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New Release Review: AFTER US by Amber Hart (Before & After #2)

An intense new New Adult read…



“Beautiful, lyrical writing and a dangerously suspenseful plot. . .an unforgettable novel that readers will love.” –Lucy Connors, author of The Lonesome Young

Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Inside her grows a tumor, fed by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own: a bullet wound, and the memory of a cousin shot in the heart. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin’s murder. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

These two broken souls could make each other whole again–or be shattered forever.

Our time will come. And we’ll be ready.


After Us is the second in Ms. Hart’s Before & After series, taking place after the events of Before You . The main characters ofAfter Us are the best friends (and cousins, in the case of Javier and Diego) of the couple from Before You, and events that happened to Faith and Deigo are pretty key to this novel, butAfter Us still functioned well as a standalone. Actually, for about 90% of this book I was sure there was no way I’d read Before You–and not because I didn’t enjoy Ms. Hart’s writing style or the characters, because I definitely did, but for reasons…after finishing book two, though, there is a good chance that I’d go back and read book one now.

Cryptic, I know. But I can’t say more because of spoilers. 😉

As a story, I enjoyed After Us quite a bit. Melissa and Javier are likable characters, and though they both have a tendency to let their own personal pain and issues bog them down, it’s not unjustified. They’ve got some heavy helpings on their plates and reasons why they’re keeping the whole truth from each other. I don’t entirely agree with all of their their actions and choices, but for the most part their behaviors are understandable.

However, I did think that Javier’s belief that he could exact revenge on a gang leader and then get away scot free from them in the end was a bit fantastical. He never gave them his name, so they wouldn’t be able to find him? They knew his car–several gang members were hanging out around it on at least one occasion–and I’m sure following him home from any one of his “jobs” with them wouldn’t have been much of an issue. That part really bothered me–for a smart guy who loved his family, it seemed a huge (and ill-advised) risk to take.

Focusing just on the characters, their story, and Ms. Hart’s lyrical writing style, though? Definitely a page turner, even if it wasn’t 100% realistic.

But that’s why it’s called fiction, right?

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.



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About Amber Hart

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House.

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