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Sixteen-year-old Skye Gilchrist knows what it means to live with loss. Her older brother Luka was killed in a school shooting that rocked her hometown of Riverside. Three years later, the community is still reeling and clinging to one another for support, but there’s no sympathy for the Gilchrists. That’s because Luka wasn’t a victim; he was the shooter.

"Although the premise is sensitive and controversial, the story is smart and well-constructed, with a plot twist ending that no one will see coming."

Skye is apprehensive about moving back to Riverside and going to school alongside the kids she grew up with. Everyone knows someone who was affected by the shooting, and no one is willing to let Skye forget her brother’s role in it. She’s prepared for the harassment and bullying she endures from her fellow students, but she isn’t prepared for the mysterious notes and freak accidents that follow her around Riverside Collegiate. It seems that someone is willing to go beyond rumors to force Skye out of Riverside, and they won’t stop until she’s out of their life…one way or another.

Is there more to the shooting than the police --- or anyone else --- knows? And can Skye figure out what it is before her stalker succeeds?

AFTERMATH is a thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats. Although it starts slow, the premise is interesting enough to draw you in and, when the action picks up, it is nonstop. I tore through the last few chapters, and couldn’t help feeling on edge as Skye and Jesse put more and more clues together.

One thing Kelley Armstrong does especially well in AFTERMATH is fake readers out. Throughout the book, Skye suspects many people of stalking her and having a role in the shooting. The suspects are each more plausible than the last, making the ultimate culprit even more surprising. Readers truly can’t trust anyone, and that’s what makes this book so exciting.

Even AFTERMATH’s supporting characters are vibrant. This book focuses a lot on the idea of change and how tragedy affects people’s personalities. Readers see the effect of the shooting not only on Skye but on the people around her, and how having answers can heal. Skye grows monumentally to the end of novel, and it’s fascinating to see how the move she thought was disastrous changes her into the person she was always supposed to be.

By turns romantic, emotional and suspenseful, AFTERMATH is a mystery story like no other. Although the premise is sensitive and controversial, the story is smart and well-constructed, with a plot twist ending that no one will see coming.

Reviewed by Maggie Dow on June 28, 2018

by Kelley Armstrong