After the Fire by Will Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Moonbeam is 17 and her story is told in “before” and “after.” After: injured, in a hospital, locked in, and so many people with questions about what happened.
Before: her life with Father John, where outside was forbidden, and people knew their places. Hers: the life of a promised bride, one day to be one of wives of Father John.
And the Fire: and the guns and explosions and now Moonbeam is in the hospital and so many of her Brothers and Sisters, so many of the people she grew up with, are dead.
Before: jumps back and forth a bit in time to try to explain the before. To explain why her parents brought their baby and themselves to a world with so many rules and so many restrictions. To explain why she stayed, why her mother stayed, when things changed and others left.
And also: to explain her secret, what she doesn’t want others finding out.
I liked how even thought this life was all Moonbeam knew, these people were all she knew, something inside her led to her realize what was wrong with her life “before” and how she could make different choices now.
I liked how we saw, as Moonbeam saw, things that were positive and wonderful about her childhood…. But that we also realized, sometimes before Moonbeam did, that there were things wrong with how she was living, and things wrong with the people she loved.
As a grown up, I’m not entirely convinced by her parents’ actions, but I found myself with sympathy towards her mother, and forgiveness, and I hope that means Moonbeam finds that, also.
And I loved how understanding and sympathetic the hospital staff and doctors and even the police were.
And if its not clear from the above, this is a child raised in an isolated cult, and then there is a siege similar to what happened in Waco, and Moonbeam is the voice of one of the teens who made it out alive.
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