Every Moment After
The debut novel by Joseph Moldover
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EVERY MOMENT AFTER follows the survivors of an elementary school shooting through their last summer before moving on to adult life. It begins on the day of high school graduation as students gather for commencement around 18 empty, black-draped chairs, a memorial to their classmates slain eleven years earlier.
The story follows graduating seniors Cole Hewitt and Matt Simpson. Complete opposites, Cole and Matt have nonetheless been best friends from earliest childhood. Both were students in the first-grade classroom ravaged by the shooting, along with their close friend Andy Gerber, who was lost that day.
Cole is the boy in the picture, a survivor who has blotted out all memory of the shooting but whose face is known to the world by virtue of an iconic picture taken as a policeman carried him, blood soaked, from the school. Cole has deferred college to stay home, write poetry, work in the local grocery store, and care for his widowed mother. He is in love with Viola Grey, who is off to the West Coast in the fall…but not before Cole tries to win her heart with the wildest plan he can imagine.
Matt is the boy who wasn’t there, kept home on the day of the massacre by his mother’s tendency to fuss over his diabetes. A star athlete, Matt has a Division I baseball scholarship and the world at his feet, yet he can’t stop thinking about that day. Matt becomes preoccupied with everything connected to the shooting - including the daughter of the policeman in the photo of Cole. He is obsessed with the idea of placing his life in the hands of fate and finding out once and for all whether he was meant to be among the living or the dead.
Cole and Matt stand together at the end of childhoods marked by unthinkable tragedy, on the threshold of adult lives filled with promise. The summer will test their friendship’s ability to bind them to each other against the force of the grief binding them to the past.