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This is the story of a budding entymologist on the Dutch Islands in the 1800 right before the volcano blows This may just not have been my taste it was in particular difficult to read about the preparation of a beatle s body for pinning while I ate my lunch which is frequently the only time I have to read I did not finish it. This was a 3.5 for me, and I ended up enjoying it a lotthan I expected to and being surprised by its focus Even though the story is set in 1883 in the Dutch East Indies, I expect that many middle grade readers will be able to relate to Katrien Courtlandt who marches to her own tune Katrien resists the social norms of her time and is fascinated by the work of Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection She spends many happy hours in the jungle searching for beetles near the town o This was a 3.5 for me, and I ended up enjoying it a lotthan I expected to and being surprised by its focus Even though the story is set in 1883 in the Dutch East Indies, I expect that many middle grade readers will be able to relate to Katrien Courtlandt who marches to her own tune Katrien resists the social norms of her time and is fascinated by the work of Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection She spends many happy hours in the jungle searching for beetles near the town of Anjer where she lives She also treasures the moments she spends playing with her best friend Slamet But her aunt worries about the stigma that may be associated from this particular companionship, and Katrien often feels as though she doesn t fit in with the other girls in her school and the surrounding community In fact, she considers one, Brigitta Burkart, to be her arch enemy While Brigitta impresses the adults with her manners and positive attitude, Katrien knows that she behaves differently when she is away from those adult eyes Both girls learn that there is muchto them than they originally thought when a volcano on a nearby island, Krakatau, erupts, and the town is destroyed, forcing these two enemies to flee to the jungle for safety The descriptions of the desolation are hard to read, but the girls determination is survive is impressive even while they realize that if they are to get out of this alive, they will need to depend on each other s strengths I really liked Katrien and how she wasn t particularly worried about fitting in or pleasing others, but I wondered about the likelihood of these two girls managing to live through this disaster I also wished that the author had provided a bitcontext about Java and the Dutch colonialism as Katrien considered herself Javanese while others did not More explanation for the need to separate Katrien and Slamet would have been helpful for the book s intended audience Still, despite these qualms, I was pleased to read a book covering this particular time in history The fact that Katrien could quote many passages from Darwin s On the Origin of Species was impressive and reminded me of some of my own past students who could recite lines from certain books with which they were in love After the Ashes takes place in the 1800s, on the island of Java The volcano Krakatau is about to erupt after being dead for many years, and this story centers on a young lady and what happens to her I found the story hard to read, granted it takes place a long time ago, and the main character is Dutch and the attitudes towards native populations were not great, but it just felt a bit awkward and wooden The main character is portrayed as a bit of a tomboy who is now being asked to no longer After the Ashes takes place in the 1800s, on the island of Java The volcano Krakatau is about to erupt after being dead for many years, and this story centers on a young lady and what happens to her I found the story hard to read, granted it takes place a long time ago, and the main character is Dutch and the attitudes towards native populations were not great, but it just felt a bit awkward and wooden The main character is portrayed as a bit of a tomboy who is now being asked to no longer be friends with her native best friend but somehow she is oblivious to all of the issues of Dutch rule and hardships her friend faces The native issues aren t explored at all, just some vague we hate you from scary men who of course, refuse to help in the crisis And the main character, for all of her boy ish ness is really kind of whiny and judgemental.you don t see a lot of redeeming qualities for her aside from her knowledge of the flora and fauna, which helps but she isn t a survivalist, only a 13 year old girl So, not a bad story, but off putting and not great A nice teen survival story set in a time and place that I did not know anything about I like when learning is this painless Not only did I learn about the Dutch settlement of Java and the eruption of Krakatau, but I learned generally what a volcanic eruption and tsunami can be like. I adore the way that this book introduces us to 13 year old Katrien Set in 1883, on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies, we are first introduces to young Katrien s obsessive thirst for knowledge about the natural world A catastrophic event on a nearby island turns the natural world against her and robs Katrien of much of what she loves the best The starkness of the scene after the disaster that befalls her home is beautifully depicted, as is Katrien s determination to save somethin I adore the way that this book introduces us to 13 year old Katrien Set in 1883, on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies, we are first introduces to young Katrien s obsessive thirst for knowledge about the natural world A catastrophic event on a nearby island turns the natural world against her and robs Katrien of much of what she loves the best The starkness of the scene after the disaster that befalls her home is beautifully depicted, as is Katrien s determination to save something of her world Highly recommend this book for any child interested in history, science, or strong characters they can cheer for I loved this one The whole book was tense and made me keep reading obsessively to find out what would happen The first part is very reminiscent of Calpurnia Tate in Jacqueline Kelly s books The 13 year old protagonist is growing up in a rather wild place and wants to study natural selection and science She is starting to feel constrained by society s expectations of her and although her father wants her to be smart and happy, he also doesn t want her to be a social outcast with no friends Th I loved this one The whole book was tense and made me keep reading obsessively to find out what would happen The first part is very