Reviewed by Michelle Baker
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?
Link to After Math on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/book/
After Math was difficult for me to relate to right away, as the main character is a math major. I despise math. Math and I mix like oil and water. That conflict aside, I could totally relate to almost everything else about Scarlett. I don’t come from a broken home, I don’t suffer from a debilitating anxiety disorder, and I don’t love math, but I found something inherently relatable about her anyway. She is flawed and doesn’t pretend to be something that she’s not, and she accepts that she is who she is. Sure, just like any of us, there are things about herself that she’d like to change, but for the most part, she seems to like herself.
Enter Tucker: male protagonist extraordinaire. I had several issues with Tucker almost immediately. He’s oh my gosh, SO gorgeous!, a slut, and a jerk – yet Scarlett falls for him anyway. She’s a smart girl, and she knows he’s bad for her and not a nice guy, but she ignores all of her friends and winds up falling head over heels for him. This seemed strange to me– but not as strange as how her anxiety disorder, which was really bad at the beginning of the book – somehow becomes a plot device that falls by the wayside.
While I was disappointed at some stereotypical situations and seemingly forgotten issues, I still enjoyed reading about the progression of the relationship between Scarlett and Tucker. It’s easy to like Scarlett, and I found myself rooting for her throughout the entire book. I enjoyed seeing the growing connection between two young adults who are flawed, broken individuals, because I could understand that they used their brokenness to connect.
The only major issue that I really had with the novel was the ending. It really felt to me like the author had poured her heart and soul into the first two-thirds of her writing, but then (rather suddenly) decided that she was tired of writing and was ready for it to be over. Those of you who enjoy angst-ridden stories with happy endings will really enjoy it and probably not have the issue I had with it.
All in all, After Math was a well-written book that was easy to read. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not going to be one of those books that I feel compelled to read over and over again.