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Life, After
Life After
Author: Sarah Littman
After a terrorist attack kills Dani’s aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina?private school, a boyfriend, a loving family?crumbles quickly. In order to escape a country that is sinking under their feet, Dani and her family move to the United States. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, but when you’re living in a cramped apart...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780545151443
ISBN-10: 0545151449
Publication Date: 7/1/2010
Pages: 288
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

5 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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GeniusJen avatar reviewed Life, After on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman truly echoes the world today. Dani is a survivor in more ways than one. She has known the loss of losing a loved one in a terrorist attack. She has experienced the economic collapse of her country and felt its effect on her own family. She knows what it's like to be a stranger in a new place. It seems that each of us today has personal knowledge of at least one of these life-changing events.

Dani was born and raised in Argentina. Her life began to change in 1994 when her aunt and unborn cousin were killed in a terrorist attack on a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires. Since then the economy of Argentina has hit an all-time low. Now, her father's clothing store has folded (no pun intended) leaving him depressed and unable to work. Dani tries to take care of the cooking, cleaning, and looking after her little sister, while her mother works to keep food on the table. Life is full of stress.

As many of Dani's friends leave the country in search of more opportunity, she begins to wonder if they might move, as well. Her mother pleads daily with Dani's father to accept an offer of help from a relative living in New York. After another frightening display of political unrest, he is finally convinced, and the family heads to America.

The move may offer more security for her family, but for Dani, the tiny, cramped apartment, a strange new language, and the huge high school she is forced to attend are almost more than she can handle. Making friends is not as easy as she had hoped, so school fills her with anxiety; plus, when she returns home each day, she has to face an increasingly depressed and angry father. Wanting to make life easier for her hard-working mother is the only thing that keeps Dani from exploding with frustration.

Finally, an unpleasant encounter with a school bully allows Dani to discover that there are others who suffer silently. Dani's view of her own circumstances changes when she learns that a fellow classmate lost her father in the 9/11 tragedy. Together, they discover when one has enough love and support; life can once again be filled with joy.

Author Sarah Darer Littman tells Dani's story in an honest, straight-forward voice. I felt emotionally connected to the family as they struggled to make their way through tough times. Littman is able to communicate the love and concern Dani has for her mother and younger sister, as well as the uncomfortable love/hate relationship she has with her suffering father.

As I turned the pages, I found myself wanting to offer advice and encouragement as Dani searched for ways to understand all the changes surrounding her. Teens will definitely be able to relate to both the story and the characters of LIFE, AFTER.
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maurak avatar reviewed Life, After on + 16 more book reviews
Sarah Darer Littman's "Life, After" is a wonderful read for middle grades, upper elementary, and high school readers, touching on universal themes of resilience, adaptation, courage, and friendship while specifically tackling the aftermath of terrorism through the lens of a teenage girl whose childhood was upended by a terrorist attack.

The challenges facing Dani's family after her aunt is killed in a terrorist attack, coupled with the collapse of the economy in Argentina, are skillfully and subtly interwoven with the story of a two teenagers in the U.S. adapting to the loss of their father in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Littman effectively arouses the reader's curiosity about unique situations only briefly touched upon: the plight of the Jewish population in Argentina, resettlement of Argentine Jews in Israel, and anti-Jewish terrorism in Argentina. Dani's circumstances are unusual, yet Littman successfully creates a character who teenagers can easily relate to, whose struggles with communicating with her parents and maintaining a relationship with her boyfriend will be familiar to most teens.

The greatest strength of the book is its ability to enjoyably help to develop a reader's empathy toward recent immigrants to the U.S., those learning English, people whose circumstances are reduced by large-scale economic downturns, and people living with autism. Littman vividly depicts scenes of teenage bullying and shows the courage of a bystander without seeming preachy or didactic. The teenage romances in the novel are believable and enjoyable, and the development of friendships is heartwarming and inspiring. Highly recommended.