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Review: Hereafter by Kate Brian

Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique-including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.

But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again.

The key to any relationship is trust; whether it’s romantic or friendly, trust is what holds two people together. When you are forced to remove yourself from a familiar environment and become acquainted with new people who could possibly be relationship worthy, you become more cautious and aware of your surroundings. Rory Miller is faced with the inability to trust anyone on Juniper Landing because there are too many unanswered questions and unanswered occurrences that she cannot explain. The mysterious bridge that is never used, the ominous fog that rolls in on random occasions, and most of all the clique of beautiful people who seem to be watching her every move. 

Rory begins to feel at home with the ability to spend quality time with her father and sister without encountering the fear of a serial killer or a home with memories of her deceased mother at every turn. Juniper Landing seems to be the new place to call home, have a fresh start, and meet new faces who can become trustworthy of a relationship. During her time at Juniper Landing, along comes Tristan, the physically perfect, yet mysteriously witty boy who Rory cannot seem to stay away from. He is willing to tell her the truth, but the real question is will she truly believe him? Can she deal with more haunting secrets to keep away from her family and only to herself? The problem with finding out the truth and finding you can trust the person who delivers the truth is that you are not sure you are going to be able to accept what you hear once and for all. 

As I dove into the sequel to Shadowlands, I realized that Rory’s journey of discovery on Juniper Landing is similar to a teenage woman looking to find her true self in an environment full of strangers. Of course the consequences Rory is about to learn may be worth more than her own life, but that does not stop her from truly attempting to take a step back and appreciate her family and what little she has left of her previous life. I enjoy a book that is able to take a common concept that everyone believes they know the answer to and turn the logic into a sense of natural debate. There isn’t much in life that is absolutely certain, and the ability to debate an important issue while learning more about yourself and your strengths is quite rewarding. 

Kate Brian’s sequel to this new and endearing series is an excellent portrayal of dramatic form mixed with pure logic. There is nothing certain, absolute, or impossible in these books, but rather the possibilities are endless for Rory and her family. This may seem as a bit of a stretch to a curious new reader, but Brian captivates her readers with the ability to making the book a constant page turner while consciously reflecting on their own personal experiences and what truly makes you, you. 

Reviewed by Nicole Williams  

Book Information
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: 10/1/2013
Pages: 320

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