Book Review: The After Girls by Leah Konen

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Best friends, Sydney, Ella, and Astrid, had high hopes for the summer after their senior year of high school , but when Astrid is found dead from an overdose, Ella and Sydney are left to pick up the pieces and try to move on with their lives. Not only are Ella and Sydney left with so many unanswered questions, but they are also left to wonder if they ever really knew Astrid, at all. When Ella starts getting cryptic messages from Astrid, she wonders if she is really dead or if someone is playing tricks with her head. Sydney, on the other hand, feels responsible for her friend’s death and doesn’t know how to cope emotionally. As summer moves forward, and college becomes reality, the girls wonder if their lives will ever be normal again.

I wish I could say The After Girls, Leah Konen’s debut novel, is now one of my favorite books, but I can’t. I had high hopes for this book, but it didn’t move fast enough for me. The plot kept getting thicker, but then nothing was resolving itself in a timely manner. At one point I thought the book was going to turn into a series, because it was nearing the end and it hadn’t started to wrap itself up, but luckily, that isn’t the case.

When I first read the synopsis of The After Girls, I thought, “Oh, this sounds kind of like Pretty Little Liars, I’ll read it!” But instead of being LIKE Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, it basically IS Pretty Little Liars, but with different characters. I kept picturing the girls from the Pretty Little Liars TV show, as the characters in the book, and couldn’t get my mind away from them. This was unfortunate because I kept thinking that the good guys were the bad guys and vice versa.

I almost stopped reading this The After Girls twice: once when I first started reading it, and once about halfway through, I even read two books between the time I started this book and finished it. But in the end, I’m glad I finished it. The ending was not what I expected at all. I had all of these ideas of who did what, and I was dead wrong, no pun intended.

Even though I didn’t love the book, I did like the characters, especially Sydney and Ella. Sydney is in a band and is a part of an awkward love triangle with her band mates. She plays violin and is hoping to become famous with her band. Sydney’s band sounded really cool and I think if they were real, I would go see them play. Ella works in a coffee shop, but not Starbucks, and I enjoyed the coffee shop scenes; it reminded me of the good times I had working at Starbucks, and all of the hustle and bustle. Ella also becomes a part of an awkward love triangle between her high school boyfriend and Astrid’s estranged cousin.

If you like mysteries and can get over the fact that this storyline is way too similar to Pretty Little Liars, then the The After Girls by Leah Konen is worth reading. If you haven’t read or watched PLL, then I think you will definitely like this book, as well.  If I hadn’t invested so much time into PLL, then I definitely would have enjoyed The After Girls a lot more. For a debut novel, Leah Konen does a good job at creating likeable characters and an interesting storyline; who knows, maybe she’s a huge PLL fan, as well.

I was given an ARC e-book of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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