What Am I Reading?

Jennifer Castle, YA Author

the beginning of after

An article about Jennifer Castle in our local paper prompted me to search for her books in the teen section of Elting Library.

First I zoomed through her award-winner, The Beginning of After, about a teen that loses her family in a car accident. That was so good that I jumped into You Look Different in Real Life.  This story’s characters are teens who have participated in a documentary that filmed their lives every five years. The first two films, when they were five and eleven years old, were hugely popular. Now the students are sixteen years old. Castle explores their relationships and how each of them reacts to another filming.

I couldn’t get hold of the next book, What Happens Now, so I read her latest, Together at Midnight. Of the three books, I liked the first two best. In her stories, Castle deals with serious life situations and changes. I can almost hear her asking questions. How does a young woman deal with losing her parents and her brother? What is it like to be famous because you were filmed at age five and eleven? Will you agree to being filmed now that you are sixteen? What do you do if you have a learning disability, but everyone expects you to go to college? What if you are gay and your family is super-conservative?

For me, the character’s voices were totally authentic. I can’t wait to get my hands on What Happens Now.





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