“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.”
Every Moment After is such a fitting title for this book. While it mentions and discusses a bit about the shooting, it doesn’t focus on it. Told in the alternating voices of Matt and Cole, the story is about the two, who have recently graduated, and are survivors of a school shooting that happened in first grade. Though it was many years ago, the young men still deal with PTSD and survivor’s guilt. They are very close friends and this story explores the bond that males share as friends. I loved that aspect. They depend on each other so much, as they suffered the same trauma together. They are growing up, so to speak, and going forward with their lives, and perhaps depending on each other less and less. They still struggle with their feelings even though it has been years ago. The past haunts them both.
The writing was impactful and sensitive, considering the subject matter. Moldover did an amazing job at telling the story and expressing the trauma through the boys’ eyes. The author didn’t rely on the atrocity that occurred, but rather, he really touched on the relationships that boys and men form and how they can sometimes grow apart though they still feel that they need each other for support. It is a magnificent work and well worth the read.
The characters were relatable and likeable. You could easily sympathize with them from the start. Their growth from boyhood to manhood is so very touching. Their dependency and need for one another’s support was so heartfelt. The plot was ingenious, IMHO. The way Moldover handled the delicate base topic was so impressive.
This was an easy and enjoyable read for me, though it was emotional and made me sad and tear up at times. It was very moving. You don’t want to miss this one! It will tug at you heart strings and give you pause to think of the aftermath that leaves its mark long after such a tragedy occurs. 5/5.
I was given this book by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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