What Comes After by Steve Watkins
Publisher: Candlewick
Released Date: April 12, 2011
Hardcover: 334 Pages
Rating: 5/5
Abandoned first by her abusive mother and then by her father when he dies, 16-year-old Iris Wight is no stranger to loss. Family friends initially agree to care for her, but problems soon force Iris to leave her home in Maine to live with relatives in North Carolina. Life with her angry aunt and dangerous cousin quickly proves more than she can handle. Before Iris’ arrival, her aunt’s abusive behavior was focused on the farm animals, but as Iris begins to protest the inhumane treatment of the goats, her aunt’s cruelty shifts toward her. The violence culminates in a horrific beating that lands Iris in the hospital and her aunt and cousin in jail, leaving Iris to navigate yet another change. She must learn to wade through the foster-care system and deal with animosity at school while trying to find a way to care for her beloved goats left back at the farm. While never gratuitous, violence is pervasive; difficult scenes include one that graphically describes a goat being bludgeoned to death, which may prove to be a turn-off for some readers. Watkins displays his expertise as he creates a heroine who is broken and yet refuses to stay down. Secondary characters are equally well-developed and engaging. Beautifully written, this story is an unflinching look at the cruelty of life as well as the resilience of the human spirit.

My Thoughts

What Comes After by Steve Watkins is a great novel, yet extremely sad. You’ll be heartbroken, but there is hope!

What Comes After tells a story of a girl named Iris, whose father passed away and her mother who left at a very young age. When Iris’ father has passed away, she had to go and live with her Aunt Sue and cousin Book.

This is where the story begins, when Iris has to live with her relatives, her remaining family. I really enjoy Iris’ character because I feel like many people are able to relate to her as a person. She is sweet, caring, and an animal lover! She really does all she can to help her Aunt Sue and cousin Book out with the animals they have even though they mistreat her.

It is extremely sad to be mistreated and abused by anybody. Being abused by family is even harder to accept. Iris’ job when she lives with her Aunt Sue and cousin Book is to help them with the animals they have. She has duties such as, milking the goats and help make goat cheese to sell at the farmer’s market. When Iris sees how they are abusing the animals, she had to do something about it and she did in which she angered her remaining family. Aunt Sue and cousin Book went to jail for that and Iris went off to live with caring people.

Although Iris had to leave the animals and live with her foster parents, she disobeys authority and goes and takes care of the animals. She could not abandon the animals because she loved them so much. I really like her determination in taking care of these animals even though the animals were not hers. She is a strong and caring girl. I really admire her even though she went through so much. I feel deeply hurt that someone can abuse a girl like her. It really breaks my heart.

What Comes After is truly a great and heartbreaking novel! This is a must read!

Purchase your copy on Amazon!

Source: {Teen} Book Scene, Author, Publisher.



2 comments
Posted on: May 18th, 2011
This post is filed under: Book Review



  1. Anna

    May 19th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I extremely dislike child abuse or any abuse of any kind. It's just wrong! This book seems interesting and I might pick it up. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Cecily

    May 20th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Iris sounds like a charitable person even though she is abused. Hoping to pick up this book. Thanks for the review!




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Hello! My name is Ivy and I am the book blogger behind Ivy Reads. Ivy Reads was opened on November 8, 2010.

I am a college student reading YA Fiction and some Fiction. I am an avid reader and is known as a bookworm.

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