Efaw, Amy. 2009. AFTER. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670011834 [Suggested Grade Levels 8- 12]
Devon Davenport is in denial. Unable to reconcile her pregnancy with her high school academics and soccer, she discards her newly born baby in the trash. Only after the baby is discovered alive and Devon finds herself facing a trial and a lifetime of jail, does she truly acknowledge and reveal the truth to everyone, including herself. This difficult story of self-recognition is hard to read, yet portrays the reality behind why a teen might default to this decision.
Very real emotions unravel to reveal the depths of Devon’s feelings and her realization of the consequences of her actions. Slowly overcoming her anger and denial with the help of a prison psychologist, she faces the raw truth as she tries to navigate the juvenile facility where she is being held and the realities of her trial for attempted murder.
This book takes the reader on an ever-changing roller coaster of emotions and judgments as Devon’s life disintegrates, hurtling along until a sense of justice is eventually restored after Devon finally owns up to her behavior.
Discussions of right and wrong stem naturally from this book, along with consequences of one’s own actions in any area. Counselors or adults leading teen groups might use the book as a starting point for a discussion of teen pregnancy, consequences, and choices teens make.
Other books for teens about teen pregnancy:
Anonymous, with Beatrice Sparks. ANNIE’S BABY: THE DIARY OF ANONYMOUS, A PREGNANT TEENAGER. ISBN 9780380791415
Dessen, Sarah. SOMEONE LIKE YOU. ISBN 9780142401774
By Shirley Duke