Series: Off The Subject #1
Publisher: Createspace on March 10, 2013
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Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.
Before she agreed to tutor Tucker Price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.
After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him. Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.
But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?
“‘The thing about rules is that they can keep you safe, but box you in so you can’t truly live life. We’ll have to find a way to meet in the middle.’”
My Musings: There are many books out there that make you feel things. Feel anger, feel sorrow, feel happiness. Denise Grover Swank’s After Math did just that for me. Swank crafted an exceptional novel full of emotion, healing, and pain.
This novel is truly one of the best indie books that I have read. The writing was eloquent and flowed perfectly. The writing itself was descriptive, and that paired with a fantastic plot was the recipe for success. I enjoyed what the book covered: anxiety, depression, and letting go of the past. All of the thoughts and feelings of the characters regarding those topics were realistic in a way that you don’t see much in New adult writing, especially when the author themselves haven’t gone through it. The believability of this novel was sheer amazing. I had no doubt that this could have happened in the actual past.
The thing that stood out most to me about this novel was the deep development of the characters. These characters had so much to them, making them unique in their own ways. Scarlett was a great female lead. She was shy, suffered from anxiety, and had the drive to make something out of herself, as she was coming from not so good roots. There was nothing that I disliked about her character. I was truly rooting for her in her struggle against her anxiety, and I’m glad that things played out the way that they did, and she was able to overcome some aspects of the anxiety that was controlling her life.
I also really enjoyed Tucker’s character. I think that he is the most vulnerable male character that I have read in some time. Under the façade that he put on for the university, he had troubles of his own that were just as bad as Scarlett’s. It was heartwarming to see him work through the scars left by his past and to realize what he truly wanted from life. That’s what I loved about the relationship between Scarlett and Tucker. They complemented each other perfectly. It wasn’t insta-love, and it wasn’t insta-lust. Their relationship was based solely off of their personalities and their inner self. They were able to get though each other’s defenses and help each other face their inner demons, and that alone may be what made this novel so good. I have read a lot of realistic romances, but this one has surpassed them by far.
I also enjoyed the supporting characters of this novel. Caroline was a very supportive character who really cared for Scarlett. She took on the older sister, protective role, which as endearing to see. She, like Scarlett, did not come from very good roots, and she was determined to protect her best friend. It was sweet to see their reactions with one another, and I cannot wait to read about her adventures in Redesigned. Tina was another great character. Although we did not experience that much depth in her character as Caroline, you could tell that she really cared about Scarlett as well. She was more the fun friend who wanted to break Scarlett out of her shell. Daniel was a character that I did not like. He seemed fishy to me from the very start, and I did not like him interacting with Scarlett. He got exactly what he deserved. And finally, Jason, Tucker’s brother. I really didn’t like him all that much. He seemed controlling and mean. But there were times when we saw some real geniality, and I would love to learn more about his character. I feel as if there is much more to him and his actions.
The other thing that I loved about this novel was the title. I found the parallels between the title and the actual story very interesting and ironic. But you’ll see once you read the story for yourself!
After Math was a amazing novel has wormed its way into my heart and my favorites list. Swank has created a novel that explores the hardships of those suffering from their pasts, but also shows the hope that can come with love. After Math was a truly relatable and sweet story that I’m sure you’ll love as much as I did.