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  • Mandy McHugh

After You Died, Dea Poirier: A Review

I love Dea Poirier's writing, and when I saw this was available for request, I quickly did just that and was thrilled to be approved. Solid title, beautiful working cover, I quickly dove in.

When Asher is found guilty of murdering his best friend/almost girlfriend Olivia, he's sent to Dozier, a reform school with a nefarious reputation. He wants to believe he's innocent, but he has no memory of that night. His sleep is plagued by horrible dreams, and as he dives into therapy trying to remember what happened, his grip on reality slips. With Sayid at his side, he hopes to survive Dozier, if only to find out the truth--a feat, he realizes, that becomes more dangerous than anything he could have anticipated. I really enjoyed this book. Asher is a wonderful narrator. Unreliable yet endearing, you root for him as he fights through his days. You assume his innocence because of his love for Olivia, and when the memories get murky, perhaps unearthing truths he may not want to hear, you're just as tormented by the revelations. His relationship with Sayid is probably my favorite aspect of this book. The intimacy and trust-building, it is impossible not to get wrapped up in their unrequited moments. Poirier also does an amazing job with the setting. Dozier, the outskirts of swampy Florida, becomes its own character, loaded and unstable. Ominous, and it makes for excellent atmospheric suspense. And even though this is set during the Vietnam War, you wouldn't know that. The writing is timeless, the characters stand on their own without markers of eras. It is removed, its own time and space, and this really goes a long way in tying the parallel storylines together. Overall, After You Died is a twisty, fast-paced, gruesome read and an excellent introduction to what should be a thrilling series. Brutal and beautiful, you want this book in your life. Thank you to Agora/Polis Books and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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