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Afterlove by Tanya Byrne - Review

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Where did I get it? I bought it in Waterstones a few weeks ago, as you can tell by the sticker. I follow Tanya on Twitter and have been intrigued by the premise of the book for ages, so I knew I wanted to get it soon. 

What's it about? Ashana is sixteen and goes to school in Whitehawk, Brighton. She has her best friend, Adara, and her family - Mum and dad and her sister Rosh. Mum is an A&E nurse and Dad works as a gardener. Rosh loves books. Ash is gay, and is out to Adara, and to her mum, and I think to Rosh, but she knows that her mum disapproves and isn't sure if her mum has told her dad. Ash has kissed girls, but they always end up ghosting her or otherwise breaking her heart. 

Then on a school trip Ashana meets Poppy. Poppy goes to Roedean school and lives in a huge house. The two start a relationship, and the first half of the book is the two of them falling in love and getting to know each other through jaunts round Brighton and a trip to London. Poppy is bright and beautiful and it's easy as a reader to see why Ash falls for her. 

But right at the beginning of the book we see Ash as a grim reaper, so we know she's going to die. And she does. In the After. I absolutely LOVED the last night she spent with Poppy and the way she's confused when she's first dead. The legend is that the last person who dies on New Year's Eve becomes the reaper for teens who died like they did, in the area. Ash meets Dev and Esen and Deborah and has to come to terms with being dead. But she's desperate to see Poppy again... 

What age range is it for? 14 plus 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, both Ash and Poppy are gay. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Ash's family is Indo-Guyanese, which I really liked, I liked the cultural depiction of Ash's family. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? I don't think so, although Ash's dad has been ill. It's not mentioned much. 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, it's lovely but not graphic 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No I don't think so. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, obviously, and it is somewhat graphic 

Are there swear words? Yes, I loved this actually, it was very real. 


What criticisms do I have? Having thought about it, my only criticisms are as an adult reader of the book, and I don't think that's fair. It's a very good YA novel. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? Just because I bought it recently and wanted to read it. 


What do I think of the cover? It's absolutely gorgeous! It's foiled too, so pretty. 


What other books is it like? I'm drawing a blank, sorry 

How many stars? Four out of five


Where is the book going now? I'll keep it!

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