Can we all take a moment to highlight how beautiful this cover is? Along with the personal title, Nina de Pass definitely leaves you wondering...
The Year After You follows the aftermath of Cara’s life for a fresh start in Switzerland. Sent off to a boarding school called Hope Hall, Cara hopes for a new beginning. Things don’t seem to go her way when she’s faced with the reality and grief of others. The only way to get through the term is to let people in about what happened.
That’s my summary without any spoilers. The cover of this book really intrigued me and was the reason why I requested this book on NetGalley. Thank you for accepting my request in exchange for an honest review. In no way does this influence my opinion toward this review.
I really liked the writing, especially the descriptive language—at times I thought I was in Switzerland lost in another dimension of Harry Potter (school, uniform, facilities, etc.) because it was easy to visualize. The building of suspense was used well in a way where I didn’t say ‘ugh get on with it!’ as i sometimes do. Everything just flowed naturally at a good pace, I was instead left with ‘okay, now what? What’s more to come’ and what came, left me, jaw dropped. When that progression ended, it became a bit draggy where it’s like a chase situation—the only thing that turned me off about the plot but other than that I enjoyed it.
My expression makes him laugh; a quiet, musical sound that manages to penetrate the dark coat of sky all around us. - 16% into the book
The characters were unique. At first, I wasn’t sure on Hector because I already knew his purpose. When he was introduced, it’s like a sign above his head that explained his aim. I liked him throughout the novel, but when he ignored Cara, and they were both confused, I was annoyed. It’s like that space between them were filter chapters. However, it was a way in which Cara grew closer to Ren and Fred. I thought Fred was irrelevant, maybe just to even out the two girls, two boys?
"I wanted back then was to grow older and wiser, to shrug off the restrictions of youth. We didn't want to be young--we wanted to be old. We thought getting older meant our lives would get better." - 82% into the book
Onto the main character, she was different from other grieving main characters which I admire. It wasn’t all just drab and mourning. It made me feel what she felt. Or perhaps, all the emotions someone might feel when going through grief. At times she was irrational where I even picked up what was happening or what other characters thought that she couldn’t get. Cara was too self-absorbed at times, some times even too hard on herself. Though, it’s what made her character so raw and intriguing.
Grief was the central theme shown, and I like how de Pass viewed it from Cara’s perspective and someone else. It showed that everyone has their own way of grieving. It gave Cara reassurance that she wasn’t alone. Many people have lost at least someone, so it didn’t seem new that Cara was the only one in the book.
Because sometimes grief isn't tears or public outcry. Sometimes it's quiet rage and empty space that words and sound can't articulate. - 56% into the book
Thoroughly, I enjoyed this book and the different setting. It definitely made me curious about boarding schools as I always loved to read and watch them. The originality of these characters really stood out, not just on their appearances (even though they all wear the same uniform lol!) but mentally and what they are thinking, going through, etc. I’m happy to rate this beautiful book four out of five stars!