After Eli by Rebecca Rupp

Genre: YA

It's Raining Men! 2012 Challenge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Says: When Daniel’s brother Eli is killed at war, Daniel considers the history of unusual fatalities to determine what makes a death — or a life — matter.

Some people die heroically, others accidentally. When Daniel Anderson’s older brother dies, he wonders which category Eli’s death falls into. In an attempt to understand, Danny creates a Book of the Dead — an old binder that he fills with details about dead people, how they died, and, most important, for what purpose. Time passes, and eventually Daniel is prompted to look up from his notebook of death and questions to make new friends and be swept into their imaginings. With gentle humor and genuine emotion, Rebecca Rupp examines the questions that arise following a profound loss and the moments that start life rolling again.

3.5-4.0 stars

9/11 happened and Eli wanted to help at ground zero but Eli’s dad said no. Feeling that he had to do something to help he enlisted in the army instead. About a year or so after he dies in Iraq while on duty. Eli’s death has left Danny alone, his dad even less sociable and mom has checked out. While coping with the death of his brother, Danny begins the “Book of the Dead” a book where he records famous people and the cause of their deaths.

I think the most interesting part of this book was the “Book of the Dead” and how the author used it to tie it back to certain events in Danny’s life and/or to show his thought process on the topic of death. This definitely made After Eli a very unique story.

I liked the story well enough. I thought it was written well. I liked the characters especially the twins who were a hoot! I especially liked that you could noticeably see the growth within these characters. The flow of the story was right on point and the ending was just right. Yet something didn’t sit well with me.

I’ve read a few contemporaries as of late and they were heart wrenching and I guess I was expecting this book to be that way. It’s not. There are some moments and I did cry during those moments but it was hard for me to connect in that way the entire time.

Another thing, I felt like I was reading the wrong era. The book reads like the TV show the Wonder Years. This is not a negative, people. I loved Wonder Years. My thing was that this is supposed to be the present, you know 2012. Although there were parts that felt like 2012, there were other parts that felt like the 1960’s.

I don’t know. It could just be the emotional overload I’ve felt reading other types of books in the last few months. Also, it could just be a figment of my imagination about the era switch up I felt often in this book…figment or lack of sleep. Or it could just be that this book is just a different type of grief and it doesn’t always have to be over the top and the town is rural and could possibly still feel like the 1960’s even if it is 2012.

Bottom line: I still recommend this read to everyone because it was an overall enjoyable read. After reading it let me know your thoughts on it.

ARC was provided by Candlewick via NetGalley.


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