Review: After Us (Before & After #2) by Amber Hart

After Us (Before & After, #2)After Us (Before & After #2) by Amber Hart

Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Page Count: 368
Published by: K-Teen
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Inside her grows a tumor, fed by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own: a bullet wound, and the memory of a cousin shot in the heart. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin's murder. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

These two broken souls could make each other whole again - or be shattered forever. Our time will come. And we'll be ready.

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After Us is the second book in the Before & After series. It features Melissa and Javier, two secondary characters from the first book, Before You. I liked that After Us was told in dual POV in alternating chapters from Melissa and Javier. It made it easier to get to know both characters better and really helped me to understand their struggles. It was easy to see how Melissa suffered by holding her secrets in and trying to deal with things on her own. And Javier's need for revenge played a big part in the story. I found myself really interested in the trouble Javier found himself in, and I couldn't wait to see how it was resolved.

I didn't like the love story as much as I did in the first book. It felt a little forced and unrealistic to me. I could totally understand why they needed each other so much. But with the lack of honesty between them, I don't see how they could have true commitment and a trusting relationship.

My main problem with this story was that both protagonists were whiny and bitter - which made it so darn difficult to like them. I wanted to feel more for them, and I wanted them to bring out my compassion (which I have a LOT of!) but it just wasn't happening.

Overall, this isn't a bad story by any means, and I did find it enjoyable enough. I so badly wanted them both to have some sort of resolution and be able to move on with their lives, and I think that was accomplished by the end. Although I felt that the ending came about too quick and neat to leave me completely satisfied.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Maybe Me, which features Javier's younger sister Maria. I can't wait to find out how Javier and Maria's mother will react when another one of her children gets into a relationship with an American.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
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