Publish Date/Publisher: 2016/Merit Press
Format: ARC (kindly provided by author)
Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad’s a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte’s twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life–the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.
Most authors that write about such touchy subjects usually portray them in a fantasized, bright way. But Kensie portrayed this deep subject perfectly. Everything down to the choice of words made Aftermath great. I was gripped right from the start.
The characters were so deeply written, each having such a great backstory. Our main character Charlotte, was such a unique character to read the story through. Charlotte’s sister, Alexa (or Lex,) kept the story running through her actions and love for Charlotte. Each character had such great character development, making the plot very strong. All of the characters were very important towards the plot, and Kensie was magnificent in showing that.
The plot started out very strong, but wavered a bit towards the end. In some chapters I couldn’t really tell the direction of the plot, and some things were thrown into the story that were hard to believe. That being said, in the places where the plot was strong, the story was very enjoyable and fast-paced. I had so many different emotions while reading this book, and I’m pretty sure on some pages the ink is smudged from my tears.
I really enjoyed Aftermath and the story inside. It was filled with great characters, strong character development, and a good plot. Aftermath was a book about overcoming the past, and living life to the fullest. The ending was beautiful and I was extremely happy with the outcome of the book. Clara Kensie had such a powerful message to send, and she did it perfectly. I recieved amazing values from this book, and I hope other readers will too.
Four out of five stars to Aftermath by Clara Kensie.
Interview with Clara Kensie!
1. In your acknowledgments, it says you’ve wanted to write this story since you were 12. What gave you the idea to write such a powerful story about such a dark subject?
When I was twelve, a girl my age, from my neighborhood, disappeared on her way home from school. I knew about stranger danger and all that, but until then, I never really believed bad things could happen in my safe, suburban town to girls like me. It was the first time I truly felt unsafe and vulnerable. But I knew that the fear I was feeling was nothing compared to the terror the missing girl must be feeling.
Fortunately, she was found a few days later. She’d been kidnapped by a man who lived a few blocks away, and he kept her locked in a corner of his crawlspace. Following a lead, the police had searched the man’s house, even going into the crawlspace, but the girl’s captor had terrorized her so much that she was too scared to call for help, and the police didn’t see her. They came back later to search the crawlspace again, and she finally found the courage to cry out to them.
The girl and her family moved away soon after her rescue, and I never learned what became of her. But I never forgot about her. I made up a story about her recovery, and that story became Aftermath. I’ve thought of her often over the years. I want to know how she survived, how she recovered, what kind of impact the experience had on her and her family. I became fascinated with the subject of recovery from traumatic events – so much so that in college, I majored in psychology, sociology, and social services, with a minor in criminal justice. Triumph over tragedy is a frequent theme in the books I write.
Although that girl’s experience inspired Aftermath, the book isn’t her story. Aftermath is Charlotte’s story. Charlotte is kidnapped just before her twelfth birthday and escapes when she’s sixteen. The book starts with her escape and follows her journey to recovery, as well as her family’s.
Wow. It is great that an experience like that inspired Aftermath.
2. If Aftermath becomes a movie, which actors/actresses could you see playing the main characters?
Ooo, this will be fun! Let’s see.
• Angelina Jolie as the mom, Vickie.
• Bradley Cooper as the dad, Cory.
• Delroy Lindo as Detective Lindo (hey, that worked out perfectly!)
• Blythe Danner as Dr. Goldbloom
• Chris Cooper as the Keeper (sorry, Mr. Cooper!)
• For Charlotte and Alexa– hmmm. I had to do some digging on this one. The protagonist, Charlotte, and her sister, Alexa, are identical twin sisters. I found some actresses who are identical twin sisters, but none were the right age. Until I discovered Amanda and Rachel Pace! They are the perfect age to play Charlotte and Alexa, and they look how I imagine the characters to look, too: dark hair, blue eyes. So for the Aftermath movie, I would cast…
o Amanda Pace as Charlotte
o Rachel Pace as Alexa
All of those actors and actresses are amazing! Delroy Lindo is totally who I imagined as Detective Lindo while reading Aftermath.
3. Aftermath covers a topic that is relevant to our time today and is very touchy to some people. What was the hardest part about writing this topic?
I was very careful to handle the subject in a manner that was tactful and not gratuitous. The hardest part was striking a balance between being painting a truthful picture about what happened in the attic while not being too graphic. My readers are smart. They will understand what happened without needing explicit details.
4. What question do you wish someone would ask about Aftermath, that hasn’t been asked?
“Do you think your readers will be surprised that Aftermath is so different from your Run to You series?”
My answer: Yes, I do think they will be surprised that Aftermath is a different genre than Run to You! My Run to You series (Deception So Deadly and Deception So Dark) is a super-romantic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies, and danger. There are psychic powers. And action. And adventure. And a romance that will make you swoon. Aftermath is a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines contemporary about a girl’s recovery from abduction, rape, and captivity.
BUT. Run to You and Aftermath share many elements:
• The protagonist in both books is a teenage girl who finds the strength within herself to overcome a tragedy.
• Both books are categorized as YA but have crossover appeal for both the teen and adult audiences.
• Both books have a mystery.
• Both books have knock-your-socks-off plot twists that the reader won’t see coming.
• Both books will make you cry.
• Both books explore the complex dynamics of dysfunctional families, the meaning of home, and the significance of being called by your own name.
I hope my Run to You fans will give Aftermath a try, and vice versa! I think they’ll love both books.
I am now very interested in your Run to You series because I adored Aftermath.
5. If you could spend time with only one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be, and what would you do?
Oh boy. Hmm. Tough one. It would have to be Tessa, the heroine of my Run to You series. The Run to You books were the first books I ever wrote. Writing Tessa’s story taught me how to write and how to get published. Tessa’s story won me one of the industry’s most prestigious awards, the RITA© Award for Best First Book. Tessa and I went through a lot together, both good and bad. I love Aftermath’s Charlotte, but I have such a strong connection to Tessa that I feel she’s an extension of myself.
What would we do during this time together? Honestly, I think I’d just like to talk with Tessa, maybe have a chat as we take a walk in the park (Tessa would like to go for a run, but I hate running, so…). I’d tell her about winning the RITA. I’d tell her that I want to continue the series and write more adventures for her and Tristan, and for the secondary characters in the series. I’d tell her I wish that she were real.
•Cake or ice cream? Ice cream
•What are you currently reading? SCARS by Cheryl Rainfield. Amazing and powerful.
•Favorite movie? Strictly Ballroom
•Floppy paperbacks or hardcovers? Doesn’t matter, I like both equally
•Can you describe your clothing style in three words? Jeans, hoodies, Converse
Excellent interview questions, Bridget! Thanks for having me on your blog!
Thank you Clara! I loved having you on my blog, and I hope all of you pick up Aftermath once it releases later this year! Before gou leave, make sure to check out Clara Kensie’s bio and all of her social media links!
…don’t forget to breathe…
Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.
Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her RUN TO YOU series is a super-romantic psychic thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies, and danger. The RUN TO YOU series was named an RT Magazine Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Book One, DECEPTION SO DEADLY, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book. Her next book is AFTERMATH, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines contemporary thriller in the tradition of ROOM and THE LOVELY BONES, releasing November 15, 2016 from Merit Press.
Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.
Find Clara online: