After the Fall
After the Fall
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Annotation: Told from two viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Raychel relies on the support of her overachieving best friend Matt while secretly sleeping with his brother Andrew, and Matt tries to play hero and hide how much he loves her.
Genre: Love stories
Catalog Number: #135601
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 329 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-374-30269-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-374-30269-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016028790
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Matt is always there for Raychel. He's the kind of best friend who carries her on his back for three miles after she twists her ankle. But Matt only sees the parts of Raychel that he wants to see, unlike Matt's brother, Andrew. Fun-loving Andrew is the perfect counterpart to responsible Matt, and when sparks of attraction fly between Raychel and Andrew, Raychel instinctively tries to hide them from Matt. This choice, along with Matt's inability to see the truth, leads to a terrible tragedy, and Raychel and Matt have to learn how to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on while making healthier choices. Hart's poignant debut novel unfolds slowly, alternating between Raychel and Matt's points of view, which allows readers to experience their respective emotional journeys. Thought-provoking moments regarding such issues as female sexuality, racial microaggressions, and class differences add depth to the characters. Recommend to fans of character-driven novels such as Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life (2011) or Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places (2015).
Horn Book
Raychel, a smart girl with a bad reputation, is dying to leave her small Southern hometown. Privileged Matt wishes he could be more than Raychel's platonic best friend. A sexual assault sets off a series of events that disrupts their friendship and plans for the future. This emotional, realistic novel will appeal to fans of The Serpent King and Looking for Alaska.
Kirkus Reviews
Unrequited love and family tragedy destroy Matt and Raychel’s friendship.Raychel’s childhood friendship with Matt slowly evolves until by their senior year, she’s been nearly adopted by his family. But Matt’s narration reveals that he already considers Raychel “his girl” and believes that declaring his feelings will inevitably lead to romance. However, he’s also clearly bothered by Raychel’s drinking, party hookups, and acceptance that she may have to attend an inexpensive local college rather than one near his own first choice. Soon his interactions with her seem almost Pygmalion-esque. Raychel senses that Matt’s attitude of superiority sometimes stems from his wealthy, white background, whereas she’s “poor white trash from the Delta,” so it’s not entirely surprising when his less-judgmental younger brother, Andrew, ends up successfully romancing Raychel. Her relationship with both brothers is derailed when they misinterpret white classmate Carson’s sexual assault of Raychel at a party as consensual. Over the course of the novel, Raychel’s interactions with Carson raise important questions about what it means to consent to sexual activity, though the provided answers lack nuance. In similar fashion, the exploration of race posed by Indian-American friend Asha’s romance with African-American Spencer doesn’t go as far as it could. Eventually a buildup of communication breakdowns leads to tragedy. The novel introduces many complicated topics—from sexual assault to issues of class and race—but fails to address them thoroughly. (Fiction. 14-18)
Publishers Weekly
High school seniors Raychel and Matt have been best friends forever, and any day now, Matt is going to tell her that he loves her. But while he-s dawdling, his younger brother, Andrew-the designated screw-up to Matt-s responsible A student-makes his move. In addition to the questions of brotherly rivalry, secrecy, and family dynamics introduced by this turn of events, Raychel is also struggling with a nonconsensual sexual encounter and worrying about her future, since there-s no money for college. Hart-s debut novel has a lot going for it-well-defined and believable major and minor characters, in particular-as well as a lot going on. The book takes up consent, slut shaming, issues of class and (to a lesser extent) race, unrequited love, and competition between siblings-and then adds a tragic accident and the resulting guilt and fractures. Although it can feel overloaded as a result, Hart holds it all together and closes with an ending that retains a measure of hope without becoming unrealistically perfect. Ages 14-up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Jan.)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Seventeen-year-old Raychel describes herself as "poor white trash from the Delta," while her best friend, Matt, is the son of a physician and a university professor. They've been friends for so long that Raychel is an unofficial member of Matt's family. Matt has a secret crush on Raychel, but he doesn't act on it, because Raychel has a strict policy of not dating high school boys. So he's surprised when he hears a rumor that Raychel has "hooked up" with Carson Tipton, star of the school baseball team. Matt knows that Raychel often drinks too much at parties, but he's shocked that she'd break her own rule with Carson, of all people. Raychel was chatting with Carson at a local frat party, and when he asked her to continue their conversation outside while he had a smoke, she agreed. But does that mean that she agreed to perform fellatio on him? She feels confused and guilty and is unable to talk with Matt about her experience. At first, this title seems like a well-written examination of the definitions of assault and consent. But as a relationship blossoms between Raychel and Matt's brother, Andrew, questions about communication and honesty emerge even more strongly, and after a family tragedy, grief and guilt are also brought into the mix. Those are some pretty heavy themes for one book to explore, but Hart does a good job of handling her ambitious plot. VERDICT Like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Courtney Summers's All the Rage , this is an important novel for teens and adults to discuss together.&12; Marlyn Beebe, Long Beach Public Library, CA
Voice of Youth Advocates
Raychel and Matt are long time best friends, inseparable since they were very young. Raychel lives with her single mother, and has the threat of financial disaster constantly over her head. She hopes to escape this small town, and uses her sexuality as a shield against the outside world. Matt is the older son of a wealthy family whose future is wide open. He lives a classic "good guy" life of student counsel, soccer, and countless volunteer hours. Secretly, he wishes that he and Raychel could be more than just best friends. All of this changes when Raychel becomes increasingly drawn to Matt's younger brother, Andrew. As Raychel and Andrew grow closer, the tensions between her and Matt increase. Thenà two unspeakable events happen, and those who are left behind are forced to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.This memorable debut novel is told in the alternating perspectives of Raychel and Matt. Both characters are very well portrayed as complex characters with strengths and weaknesses. The supporting cast is also well developed, with most characters avoiding the trap of falling into mere stereotypes. The story is well paced, flowing logically towards its conclusion. The ending ties up most issues, but leaves enough open so that the reader knows the characters are going to move on. This book deals with heavy issues concerning sexuality and grief, and as such might be difficult for some readers. Issues of jealousy, relationships, sexual consent, and grief run throughout. This would be an excellent addition to most high school libraries.Jonathan Ryder.The encouragement of drug use, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, and foul language among teens is disheartening, as is the lack of character development and likeable characters. The plot, the characters, the structurenone of these will compel readers to pick up this book. 2Q, 2P.Elizabeth Sullivan, Teen Reviewer.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (11/1/16)
Horn Book (8/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (12/1/16)
Voice of Youth Advocates
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9+
Lexile: HL660L

Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt...and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt's bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn't even seem to realize she's a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family's eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn't really get it... and he'd never understand why she's fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up - and which ones are worth putting back together.

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