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Before, After, and Somebody In Between by Jeannine Garsee

June 27th, 2007 (08:11 am)

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Twilight by Vanessa Carlton

Fourteen-year-old Martha is dragged along to a new town by her mother and Wayne, her mother's newest loser boyfriend. Over the next few months, her life will become worse than she ever dreamed it could be - and then better - and then a bit of both.

Having skipped a grade, Martha is smarter and younger than her classmates. She is also Caucasian, while the majority of the school and the neighborhood is African-American. Though she makes two friends early on, they can't stop the threats made on her life by very imposing female bully.

When a drive-by in her neighborhood turns her world upside down - or perhaps right-side-up - she is taken in by a well-meaning and well-off family, given a makeover, and accepted into a prestigious school. At the recommendation of her new family's beautiful daughter, she starts going by Gina, a variation on her middle name. As she makes new friends and starts dating an intriguing boy, she tries to put the past behind her, but it's never far behind. When her lies catch up with her, Gina's new life is shattered, and she is forced to become Martha again.

Whether things are good, bad, or in between, she escapes by playing the cello. Ultimately, it is her music that will build her spirit, even when it seems the world is conspiring to break it.

Martha is a complicated protagonist. At first, she is somewhat quiet. Thus, the novel greatly benefits from the first-person narrative, letting readers hear the thoughts and things Martha wishes she had the guts to say and do.

Jeannine Garsee's debut novel, BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN, addresses abuse in various forms - alcohol, pills, verbal, physical - as well as recovery and redemption. Though no one is ever fully healed nor redeemed, that makes it all the more realistic. Martha has potential, and so does Garsee.

Vote for this review.

Read my exclusive interview with Jeannine Garsee!


Posted by: battlebrand_bri (battlebrand_bri)
Posted at: February 7th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)

I love that picture of Sarah in your icon

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 7th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)

Thank you. I created that icon eons ago, and it's still one of my favorites. I have plenty posted here.

Posted by: alixwrites (alexflinn)
Posted at: February 8th, 2007 10:53 am (UTC)

Sounds like a brave book, and I love anything about musicians. Def. checking it out!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 8th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)

Well-timed response, Alex. I read Diva just yesterday and absolutely adored it -- I was planning on dropping by your blog today to tell you so!

Posted by: alixwrites (alexflinn)
Posted at: February 8th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)

Of course, you're welcome to praise me publicly any time you wish;)

Glad you liked it!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 8th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!

You are welcome. I asked literaticat if she was a mind reader, because she posted the interview with you the day I got the book, one day before I planned to read it, and two days before I planned to ask YOU if you'd like to be interviewed. :)

Posted by: alixwrites (alexflinn)
Posted at: February 8th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!

Oh, well, I'd be happy to be interviewed, unless you think it's too close to NYM's interview, in which case I'd totally understand, and maybe we could wait until the next book (which will be October) or something.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 8th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!

Thanks. You pick the when and I'll send the questions!

Posted by: alixwrites (alexflinn)
Posted at: February 28th, 2007 11:07 am (UTC)

E-mail me with your snail address, and I'll send you an advance copy of BEASTLY. If you do it before 10 a.m. EST (which is when I'm leaving for the post office), I'll send it today.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 28th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey!

Thank you so much!
You have mail.

Posted by: rebel rebel (you've torn your dress) (tornyourdress)
Posted at: June 27th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)

LW, just stopping by to note that I've taken you off the f-list at this journal for streamlining's sake - will still be reading from my writerly LJ. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 28th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)

Okay. Phew. Wouldn't want to lose ya!

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