believe this was a middle grade book. There was so much to unpack - it made me think, it made me feel. This book truly deserved more hype!
This book is brilliantly written and narrated. It is emotionally heavy with a sibling’s death and a school shooting. These are some hard topics to write about especially for kids and the author has done a wonderful job. I’m not sure how suitable it is for the middle graders. I absolutely loved the part about Lucy being a math geek and the way title included her love for math. Really clever. The characters felt very real with all that they were going through. This book is heartbreaking for an adult so I’m not sure about children reading but I think it’ll help children understand trauma and loss. I love listening to audiobooks while I read the eBook or physical copy so I requested for the audiobook as well. It is narrated by the author herself. The narration is very clear which is what I expect in any audiobook. I’ll definitely recommend the audiobook.
AfterMath is a well-written book on grief in its many forms. A young girl, Lucy, and her parents move to Virginia from Maryland after her younger brother dies from a rare heart disease. Her parents justify the move as an easier commute for them, but Lucy, who loses her friends, believes it is an attempt to escape pain. They are trying their best to heal from the loss of their child. Lucy ends up in a middle school where most of the students are survivors of a grade school mass killing. It is a tough adjustment all around. I found it very easy to relate to Lucy’s need to protect herself and her heart. More importantly, my middle school granddaughter easily put herself in Lucy’s shoes too. While we didn’t experience the loss of a sibling, we have experienced devastating loss of close family members. AfterMath flows at a steady pace that grows as Lucy faces some challenges and a betrayal. Lucy’s inner dialogue and use of math principles to explain her struggle, is effective in putting the reader in Lucy’s head. Her pain and her parents’ attitudes are heartbreaking at times. "A square is a regular quadrilateral, which means that is has four equal sides and four equal angles. What happens when one side is gone? Is it still a square? No. If a family has four members, and one is gone, are we still a family?" This an excellent book for teens and adults. My granddaughter and I listened to the story with the e-book to read along. The audio book is performed by the author, Emily Barth Isler. She does an excellent job performing a story that must be near and dear to her heart. There are some political messages, but they are subtle. I'm not a fan of authors who hit the reader over the head with their political beliefs, whether I agree with them or not. AfterMath is an excellent book to read and/or listen if you or your family has experienced loss or to help initiate discussions about personal loss with family members. I recommend the book for teens and adults alike. If you are an audiobook fan, this is a must listen. We both rate it 5 Stars.
.Twelve-year-old Lucy is the new girl in school, and after recently losing her brother to a congenital heart defect, she has a long road of healing ahead of her. The other students in school are no strangers to tragedy as they are all survivors of a recent school shooting. Lucy copes by clinging to the subject of Math, considering everything with Math is certain in a very uncertain world. With time she is able to make friends, although initially struggling as an outsider among students with such a strong bond over a horrible incident. It makes me so sad to even think of children who need to deal with similar situations in real life, but unfortunately this book is NEEDED. I hope this becomes a must-read for junior high students, and I would highly recommend it to families dealing with loss. While fictional, I found the emotions and character development very realistic. Well written and moving.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lerner Audiobooks for the advance audiobook in exchange for an honest review. Lucy is no stranger to loss. She recently lost her little brother to a heart defect, resulting in her parents’ decision to move to another town. The town they choose is one where a school shooting took place a few years earlier, and the house they choose belonged to the family of one of the victims. In fact, Lucy’s new room belonged to the girl who died, and when she starts at her new school, she quickly becomes aware that all of the students who were lost were exactly her age, and many of the survivors are dealing with PTSD. Feeling that her loss is different from theirs, she tells no one about her brother—which fails to make her miss him any less, especially since her parents are still too wrapped up in their own grief to help her. What keeps her going? Math! And her math teacher. And the mime class her math teacher runs after school. And a new friend, who has her own reasons for not quite fitting in with the other kids. This book spoke to me on at several levels. I was a classroom teacher when the massacre at Sandy Hook occurred, about an hour away from the school where I taught. I will never forget that day. I was a math geek growing up…okay, maybe I still am…so I really appreciated the math humor and math analogies the author used, and, of course, the title. As a parent…I really felt for Lucy’s parents. The story was both touching and powerful. I have read a few books about school shootings in recent years—most seemed to focus on the actual event or the immediate aftermath. This one took a look at what the kids, who were in third grade when the shooting happened, might be like as they started seventh grade. I found this to be a unique perspective, especially when paired with a loss of a different kind. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the audiobook was narrated by the author. I do not know whether she has narrated other works, but this was really wonderful. Five stars for the story, five stars for the narration.
Whew! What a ride. This book will have you giggling at some funny math jokes and then crying as you sit in the grief of all the characters. Lucy's brother Theo recently died from a congenital heart condition and her parents have moved her to a town that is still recovering from a school shooting 4 years prior. Lucy's new bedroom belonged to a girl killed in the shooting and every member of her class has a story to tell her about their experience on that dreadful day. How does Lucy even start to fit in? How can she move on when she is harboring her own secret grief? This story explores grief, the awkwardness of middle school, and finding your voice in such a gentle and caring way. I was a little wary going in how these big topics of grief would be handled, but I thought it was so well done. Content Warning: Grief, Mass/School Shooting, Bullying
This book follows a middle school girl whose family has moved to find a fresh start after the death of her little brother from a heart defect. She and her parents are having trouble processing their grief. When she starts school in a town where all of the kids have lived through a school shooting, she sees the many varied ways that people deal with loss and trauma. She also befriends the social pariah, not knowing the reason for her outcast status is that her step brother was the shooter. Will she withdraw her friendship after she finds out in hopes of fitting in or will she remain loyal and direct the other kids' attention to the many positive attributes that the outcast has? This deals with death, shooting, grief, and middle school social hierarchy, but it not overwhelming and should be suitable for readers 12 and older. It also contains a LOT of math analogies, jokes and references, which may appeal to some more than others. The narrator did a great job.