Woodson, Jacqueline. Before the Ever After. (2020). Nancy Paulsen Books.
Summary: ZJ is a boy who loves his father. He enjoys the games and family gatherings that accompany the professional football career that he has been exposed to all his life. He always felt on top and possessed a heart of gratitude about what his father Zachariah did for a living. The relationship takes a pivotal turn when his father encounters an onset of illnesses that lead to a diagnosis because of his career. ZJ is often confused and does not know how to interpret the signals or moods that he may experience with his father daily. ZJ refers to his father who he once saw as the world and how he wants to turn that world back around. How will ZJ cope with the ongoing challenges that have changed the lives of his family?
Strengths: Although, this heartfelt book has such a sad undertone the relationships are positive and interwoven throughout ZJ’s support system.
He has a healthy extended family and well-established friendships.
Weaknesses: The book moves quick and is such an easy read that you do not want it to end.
Thoughts: The “verse” style of this book is appealing for the tween reader. This a perfect storyline for those who aspire to be professional athletes. It provides a real perspective on just one of the many illness that often leaves lives unchangeable.