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am 16. Februar 2011
AFTER EVER AFTER by Jordan Sonnenblick is the sequel to DRUMS, GIRLS, & DANGEROUS PIE. It is eight years later and life is continuing for the Alper family.

Jeffrey is ironically starting the eighth grade. That's the grade his older brother, Steven, was in when Jeffrey was diagnosed with leukemia. Jeffrey is now in remission from the disease, but he suffers from some side effects from the chemo treatment that saved his life. He walks with a limp, his attention wanders easily, and his brain just refuses to process anything related to math.

Not a big deal, you say. Well, if your father is an accountant and the mailman has just delivered a letter saying that every eighth grader in the state must pass a set of required tests, including a math test, or repeat the eighth grade, let's just say things have looked rosier.

A lot of other things have changed for Jeffrey, as well. His brother graduated from high school and went off to college. Again, not a big deal, but then Steven decided after three years of college that he would drop everything and head to Africa to become part of a drum circle. That left Jeffrey on his own to deal with his last year of middle school.

Fortunately, back in fourth grade, Jeffrey found his best friend, Tad. Tad was also a cancer survivor. In fact, Tad had survived the disease twice. It left him weak enough to need a wheelchair, but it certainly strengthened his wit and wisdom when it came to dealing with daily life.

When Tad learns about the state testing requirement, he steps up to help Jeffrey by becoming his official math tutor. The two make a deal that Jeffrey will study hard to pass the test, and Tad will train hard so he is able to walk across the eighth grade graduation stage under his own power.

Jordan Sonnenblick continues Jeffrey's story in his signature style using an authentic teenage voice and laugh-out-loud humor. By asking his main character to adjust to a learning disability and a physical handicap, as well as changes in his family structure, Sonnenblick creates a new depth to the sequel. The determination he showed as a young boy dealing with cancer helps him with the struggle to be successful at school and also at any new challenges thrown his way.

This is a sequel I was not expecting, but I was thrilled when it came to my attention.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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