Everything After by Jill Santopolo
Publisher: Putnam • Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Jill Santopolo has become one of my favorite authors. Aside from shattering my heart while reading her books, I love her writing style because I feel the emotions her characters are going through. Everything After is a beautiful book, it’s heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time and it may be dethroning The Light We Lost as my favorite Santopolo book.
In college, Emily and her then boyfriend Rob performed in a band and were on their way to possible living their dream of making it big. But after an accident left Emily unable to play piano without being in pain, they go their separate ways. Years later, Emily is married to Ezra and working as a psychologist. When an opportunity arises for her to play the piano again, she realizes how much she loves music and misses that part of her life which causes a strain in her marriage. Also not helping is that she has reconnected with her ex who is now a famous musician. As Emily contemplates pursing a music career she has to figure out what she actually wants for her future.
The story is told in two parts, present day and through flashbacks from Emily’s journal entries that started in college and the story flows easily between the dual timelines. Emily’s struggle with what path she wanted her life to go on felt very raw and honest and my heart broke for her at times. Throughout the book I switched back and forth with whether I liked or hated Rob and Ezra because of their actions and how they treated Emily. I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted Emily to choose in the end, but I really enjoyed the ending and thought it was the best way to wrap up the book. I also I loved the Jewish representation in the book with both Emily and Ezra being Jewish and the subtle mentions throughout.
CW: Pregnancy loss