After Ever After
After Ever After
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Annotation: Although Jeff and Tad make a deal to help one another overcome aftereffects of their cancer treatments in preparation for eighth-grade graduation, Jeff still craves advice from his older brother Stephen, who is studying drums in Africa.
Catalog Number: #5611359
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 260 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-545-72287-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-545-72287-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2009010430
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
In this companion novel to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie (2005), Steven's little brother Jeffrey, now in eighth grade and in full remission from leukemia, discovers that happily ever after isn't quite what he expected. First of all, his hero big brother abandons him to take a year off from college to play drums in Africa. Then he finds out that to get into high school, he'll have to pass a statewide standardized test in math, his worst subject. Finally, he is stricken by the news that his best friend Tad, also a cancer survivor, is back in treatment. The only bright spot is that cute new girl Lindsey is showing an interest in him. Now if he could just figure out how to talk to her! Told with Sonnenblick's trademark self-deprecating humor, this stand-alone tween narrative slots neatly into the space between the author's YA and J titles, sensitively dealing with issues of family, friendship and death in a way that will appeal to middle-grade students. Recommended for fans and new readers alike. (Fiction. 10-13)
Publishers Weekly

Jeffrey Alper, now in eighth grade, narrates this intense sequel to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie. He is cancer-free now, but leukemia treatment left Jeffrey with a limp and a brain that is “a little scrambled up.” When he learns he will be held back unless he passes a statewide standardized test, Jeffrey panics, then agrees to let Tad, his best friend and fellow cancer survivor, tutor him. But Jeffrey fails the practice test and is dealing with other stresses: his older brother—always his biggest supporter—is unreachable in Africa, his girlfriend won't see him until after the test, and Tad is suddenly missing a lot of school. Jeffrey's honest, humorous narration acts as a counterbalance to the subject matter (when Tad asks if he ever dreamed of doing “something completely magnificent,” Jeffrey answers, “Dude, mostly I just hope I won't forget to zip my pants in the morning”). Even so, this book is packed with emotional highs and lows, and readers will understand the toll cancer takes on victims and everyone around them—even after it is gone. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)

School Library Journal
Gr 6&11;9&12; 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.&12; Jennifer Ward, Albany Public Library, NY
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Sonnenblick's Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie (2005) told the story of eighth-grader Steven Alper, whose five-year-old brother, Jeffrey, is diagnosed with leukemia. Here, Jeffrey is in the eighth grade himself and takes the limelight. His cancer has gone into remission, but that's not the end of it. "Treatment is nothing compared to what happens after you've been cured.' . . . Being a cancer survivor can be a life sentence all its own." Jeffrey, as well as his best friend, fellow survivor, and devilishly dark humorist, Tad, have all kinds of brain and nerve damage from the intense chemotherapy and radiation, leaving Tad in a wheelchair and Jeffrey with serious concentration problems. But he mostly sweats the smaller stuff: fear of being held back a grade if he fails an impending standardized test; a brother who seems to have abandoned him at the worst possible time; strife at home that he sees as his fault; and, most terrifying, a cute girl who actually likes him. Switching gears back and forth between huge, heavy issues and universal adolescent concerns, Sonnenblick imbues Jeffrey with a smooth, likable, and unaffected voice. Most of all, he recognizes that humor and heart aren't ways to lighten a story ey're there to deliver it. As hilarious as it is tragic, and as honest as it is hopeful, don't confuse this book with inspirational reading. It's irresistible reading.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Jeffrey is a short, chubby leukemia survivor with a limp who has trouble processing information as a result of the medication he has taken. Tad is wheelchair bound, insolent, and a survivor of multiple brain surgeries. These friends make quite the pair in this story of their eighth grade year, narrated both comically and poignantly by Jeffrey. It starts when he meets gorgeous Lindsay, a California transplant. They immediately take to each other, much to JeffreyÆs surprise, and become boyfriend/girlfriend. Jeffrey, arriving home after his first day at school, finds a letter addressed to his parents stating that New Jersey has made passing standardized tests in math, science, and English mandatory for graduation. JeffreyÆs processing difficulties make it virtually impossible, so he throws the letter down the garbage disposalùno need for his parents to know. He and Tad come up with a plan: Tad will tutor him in math, and Jeffrey will force Tad to exercise so he can walk on stage for graduation. Sonnenblick is informative yet funny as he deftly describes JeffreyÆs and TadÆs illnesses. Some of their escapades are laugh-out-loud funny. He finds humor in JeffreyÆs wandering mind, a side effect of his medication but a trait typical of many healthy teens. Flash McGrath, gym teacher-turned-math tutor, is hysterical. Sonnenblick is also serious when he discusses the emotional and financial impact of JeffreyÆs leukemia on his family. The toll of their illnesses on the boys is heavy and shapes their view of life. The ending is very realistic in this worthy read for all.ùEd Goldberg.
Word Count: 45,586
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 135012 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:12.0 / quiz:Q47791
Lexile: 820L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y

An amazing sequel to the groundbreaking debut, DRUMS, GIRLS & DANGEROUS PIE.Jeffrey isn't a little boy with cancer anymore. He's a teen who's in remission, but life still feels fragile. The aftereffects of treatment have left Jeffrey with an inability to be a great student or to walk without limping. His parents still worry about him. His older brother, Steven, lost it and took off to Africa to be in a drumming circle and "find himself." Jeffrey has a little soul searching to do, too, which begins with his escalating anger at Steven, an old friend who is keeping something secret, and a girl who is way out of his league but who thinks he's cute.

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