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Sweet, Hereafter (2010)

by Angela Johnson

Series: The Heaven Trilogy (3)

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1275214,974 (3.75)None
Sweet leaves her family and goes to live in a cabin in the woods with the quiet but understanding Curtis, to whom she feels intensely connected, just as he is called back to serve again in Iraq.
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Sweet or Shoogy left home or was kicked out by her parents because no one really understands her. But Curtis does. She doesn’t really like school and she and Curtis like to be alone together. This is the third part of a trilogy, Heaven (1998) and The First Part Last (2003), but it is not entirely necessary to read the earlier books, though some of the same characters show up in this installment. Curtis lives in a small cabin on the shores of Lake Erie away from the town of Heaven and he is in the Army Reserves having served one tour of duty in Iraq. He is also in college and has books lining the walls of the cabin. He does not want to go back to Iraq and may have gone AWOL and the tragic ending is foreshadowed by the Prologue. As Sweet and Curtis fall in love, she struggles to give him space but cannot figure out how to help him. The story unfolds slowly with beautiful, evocative prose but despite its short length will not appeal to reluctant readers. It is more appropriate for sophisticated readers who like ambiguity and cryptic, spare writing. Buy this if Heaven and The First Part Last are popular in your library. Positive review in Booklist and starred Kirkus. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
Called the third volume in the Heaven trilogy, but it's not really a trilogy. It's three separate books, unrelated apart from sharing characters; but the main characters in the other books are extremely minor characters in this one.
Sweet, also knows as Shoogy, has left home to get away from her parents, and moved in with Curtis, a young man who is an Iraqi war veteran. He's kind, quiet, gentle, and more than anything else, doesn't want to go back to war again. This book doesn't have a plot particularly, nor is it episodic. It feels more like Sweet is just sharing her random thoughts. We feel like we get to know her pretty well as the book goes along, but the reader is never wondering what will happen next, because there isn't a real story line. That would be problematic in a longer book, but at barely over 100 pages, it works. ( )
  fingerpost | Nov 13, 2019 |
No shred of authenticity. Completely disjointed. Goes nowhere. ( )
  valorrmac | May 15, 2018 |
Though I've read the two previous novels in the Heaven trilogy, Sweet, Hereafter works perfectly well as a standalone (as do Heaven, and The First Part Last). "Sweet" is just as poetic and real as any Angela Johnson novel, from behaviors and reactions of the characters, to their idiosyncrasies and emotions. The inclusion of Marley, and Bobby and Feather is a nice touch, something more for the fans than anything else.
Shoogy's story is no doubt touching, and readers will have been moved to their core by the final line in Sweet, Hereafter. ( )
  PaperbackPropensity | Sep 26, 2013 |
Sweet Hereafter is the final book of the Heaven trilogy. In Sweet Hereafter Shoogy leaves home for unclear reasons and stops communicating with her family. She moves into a cabin in the woods with Curtis, her former neighbor. Curtis recently returned to Ohio from Iraq where he served in the armed forces. He does not often speak about Iraq but the impact of this experience is evidenced by nightmares which cause him to wake screaming. Shoogy is frustrated by the world and its events. The book describes loosely connected events in her life which convey her confusion about belonging and identity. Shoogy searches for happiness with deep insight that might be beyond some teen readers. The book might also be confusing for readers who have not read the previous books in the trilogy. Ages: 14+ ( )
  ringenka | Nov 17, 2010 |
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Sweet leaves her family and goes to live in a cabin in the woods with the quiet but understanding Curtis, to whom she feels intensely connected, just as he is called back to serve again in Iraq.

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