Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong delivers spine-chilling thrills as a small town deals with the fallout of a school shooting. Secrets don't remain hidden for long in this read: perfect for fans of Kara Thomas's Darkest Corners and Lynn Weingarten's Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls.
Three years ago, Skye's brother Luka died in a mass shooting at the local high school. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim -- he was a shooter. Now, Skye returns to the small town she had fled to start anew. But the scars of the past don't heal easily. And there's one person Skye dreads seeing most: Jesse Matin. Her childhood crush and former best friend until the massacre tore them apart.
Told in alternating points of view, Skye and Jesse wade into the mystery of what took place that fateful day. But someone clearly doesn't want Skye back in town, and when she and Jesse uncover new evidence that could clear Luka's name, it becomes obvious that someone wants the past to stay buried. In the aftermath of violence, someone has to pay. Blood for blood.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes a mind-bending thriller that will have readers keeping the lights on.
About the author
When librarians finally granted Kelley Armstrong an adult card, she made straight for the epic fantasy and horror shelves. She spent the rest of her childhood and teen years happily roaming fantastical and terrible worlds, and vowed that someday she'd write a story combining swords, sorcery, and the ravenous undead. That story began with the New York Times bestselling Sea of Shadows and continues with Empire of Night.
Armstrong's first works for teens were the New York Times bestselling Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. She lives in rural Ontario with her husband, three children, and far too many pets.
- Winner, Snow Willow Award
Excerpt: Aftermath (by (author) Kelley Armstrong)
I will not say that the day Jesse Mandal asked me out was the best of my life. That’s silly, trite, foolish. But I was thirteen, which means I was all of those things. After school, I would have danced home, humming “Best Day Ever.” I’d have tweeted cryptic emojis of hearts and endless exclamation marks. I’d have lain in bed listening to All-Time Five sing about love, glorious love.
I was thirteen. I was that girl. But I didn’t dance home at the end of the day. I didn’t send any tweets. I never listened to ATF again. Because after that day, I’d never be that girl again.
The day started as my days had for the past year, no longer rising to my mom singing whatever song she can mangle my name into—“Good morning, Skye-shine,” or “The Skye will come up tomorrow.” I’d groan and bury my head under the pillow until she went off to do the same to my brother, Luka—who gets Suzanne Vega’s “Luka,” having been named after the song.
It was only when those wake-ups stopped that I realized how much I’d secretly loved them. Just like I’d loved her hot breakfasts, even when I complained that I could sleep in an extra twenty minutes if she’d let me grab a juice box and granola bar, like all my friends did.
That day I rise to the alarm moments before Luka raps on my door with, “Skye? You up?” He showers first—he’s sixteen and needs it more, and sometimes there’s no hot water anyway, if Mom forgot to pay the bill again. We both try to be quiet and not wake her. When Dad is away on business she’s rarely out of bed before noon, and in the past six months he’s been gone more than he’s been home.
I’m grabbing a juice box and bar when Luka says, “That is not a proper breakfast.”
“So you’ve said. Every morning.”
“That isn’t even real juice. You might as well drink soda.”
“Well, then . . .” I take a Coke from the fridge.
He plucks the can from my hand. “Sit. I’m making you scrambled eggs and toast.”
“You don’t have time.”
“I do. Isaac’s picking me up today. He’s borrowing his mom’s car and—”
A horn sounds outside. I arch my brows.
Luka’s cell pings with a text. He reads it and says, “Seriously?”
“That’s Isaac, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. He’s early. Something’s up. So important.” He rolls his eyes. “It always is with him.” He starts to type a response. “I’ll walk to school.”
“Then you’ll be late. And if we fight about it, we’ll wake Mom.”
He hesitates and then says, “Tomorrow, okay? I’ll cook for you tomorrow.”
“And I’ll drink real juice today. Just for you.”
He comes over and squeezes my shoulder. “You’re a good kid, Skye. Even when you try not to be.”
I stick out my tongue. He grins, grabs his backpack and jogs to the door.
"Master of suspense who offers a sensitive portrayal of a deeply caring Muslim family. Plus, she scared me silly!" --S. K. Ali, author of Saints & Misfits
"A powerful thriller that will surprise you at every turn." --Kirkus Reviews
"[An] absorbing, fast-paced thriller . . ." --Publishers Weekly
"Teens will be drawn to this story [with] its intense and satisfying climax." --School Library Journal
"An engaging read from beginning to end! Highly Recommended." --CM Magazine
"Strong character development, carefully laid clues, and well-played misdirections make this an absorbing read." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Armstrong’s crisp writing is replete with enough foreshadowing, cliffhangers and red herrings to keep readers hooked to the very end. A fast-paced and unnerving novel, Aftermath is a top-of-the-line read with nothing less than silver-screen potential." --BookPage
"Kelley Armstrong has created a strong reputation, and this novel will add to it.” --Resource Links
Other titles by Kelley Armstrong
Someone Is Always Watching
The Final Trial
Royal Guide to Monster Slaying, Book 4
A Rip Through Time
The Deepest of Secrets
A Rockton Novel
A Stranger in Town
A Rockton Novel
Shapers of Worlds Volume II
Science fiction and fantasy by authors featured on the Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers
The Serpent's Fury
Royal Guide to Monster Slaying, Book 3
Alone in the Wild
A Rockton Thriller (City of the Lost 5)