Before the Ever After — Review

Thought for the Day:


~ YODA ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

HERE is a new post on getting rid of filler words and phrases by Karen Hertzberg on the Grammarly blog. It’s worth your time.

Grammar Girl has a very helpful post HERE about Why Dumbing Down Your Language Isn’t Always Dumb.

I think all writers who write for children hope their books will be adopted into curricula. That means we will have to develop a study guide. HERE is a great post by J. P. Miller at Nonfiction Fest that will show you how it’s done.

And the Covid problem marches on, but for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling hopeful about it. Hearing that the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine was approved makes me believe we can whip this thing. Our new president has contracted for enough vaccine to be delivered to vaccinate everyone in our country, and the rate of vaccinations is fast. Maybe we can get back to a fairly normal existence by the end of summer. Fingers crossed! I had my second shot ten days ago. My arm was sore for several hours and I got really tired. The soreness is gone, but I am still needing naps nearly every day. I’m sure this will pass soon. And taking naps isn’t such a terrible side effect. I rather enjoy it. With all this good news, please don’t put away your masks. We need to keep using them. In fact, I think I will probably always wear one during the regular flu season for the rest of my life. With so many people wearing masks this year, the incidence of flu was lower than ever. That’s a nice side effect!

Last week I offered a gently-read ARC of The Secret Starling by Judith Eagle and illustrated by Jo Rioux to one of you. This week’s winner is Susan Wroble. Congratulations, Susan! I will get your book out to you soon. If you don’t know Susan, she is a writer from Colorado, and you can learn more about her HERE at her site. She writes book reviews and more. Check it out.

I have sort of a love-hate relationship with novels in verse. When they are done well, I LOVE them, but sometimes I feel like they are really novellas with a lot of white space. So I choose them to read with that thought lurking in the back of my mind. I am always hopeful, but sometimes sorely disappointed. That said, when I see the name Jacqueline Woodson on a book, I think there is a pretty good chance it will be one I will love. When I chose Before the Ever After as a review book for the Seattle Book Review, I was NOT disappointed. And look at that cover. How could you not want to read this book? Here is the review I wrote for The Seattle Book Review.

ZJ’s father is a famous NFL star running back, one of the best in the business, but lately things at home have been changing. Dad isn’t playing in every game anymore or going to practice regularly. Sometimes he seems to forget where he is or who he is with. And he has terrible headaches. When he has those, the room must be dark and the house quiet. ZJ’s mama is clearly worried, though she tries to put ZJ at ease. But some days, Dad is just Dad, and he tosses the ball to ZJ and his friends and talks about getting back in the game. ZJ’s friends Daniel, Darry, and Ollie always have his back. It’s a good thing, too, because every day his dad seems further from the person he used to be.

Jacqueline Woodson

This takes a heartbreaking look at the devastation Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has on not only the person with CTE but on their family members and friends. Jacqueline Woodson has written a powerful and important story, beautifully rendered in verse, that will educate young readers without them ever knowing they are learning. This deserves readership well beyond its intended MG audience. Don’t miss it.

I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

14 thoughts on “Before the Ever After — Review”

  1. Lucky kids at your granddaughter’s school. This IS an important subject, along with all of the other things that slowly take those we love. But it’s an important thing for young people to be aware of, in case it starts happening to someone important in their lives. Thank you for find it, Rosi.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read your review and commented last night — but my reply must not have posted. I love anything Woodson writes — especially her free verse. This is the first novel I’ve seen about a father with a traumatic brain injury related to sports. It is much needed. Want to read this story as I had a serious brain injury, but not related concussions. We need more authors tackling brain injuries because so many kids receive head injuries annually from soccer, volleyball etc. I know it may sound depressing, but both teens and parents need to be aware.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Needless to say, I loved the links this week especially the one on phrases you no longer need….Like needless to say:)
    I am a hesitant readers of books in verse, but this is one I’m going to read. The contemporary story line has me sold, given the angle of a pro football player with a brain injury.
    Yes, I’m seeing that end of the pandemic light, too. I hope it keeps getting brighter.
    Thanks for featuring your post today on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Needless to say… Haha. Nice one, Greg. Glad you like the links. If you don’t read any other novels in verse, this is one that needs to be read. It’s great. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  4. I read this book a month or two ago, and it was immensely powerful! I need to cram more of Woodson’s books into my endlessly packed reading list. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying your vaccine naps—I would have napped practically every day this last week if not for the fact that I never actually feel rested after one. I love the Yoda quote, and the meme is awesome as well! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

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