Book Review: Every Moment After by Joseph Moldover

Every Moment After
Author: Joseph Moldover
Reading Level: Young Adult | Teen
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Released: April 9th 2019
Review Source: Nicole Banholzer PR, LLC

Best friends Matt and Cole grapple with their changing relationships during the summer after high school in this impactful, evocative story about growing up and moving on from a traumatic past.

Surviving was just the beginning.

Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school graduates Matt Simpson and Cole Hewitt are still navigating their guilt and trying to move beyond the shadow of their town's grief. Will Cole and Matt ever be able to truly leave the ghosts of East Ridge behind? Do they even want to?

As they grapple with changing relationships, falling in love, and growing apart, these two friends must face the question of how to move on—and truly begin living.

High school graduation is a time of celebration. Not only are you done with adolescence, but you are making your way to adulthood. For Cole and Matthew, graduation means something different. They, along with their fellow graduates, stare at the black memorial chairs meant the symbolize those lost in a school shooting. Summer is not just the relaxation and excitement awaiting for the fall, but a final moment to really decide who they are as adults.

Every Moment After is a story following Cole and Matthew, best friends, who are survivors of a school shooting. One of the themes this book touches on is the survivor mentality. Cole was present during the shooting, while Matthew was home sick. Something the Moldover, the author, does is give the audience the ability to walk through this perspective of survivor's guilt that is not explored enough in media. Matthew suffers with guilt for not being present during the shooting. He doesn't feel like he deserves his success and life when so many of his friends have suffered. Matthew struggles with the idea of being a survivor when he spent the day in bed reading comics. Cole blocks the events of the day. He is known as the boy in the photo. Made famous because of the actions of another. Being in the spotlight gives Cole anxiety and he struggles with being able to express himself to a girl he loves. Most people would think surviving would be enough to give a person a renewed sense of life, but as we read, this is something Matthew and Cole question about themselves.

Every Moment After is a thought provoking read. I thought about my own adolescence and could only imagine how similar our issues were. The biggest difference is I didn't have to struggle with the feeling that I should be grateful to be alive. Being alive is something most of us take for granted. We don't realize how the actions of one could have drastically changed not only our life, but who we become. Moldover gives us the chance to see how life changes and how it stays the same. We all struggle on who we are suppose to be and act. I saw this book as a chance to self reflect and truly think on how we want to be in our on life.

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