Life can change in an instant. There are some people who have dealt with more than their fair share of trauma and so it seems they are shaped by their reaction to the trauma. Before You Go by James Preller opens with a prologue that is real life terrifying and could happen to anyone — the scene of a car accident.
After the prologue, Before You Go is divided into two parts: Before and After. In Before – main character Jude is about to start his first day of work at a food joint on Jones Beach. Life is portrayed as ordinary. We see Jude fall for this girl- Becka. We see him hang out with his best friend Corey – this totally awesome, intelligent, pop culture junkie nerd. We also get a glimpse of Jude’s home life.
James Preller paints a picture of a family deeply impacted by tragedy. Jude’s mom has basically shut down and won’t let any light in the house. His father has taken to running constantly and staying busy and distant. You see, when Jude was a kid his little sister Lily drowned on his watch. So, that tragedy hangs over the whole family.
Of course, I think that the whole point of Before You Go is to show the impacts of grief and pain. It shows how one is going to react and how to move forward and past these unfortunate accidents. I thought the portrayal of the different reactions was realistic.
In all, I liked Before You Go. I liked Jude and his group of friends. However, I felt that the writing got a bit literary and seemed pretentious at times which did hinder my enjoyment. I would recommend Before You Go to hardcore fans of contemporary, male narrators and anyone with an interest in grief books.
Disclosure: Received for review.
Other reviews of Before You Go by James Preller:
Once Upon A Twilight – “Did Before You Go work for me, yes and slight no”
Bookish Sarah – “The novel moves at a super-fast pace”
sassyreads – “I never felt a connection to him”