Life After Juliet by Shannon Lee AlexanderPublished: July 5th 2016 by Entangled TEEN
Number of Pages: 304 Pages (hardcover)
Series: Yes, companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables
Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people...
Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.
As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world...and happy endings aren't always guaranteed.
The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again. (goodreads.com)
* Thank you to Entangled TEEN for providing me with an
eARC in exchange for my honest opinion *
Life After Juliet is the companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables, which I personally didn't know until after requesting it. At first I was unsure if that meant I wouldn't be able to understand certain things, since I didn't read Love and Other Unknown Variables, but I quickly fell in love with the story and characters nonetheless. So, even if you've not read Love and Other Unknown Variables, you can very much enjoy Life After Juliet.
In Life After Juliet we follow Becca who is dealing with the loss of her best friend Charlotte, who died due to cancer, and how she slowly makes new friends and falls in love with a boy named Max. I'm not joking when I say that Max will very quickly make it very far up on your list of bookish boyfriends because he was an amazing character.
Something I very much enjoyed in this story was the representation of grief, of how people who grief sometimes feel guilt if they find themselves forgetting or missing the person less that they've lost, and so on. I really liked the fact that the loss of Charlotte was an ever present thing in Becca's character, that it wasn't just something mentioned once in a while so we wouldn't forget, but it was simply a part of her character, naturally and realistically.
Generally I really, really liked Becca. I love how, in the beginning of the story, she was hiding behind her books, counting time in pages and just so caught up in her grief, but also how her character developed across the story and how she began to change. She felt very realistic and three dimensional with realistic problems and trains of thought. Also I loved her relationship with her brother Charlie, with Max, and of course with the rest of the gang, being the theatre kids, both the technicians and the actors.
Speaking of which, as I mentioned before, Max was an amazing character. I love the way he behaved toward Becca, loved his family and the fact that he had his own grief, knows the pain Becca feels, and how that connects the two on another level. I also very much enjoyed his friendship with Victor, which was just generally amazing and seeing those two together was just amusing and entertaining from beginning to end.
Another thing that I really loved about Life After Juliet was how, despite dealing with such a heavy topic, grief, it also offered a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Some scenes and lines of dialogues were seriously brilliant and just impossibly funny! The balance between serious and relaxed/funny was perfect. Shannon's writing style is amazing and she is really able to capture your interest and create fascinating, realistic and three dimensional characters. They behaved like teens, had teen like problems, and also talked like teens which I very much appreciated.
All in all I really, really enjoyed Life After Juliet a lot. I definitely want to pick up Love and Other Unknown Variables to see where the entire story began and see Becca's friendship with Charlotte before it ended. So, if you're looking for a read that blends seriousness with humor and amazing characters, then I definitely recommend this one. I binged 70% of this book in just a few hours and really had to make myself set the book aside and go to sleep at 3am.
I give Life After Juliet by Shannon Lee Alexander 5 out of 5 stars!