Jun 24, 2013

Review: After Math by Denise Grover Swank

Title: After Math
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: 3.12.2013
Pages: 245
Genre: New Adult; Contemporary
Series: Off the Subject #1
Source: Finished copy at BEA

Rating: C-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?


That was my reaction when I finished After Math by Denise Grover Swank. And it wasn’t a swoony sigh I sometimes emit when I turn the last page of an epic book. It was the resigned sigh of a girl coming to grips with the fact that New Adult is quickly shifting from my favorite genre to my most frustration-inducing genre.

After Math is another new adult book. I found absolutely nothing to set this book apart from the pack. It was decent, yes, but there seemed to be no real plot save for a girl (Scarlett) ping-ponging back and forth between two guys. If you‘re going to give me yet another triangle, at least throw in a few vampires or werewolves for fun.

Scarlett is one of the blandest characters I’ve seen in a long time. She makes vanilla look spicy. I felt like Scarlett was a constant bystander in her own life. Everything happened to Scarlett. She was an introvert with social phobias, but her inner monologue was flat. She didn’t have any snarky, funny comebacks (even in her head).  I frequently felt like this book was an exercise in flipping pages. I kept waiting for Scarlett to wake up and it never materialized.

Her romantic interest (who is of course the campus all-star athlete complete with squealing female entourage he secretly loathes) was yet another new adult guy all too ready to use his fists when provoked. Seriously—did I just have the most mundane college campus around? Every new adult has the lead guy throwing punches when you look sideways at the girl he secretly loves but treats like crap himself. Use your words, people. Let’s dial back the testosterone.

The bright spot in this series is Caroline, Scarlett’s roommate and best friend. Caroline gave the story a much needed splash of color. I loved reading her, and I’m admittedly intrigued that the sequel to this book is Caroline’s story. Hopefully that will pull the series out of its slump.

Buy: Amazon 


  1. Ooh, bland is NOT good, in my books. It's bad enough when a person is a bystander in her own life but to have a character does...where's the story?

  2. "Use your words, people."

    Snort. I love you Hannah! I'm so bummed about this book, you know I had high hopes for it when I dragged you into this line, so I'm really disappointed the heroine is bland and we're given yet another love triangle. I'm having to be WAY pickier with the NA I'm picking up, otherwise I think the genre would drive me a bit crazy. I know there are some absolute gems out there, ones that made me fall in love in the first place, but lately there just seems to be so much of the same. I share your sigh:)

  3. I guess because I was already done with my college experience before the movie Fight Club really became a big thing? Is that why I didn't date a hot, dark, tormented fighter/ hot, golden rich boy fighter in college?

    At least your hands got a workout on the page flipping front. Also, why would Scarlett need to have a spicy personality? She's got the cool name and hot boys throwing down for her love, or throwing down because someone cuts in front of them at the movies, or throwing down because the keg's run dry...

  4. I can't stand a bad love triangle (you know what I mean, no reason to the madness) and I'm a character driven reader, so vanilla won't do! Too bad :(

  5. For some reason I quite enjoyed this one, a LOT more than other similar NA books. But I totally agree with you re: NA becoming frustrating. There is just too much CRAP and guys walking all over girls, and slut-shaming, and everything just being the SAME. I completely adore the idea of NA, but the reality of it is a disappointment.

    P.S. I read the sequel and I think I enjoyed it quite a bit more; at least it was a bit different.


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