After the Ink Dries by Cassie Gustafson

Cassie Gustafson’s new novel, “After the Ink Dries” is an eye-opening novel that describes the effects sexual abuse has on different people. Following the perspectives of Erica: a new girl with an internal superhero alter-ego, and Thomas: the lacrosse player with hopes of becoming a musician. The story begins with Erica waking up with a hazy memory and writing covering her body saying offensive words, inappropriate drawings, and the names of Thomas and his lacrosse teammates. Throughout the novel, Erica tries to piece together what exactly happened that fateful night, while Thomas tries to forget all about it. Gustafson includes every thought and movement as the protagonists go throughout the week. The story is told in the first person of both protagonists, making them all the more relatable. Excellent identity and personality building reflects the character’s feelings and transforms them into the readers’. As a sort of mystery novel, interest is piqued with eagerness to solve.  Gustafson’s writing technique is admirable for the author portrays exactly what is going through the characters’ minds. As the reader, you go through the journey with the characters. “After the Ink Dries” is a novel with a voice that needs to be heard. (TW! sexual abuse, sexual harassment, substance use, self harm, suicide, bullying.) – Zoe Cloar

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