reminiscent of Calpurnia Tate in Jacqueline Kelly s books The 13 year old protagonist is growing up in a rather wild place and wants to study natural selection and science She is starting to feel constrained by society s expectations of her and although her father wants her to be smart and happy, he also doesn t want her to be a social outcast with no friends There are hints that the volcano is not as extinct as thought and foreshadowing of the disaster to come Her friendship with the Javanese native, Slamet, and her naivete concerning the native unrest treatment by her Dutch countrymen is heart breaking She doesn t understand what they are upset about The actual eruption and disaster is well written and I like that the author doesn t try to sugar coat the event and make the protagonist untouched by the tragedy as so many other authors do As a science teacher, I really appreciated the amount of actual science that was in the book and loved the quotes by Charles Darwin Katrien ends up greatly changed by the events of the book and grows up so much She learns all the lessons that her father and aunt wanted her to, but paid a high price for it After the Ashes was a little slow to start because the action happens in the final half of the book with the explosion of Krakatau Prior to the explosion, Katrien deals with family cultural expectations of how a girl is supposed to act, male female friendships, Christian Muslim friendships, and other divides of that century Everything is well researched and historically accurate I enjoyed the book Hand it to anyone who has an interest in historical fiction, volcanos, and the water surge that After the Ashes was a little slow to start because the action happens in the final half of the book with the explosion of Krakatau Prior to the explosion, Katrien deals with family cultural expectations of how a girl is supposed to act, male female friendships, Christian Muslim friendships, and other divides of that century Everything is well researched and historically accurate I enjoyed the book Hand it to anyone who has an interest in historical fiction, volcanos, and the water surge that comes after a volcanic eruption I like how this book explored and taught us what happens after a natural disasters occurs The volcano erupting and causing an ash over the island for days and the girls leaning on each other is great I have never been in an natural disaster and for me personally this tells me what it is like for the victims of the disaster even days later when everything is still ruined and they are trying to escape and just get out the environment to a safer environment I really enjoyed reading this book. ARC from Baker and TaylorIn 1883, Katrien has always lived on Java with her father, who works for a Dutch company Her mother is dead, but her Aunt Greet lives with her, and her uncle Maarten also resides nearby Katrien is very interested in the study of insects, and has all but memorized Darwin s Origin of the Species She goes into the jungle with her good friend, Salmet, whose mother works for Katrien s family Greet doesn t think that Katrien should spend so much time with a native boy now ARC from Baker and TaylorIn 1883, Katrien has always lived on Java with her father, who works for a Dutch company Her mother is dead, but her Aunt Greet lives with her, and her uncle Maarten also resides nearby Katrien is very interested in the study of insects, and has all but memorized Darwin s Origin of the Species She goes into the jungle with her good friend, Salmet, whose mother works for Katrien s family Greet doesn t think that Katrien should spend so much time with a native boy now that she is getting into her teens, and tries to have her socialize with Birgitta, with whom she attends school The two constantly antagonize each other, even though Birgitta is interested in botany When the nearby volcano, Krakatau, starts spewing ash, no one seems very alarmed except for Katrien s neighbors The DeGroots, who have heard of other volcanoes on the island, decide to go back to the Netherlands, but Katrien s father won t have it When the inevitable happens, Katrien and Birgitta both manage to survive, and with each other s help, manage to make their weary way across the devastation that ash and tsunamis wreak on Java Will they be able to put the horror of their experience behind them Strengths This was a very well researched book on a little known topic unless one has read Pene du Bois Twenty One Balloons , and even managed to capture the narrative style of the times Bringing in a variety of Dutch experiences in Java, as well as discussions about the relationships between the Dutch and the native people, gives this a well rounded perspective Katrien s bent toward science will interest a fewpeople, and the very human experience of fighting with someone with whom she is forced to be friends may interest readers who like books with friend drama Weaknesses I want to see a finished copy of this before I buy it The font is very small and close, and given how hard it is to get students to check out historical fiction, the standard Holiday House cover and crowded formatting will make this a challenge to get into the hands of students What I really think If this had a better cover, or were shorter, I might be able to pitch this I enjoyed it, but just don t see it doing well in my library ^DOWNLOAD ↷ After the Ashes ☠ In this riveting coming of age survival story, a stubborn and intellectual teen must fight for her life when the mighty volcano Krakatau erupts and puts her hometown on the Javanese coast in mortal dangerIn , on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies, thirteen year old Katrien Courtland is determined to prove Darwin s theory of natural selection Unfortunately, nothing causes her Aunt Greet angst than Katrien crawling around the muddy jungle collecting bugs in the name of science and in the company of a native boy, no less If only Katrien would take an interest in running a household and making friends with other girls But Katrien has no interest in changing, especially if it means socializing with the likes of mean Brigitta Burkhart Then, one stifling afternoon, Katrien s world turns upside down when the nearby volcano Krakatau erupts with a terrifying blast For days, a deathly ash rains down on the Javan coast, and everything is soon buried under the dust or destroyed by the tsunamis that follow Amidst the chaos, Katrien knows her only hope of survival is to flee the jungle with the one person she vowed she d never befriendSet against the backdrop of one of the most spectacularly horrifying natural disasters in human history, this debut novel by Sara Joiner is by turns exciting, funny, tragic and poignant