The Afterwards

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       January 5, 2019


Author  A.F. Harrold. Illustrated: Emily Gravett

Distributor:      Bloomsbury Childrens Books
ISBN:                 9781408894316
Publisher:         Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Release Date:   November 2018  


December, ‘Ember’ and Happiness ‘Ness’ are the best of friends and when something so terrible happens to Ness, it leaves Ember wondering why, what happened and refusing to accept that Ness has gone – dying as a result of an accident in the park.

Ember pretends she is OK but can’t help the terrible feeling of sadness that seems to be everywhere. Her Dad does his best to help her understand, but no matter who tries to help her, Ember thinks that what happened to Ness was so unfair and perhaps, just perhaps, she can change things; bring Ness back again, back into her life.

Through her Uncle, who turns out to be a not so nice person, with his own agenda, Ember finds her way into a world that changes, shifts and terrifies, but as she is on a mission to bring Ness back, Ember defies what she is told, time and time again, placing herself in terrible danger.

AF Harold weaves the narrative so very well as he takes Ember into a world of shadows, the Afterworld, inhabited by some very unusual people and a Cat who is everything he seems not to be, as he illustrates the pathways despair and sadness can offer to travel.

Emily Gravett has added some beautifully surreal illustrations creating in visual form the overwhelming grief that is felt during a time of loss, and the eventual acceptance that friends, no matter what, will always be a part of you forever.

Presented in a hard cover with wrap around dust jacket The Afterwards is a story which helps make sense out of life’s only certainty. For anyone young or old, who has lost a beloved family member or friends, this is a wonderful, insightful and beautifully portrayed look at friendship, grieving and eventual acceptance.