Before the Ever After

Before the Ever After

Book - 2020
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ZJ's friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss that spell the end of his career.
Publisher: New York : Nancy Paulsen Books, [2020]
ISBN: 9780399545436
Branch Call Number: Ju F Woo


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DCLkids Nov 16, 2020

A Great Books for Great Kids pick 2020. ZJ's football star dad has become distant, angry and forgetful because of the head injuries he sustained during his career. ZJ must reconcile his new reality with the memories of his father, but do the glory days matter if his father can't remember them? Grades 4-6.

LPL_MaryW Oct 16, 2020

Jacqueline Woodson’s practiced hand gracefully pens the story of a son watching his father change with the seasons. A beloved professional football player, ZJ’s dad is sidelined when he suddenly begins to experience serious neurological issues. It’s hard for ZJ to understand why his dad’s excruciating headaches won’t let up, what he’s thinking as he stares out the window for hours, how he could possibly be unable to recognize his own son. ZJ hangs onto the memory of his dad by the strings of his guitar—when they sing or rap together, it’s just like it was before the ever after. A stunning story of the consequences of an American obsession, the audiobook beautifully read by Guy Lockard.

Oct 16, 2020

This new novel in verse from Jacqueline Woodson does not disappoint. Definitely one of my favorites and ranks right up there with "Brown Girl Dreaming" for me.

We come from the mountain, living on the mountain. Go back to the mountain, turn the world around.

Zachariah watches his once invincible father deal with CTE. He questions his own identity if his own father can't remember him. Wishes for "used to be" when his daddy was whole. Rejoices in the friendship of Ollie, Darry, and Daniel -- his boys. Writes songs for his daddy to sing with him on the good days. Watch this one. It is going to be an award winner, starting with the Newbery list in 2021.

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Sep 25, 2020

What to say? It's Jacqueline Woodson, so you know it's solid. My one minor almost-quibble... though the delicate, gut punch verse is perfect, I may have liked it more as prose. The characters were too good to let go of so quickly. I wanted more of their story.

Tigard_HollyCP Sep 11, 2020

Before: ZJ's daddy helped his team win the Super Bowl.
Ever After: ZJ's daddy's hands shake.
Before: ZJ's daddy gave him the nickname, Little Man.
Ever After: Sometimes ZJ's daddy doesn't even know who he is.
Before: ZJ's daddy encouraged him to do what he loves, no matter what it is.
Ever After: ZJ's dad erupts in anger over small things.

It's 1999 and 12-year-old ZJ is coming to grips with the knowledge that his Super Bowl winning dad, Zachariah 44, is not OK. He has had so many concussions and now his brain doesn't work like it used to. ZJ has his 3 best friends and his music to help him cope, but nothing can change the fact that he has lost the dad he knew as a little boy. This novel in verse takes place during the time when details were emerging of athletes suffering severe consequences as a result of multiple concussions but before there was even a name for it (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Very sad yet hopeful story written by #OwnVoices Black author, Jacqueline Woodson.


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