Saturday 26 March 2016

Review Time! (Yay!) - After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross

After Tomorrow Gillian CrossTitle: After Tomorrow

Author: Gillian Cross

Genre: Kids, Dystopian

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I wanted to read this because the premise seemed so relevant at the moment given the mass migration problems, and the amount of refugees coming into Europe right now.

I thought it would be interesting to see how the topic was handled - particularly in a kids' book - and I can remember reading a few Gillian Cross books when I was a kid, and finding them different to a lot of other stuff that's out there.

She's usually not afraid to look at things from a different angle - and we all need that every now and then.


Matthew and his little brother, Taco, make the dangerous journey across the channel to France, and a life away from the starvation and violent raids of the UK.

France, though? Not quite the new start they were hoping for.

Instead, they have the camp of Les Mondieux (or Lemon Dough, as it's known by the Brits,) and a whole new set of challenges to face.

Best bits:

The worrying thing about this book is that it's the location (leaving the UK,) that makes it dystopia: otherwise it would be contemporary.

This sort of thing is happening - right now, in Calais, people are living in The Jungle migrant camp, and hoping to find passage to the UK. People who, through no fault of their own, have had to leave their homes and everything they've ever known.

So the fantastic thing about this book is that we get to see the proverbial shoe on the other foot - these are British kids making the same desperate journey that thousands of kids are trying to make every single day.

This book is a great way of re-packaging a problem which no-one seems to want to own - making it more relatable and (hopefully) fostering more empathy and understanding.

I also appreciated that the parents didn't just sit there and do nothing - although they did have moments of uselessness, it was all pretty understandable within context. It's refreshing to see any kids book which allows parents to be parents and do their best for their kids.

Not so great bits:

Matthew - the character whose point of view we follow - is quite a blank character.

In some ways, this is good, because it allows the reader to react more naturally to the situations Matt finds himself in, and to imagine themselves and their own feelings in that situation. But I personally would've liked just a touch more depth to the character.

The plot was perhaps a little slow in places - but not really to any hugely noticeable degree.

I also found the dénouement (check me out with my fancy words! :P ) a bit less dramatic than I was expecting given the uber-dramatic build-up. 


A thought-provoking book shining light on a subject that needs to be talked about, in a way which is accessible to kids and adults alike.

It's probably suitable for kids around the age of 10+.

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  1. Dystopia? Seems right up my alley! It's my favourite genre because no two plots are the same or predictable. Great review!

    1. good point! :) I found it really interesting and realistic - and scarily plausible; it's only the fact that the kids are British that makes this dystopia rather than contemporary - if this were about kids from Syria, or Sudan, or Eritrea, then it *would* be contemporary.

  2. I have been seeing a few more books like this one publish where it really does relate to the issue of migration which is troublesome for a lot of people at the moment. You make this one sound so realistic and true to itself that I want to try it for myself. I have read a Gillian Cross book before and enjoyed it too, which makes me all the more excited.

    1. It was a really great book. I thought it was an amazingly fab way of showing the issues in a relatable light :)


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