Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

Jeffrey, a cancer survivor, navigates through the challenges of middle school while dealing with the aftereffects of his treatment.


"After Ever After" by Jordan Sonnenblick is a heartwarming and inspiring young adult novel that follows the life of Jeffrey Alper, a young cancer survivor, as he navigates the challenges of adolescence. The book is a sequel to Sonnenblick's novel "Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie," and it continues to explore themes of resilience, friendship, and the power of hope in the face of adversity. Set in a middle school in New Jersey, the story takes readers on a poignant journey as Jeffrey grapples with the aftermath of his cancer treatment and the trials of being a teenager.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

"After Ever After" picks up the story of Jeffrey Alper, who has survived a battle with cancer but must now face the long-term effects of his treatment. The novel explores Jeffrey's experiences as he returns to school after being homeschooled during his cancer treatment. Alongside his best friend Tad, Jeffrey navigates the challenges of eighth grade, including academic pressures, social dynamics, and romantic interests. Throughout the book, Jeffrey also develops a passion for running, which becomes a significant part of his journey.


The story is set in a typical middle school environment in New Jersey, where Jeffrey and his friends grapple with the complexities of adolescence. The backdrop of the school setting provides a relatable context for the challenges and triumphs that Jeffrey experiences as he re-enters the world of education and social interactions.

Main Characters

The novel features several key characters who play pivotal roles in Jeffrey's life:

Jeffrey AlperThe protagonist, a cancer survivor dealing with the aftereffects of his treatment and navigating the challenges of adolescence.
Tad IbsenJeffrey's loyal and humorous best friend who provides unwavering support throughout their middle school journey.
Lindsey AbrahamA new student at the school who forms a romantic interest in Jeffrey, adding a layer of complexity to his life.
Mr. CranshawJeffrey's caring and supportive math teacher who encourages his academic pursuits and passion for running.

Summary of Each Story Point Over Chapters

Chapters 1-3: Reintegration and Friendship

Jeffrey returns to school after being homeschooled during his cancer treatment. He reconnects with Tad and navigates the social dynamics of eighth grade. The importance of friendship and support is highlighted as Jeffrey and Tad face the challenges of adolescence together.

Chapters 4-6: Academic Pressures and New Relationships

As Jeffrey adjusts to the demands of school, he forms a connection with the new student, Lindsey Abraham. Academic pressures intensify, and Jeffrey finds solace in his passion for running, which becomes a transformative outlet for him.

Chapters 7-9: Family Dynamics and Personal Growth

Jeffrey grapples with the complexities of family dynamics and the impact of his cancer experience on his relationships. He continues to develop his running abilities and finds a sense of empowerment through his dedication to the sport.

Chapters 10-12: Unexpected Challenges and Resilience

Unexpected challenges arise for Jeffrey, testing his resilience and determination. The novel delves into themes of perseverance and the power of hope as Jeffrey confronts obstacles and strives to overcome them.

Main Events

  1. Jeffrey's return to school after being homeschooled during his cancer treatment.
  2. His burgeoning romantic interest in Lindsey Abraham and the complexities it brings to his life.
  3. Jeffrey's dedication to running as a source of empowerment and personal growth.
  4. Unexpected challenges that test Jeffrey's resilience and determination.
  5. The unwavering support and friendship between Jeffrey and Tad as they navigate the trials of adolescence together.

Themes and Insights

Resilience and Hope

The novel explores the resilience of the human spirit, depicting Jeffrey's unwavering determination to overcome obstacles and find hope in the face of adversity. It highlights the transformative power of hope in the midst of life's challenges.

Friendship and Support

The importance of friendship and unwavering support is a prominent theme, showcasing the profound impact of genuine connections in navigating difficult circumstances. Jeffrey's bond with Tad serves as a source of strength and comfort throughout the story.

Personal Growth and Empowerment

Jeffrey's journey of personal growth and empowerment through his passion for running underscores the theme of finding strength and purpose in pursuing one's interests. The novel emphasizes the transformative impact of pursuing a passion in the face of adversity.

Reader's Takeaway

"After Ever After" offers readers a poignant and uplifting narrative that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the power of hope in the midst of adversity. Through Jeffrey's journey, readers are reminded of the significance of genuine friendships, the pursuit of personal passions, and the unwavering determination to overcome challenges. The novel leaves a lasting impression of courage, resilience, and the enduring strength found in human connections.


Jordan Sonnenblick's "After Ever After" is a compelling and emotionally resonant novel that delves into the complexities of adolescence, the aftermath of illness, and the enduring spirit of resilience. Through its relatable characters and poignant storytelling, the book leaves a lasting impact, offering readers a profound exploration of hope, friendship, and the transformative power of personal growth.

After Ever After FAQ

  1. What is 'After Ever After' about?

    After Ever After is a young adult novel by Jordan Sonnenblick that follows the story of Jeffrey Alper, a young cancer survivor who is dealing with the aftereffects of his treatment. The book explores themes of friendship, love, and resilience.

  2. Is 'After Ever After' a sequel?

    Yes, 'After Ever After' is a sequel to Jordan Sonnenblick's earlier novel, 'Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie'. It continues the story of Jeffrey Alper, a character introduced in the first book.

  3. What age group is 'After Ever After' suitable for?

    The book is aimed at young adult readers, typically aged 12 and above. It deals with mature themes such as illness and friendship, making it more suitable for older readers.

  4. Does 'After Ever After' have any educational themes?

    Yes, the book touches on educational themes such as the challenges faced by students with medical conditions and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. It can be a valuable resource for discussing these topics in a classroom setting.

  5. What makes 'After Ever After' unique?

    The unique perspective of a young cancer survivor navigating the challenges of adolescence sets 'After Ever After' apart. It offers a blend of humor, heart, and insight into the experiences of young people dealing with serious health issues.