Before the Ever After

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ZJ’s father is a famous NFL star running back, one of the best in the business, but lately things at home have been changing. Dad isn’t playing in every game anymore or going to practice regularly. Sometimes he seems to forget where he is or who he is with. And he has terrible headaches. When he has those, the room must be dark and the house quiet. ZJ’s mama is clearly worried, though she tries to put ZJ at ease. But some days, Dad is just Dad, and he tosses the ball to ZJ and his friends and talks about getting back in the game. ZJ’s friends Daniel, Darry, and Ollie always have his back. It’s a good thing, too, because every day his dad seems further from the person he used to be.

This takes a heartbreaking look at the devastation Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has on not only the person with CTE but on their family members and friends. Jacqueline Woodson has written a powerful and important story, beautifully rendered in verse, that will educate young readers without them ever knowing they are learning. This deserves readership well beyond its intended MG audience. Don’t miss it.


Reviewed By:

Author Jacqueline Woodson
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 176 pages
Publisher Nancy Paulsen Books
Publish Date 2020-Sep-01
ISBN 9780399545436
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2020
Category Tweens
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