Published: April 8, 2014
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.
When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.
Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought.
After the Storm is the story of Ella who has recently decided to change her ways and with new town and friends nothing could be better. Ella is trying to start fresh, after her mothers death she realized how awful she was to her family and is now trying to be the person she knows she can be. She starts school and is hoping no one finds out about her past. In the process she becomes friends with River and Sadie who themselves are far from the “in” crowd.
Ella and Sadie become fast friends but soon Ella realizes Sadie has issues of her own. Sadie is dealing with her family and classmates who can’t or won’t except her for who is she. Meanwhile Ella and River have a budding romance and Ella is at odds as to how to deal with it. She has never had a “real” boyfriend, she just used to hook up with guys but doesn’t know how to really date. River is a nice guy who likes Ella for who she is and is willing to take things slow in order for Ella to sort things out.
This book although is a standalone does have characters from Waiting for the Storm, Marie Landry’s previous novel. I was able to read that novel last year and I must say it was one of favorites. The characters are real and flawed which I loved. It deals with real issues and I think people can identify with. I also enjoyed that Ella has owned up to her mistakes and doesn’t put the blame on others. She knows what she has done and is trying to make things right. I also love how she is trying to mend her relationship with her family.
Overall I really enjoyed this read. It’s a wonderful story of family and mending. It’s about learning to love yourself and knowing that your past should not dictate your future. I highly recommend both Waiting for the Storm and After the Storm, two awesome books from a talented writer.