Reviews for After Ever After

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

Gr 6-9--In Jordan Sonnenblick's Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie (2004), eighth-grader Steven deals with his younger brother Jeffrey's diagnosis of leukemia. In this sequel (2010, both Scholastic), Jeffrey is now in the eight grade and his cancer is in remission. He met his best friend, Tad, in the fourth grade when they were both undergoing treatment for cancer. Now, as a result of Jeffrey's chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he suffers from attention span issues and is worried about taking the new state middle school proficiency exams. Supporting him through his struggle to prepare for the tests are his parents, Tad, new girl Lindsey, and the eccentric gym teacher. Nothing seems to help; he fails the pre-test and loses hope of joining his classmates in graduation to ninth grade. Meanwhile, his big brother Steven who has always been there for him, decides to drop out of college and head to Africa to do some soul searching, leaving a huge hole in Jeffrey's already shaky world. At the last minute, the entire eighth grade stages a walk-out during the exams in support of Jeffrey. Nick Podehl does a fine job of portraying all the characters, highlighting the frequent humor and occasional poignancy. A sure hit with middle schoolers.--Jennifer Ward, Albany Public Library, NY

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