Steve Watkins. What Comes After. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011.

Iris Wight knew that moving to Craven County, North Carolina, from her lifelong home in Maine would come with many changes, but she had no choice. Her father had just passed away, and her best friend’s family who was supposed to take care of the sixteen year old backed out of their promise. Iris’s only option was to start over in a new land where she would stand out with her Northern accent, attend a high school that did not offer the AP (Advanced Placement) classes she was used to, and would be without the comfort of her best friend and softball teammates.

What Iris could not have anticipated, though, was just how different her life in Craven County would be. Her Aunt Sue and cousin Book, both of whom she met briefly as a young child, do not welcome her with open arms (although Aunt Sue is more than happy to take Iris’s inheritance). Instead, they treat her as if she is a nuisance and give her the chores of milking the goats and pasteurizing the milk for cheese that will be sold at the farmers market. Iris does not mind these responsibilities; playing with the goats is the only form of warmth she receives in North Carolina. The way Aunt Sue and Book treat the farm animals and the family dog, however, deeply troubles Iris. Their cruelties are in stark contrast to the way her veterinarian father taught her. When she tries to protect the four-legged friends she has grown to adore, Aunt Sue and Book beat her. This violent act puts Iris in the hospital, then into foster care, and Aunt Sue and Book in jail. Over the next few months, Iris must prove to herself and to others that she is worthy of independence, trust, and affection.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Craven, Watkins, Steve

2 Responses to Steve Watkins. What Comes After. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011.

  1. Your summary of my book says that the protagonist, Iris Wight, goes to jail. She IS the victim of an assault by her aunt and cousin, she IS placed in foster care, but the only time she’s in jail is when she visits her aunt and cousin later in the novel.

  2. Eileen McGrath

    Thank you for catching this. The post’s author made a typo (“then” rather than “them”) and when I edited the post I misunderstood what was intended. I think we’ve got it right now.