Thursday, December 6, 2012

Before You Go, by James Preller

Jude is just finally starting to get on with his life.  After the death of his younger sister, life seems somehow strangled.  But now, on the verge of his senior year, he is finally able to find some happiness.  And then, in one moment, his tiny patch of happiness is lost once again.  And all the platitudes in the world are not going to chance his reality.

This book simply breaks your heart.  Jude breaks my heart.  The story is very straightforward, no fancy prose or grand literary devices.  And yet it just works, the impact is tremendous.  I thought the story was engaging, and it felt genuine.  The dialogue seemed honest and realistic for teenagers.  Similarly, I think the characters were realistic.  Jude deals with his emotional struggles much like any teenage boy would.  And in regards to his blossoming romance, I could feel his nerves and anxiety subtly simmering on the page.  It all seemed familiar, honest, and real.  The book is short, and the pace of the story is pretty swift, so it made for a very quick read.

It is hard to think about young adults going through terrible situations, and in turn to read about them, but the reality is that these things to happen.  A book like this could provide some comfort to a young adult survivor.  The loss of a young person can be so difficult to comprehend, and this book might make it easier.  It certainly could give a sense of legitimacy for a survivor feeling that those well meaning "everything happens for a reason" reactions are hard to swallow.  The book is marketed to ages 12 and up, but given the aspect of death, as well as indications of underage drinking, the book is probably more appropriate for readers 15 and up.

This books is from my personal library, all opinions are honest and original.



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