What Happens After Book Cover What Happens After
Dennis Abrams
Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Violence, Prejudice, Death
Harmony Ink Press; First edition
March 31, 2020

Collin and his best friend, Nate, are high school juniors living in a suburb of Houston, where the politically and culturally conservative attitude makes coming out beyond difficult. One night they decide it would be a bit of harmless fun to sneak into a gay club in the city—a chance to dance, check out guys, and meet others like themselves.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

In minutes everything Collin took for granted is destroyed when a shooter’s bullets tear through the club. Collin survives, but that’s only the start of his ordeal. In the aftermath he has to face the loss of his friend, survivor’s guilt, the pain of his wounds, and judgment when he’s outed on a national level. Making it through his last year of school feels impossible when life as he knew it will never be the same.

Available at Amazon.

Reviewed by Shin Mon Thway

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Usually I don’t read YA that often, but the premise of this book really intrigued me. I do love reading swoony romances and adult couples, but I think there’s a certain charm in reading about a young adult’s struggle to become an adult and their journey to discovery about love, loss, lust and life. These are the things we all have gone through but it’s refreshing to revisit again in a certain charming young adult’s eyes.

Collin and Nate decided to have a little innocent fun one night after school. After all, what could possibly happen from sneaking into a gay club to experiment a bit. Unbeknownst to them, that was the night which will irrevocably and irreversibly change their lives. When a mad shooter entered the club and started shooting everything and everyone, the world once Collin knew came crashing down. He now has to walk an arduous and difficult journey of dealing with the loss of his best friend, the prejudice and hate from being outed nationally, survivor’s guilt and physical and mental wounds of his wary soul.

First, this isn’t a romance. I’m sure this is author’s ode to survivors of countless gay bashing and unnecessary hatred and prejudice that LGBTQIA people must face in the world every day. Everything seemed to pass in a flash but for Collin and Nate’s family, everything changed. It was heart-wrenching and sorrowful to witness the aftermath of that horrible night for Collin but at the same time, I was proud of him. Everything was set against him, but he prevailed. He was freed with burden and guilty conscience at the end and I’m sure he will go far in his life.

This was angsty, way too realistic, and made me cry a few times but it was worth it to go through this journey because it makes me realize how precious life is and how much it’s important to cherish your loved ones before it’s too late. Dennis Abrams did a great job balancing the angst and reality with a hopeful silver lining in the end.