Before You Go James Preller Book Review

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.

Before You Go James Preller Book Cover

Before You Go

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

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I haven’t seen this one around and, as a lover of contemporary, I’m now very glad to have heard of it. Very interested to see the difference in the family from before to after.

  2. I just saw this book on NetGalley this morning. I hadn’t heard of it before that. On one hand it sounds like something I would like, but if you weren’t too crazy about the writing then I’m not going to run out and get it. Fabulous review, April!

    • Yeah, I didn’t love the writing, like there were spots where it was great and hard to set down and then spots where it got overall literary, which okay I don’t mind literary, but it didn’t seem to match the style of the rest of the book.

  3. A grief book, eh? I thought it was more of a thriller from the cover, but that just goes to show you that you can’t judge a book by the cov… oh wait. *grin*

    I think I’ll give this one a pass. Nice review!

  4. I love that you’re always honest in your reviews, but that even when a book doesn’t work for you, you explain who it might be a better fit for. /off-topic comment

  5. Sounds like the book has a lot of potential but yeah, literary/pretentious writing gets on my nerves, so I might sit this one out šŸ™‚

    Thanks for the review, though.

    • It does have a lot of potential, it’s just those uneven bits that turned me off. I think there were some parts that were very good, but unfortunately not enough to outweigh what I didn’t like.

  6. Sounds sad, but good. I REALLY like the cover! Thanx for the review!

  7. I cannot wait to read this one – I am really looking forward to reading it šŸ™‚

  8. I have to admit I’m not a literary kind of girl (brain candy all the way!). Still, this sounds like something some of my students would really like. They LOVE the realistic high drama stuff.

  9. I was definitely super interested in this book, but am so sad that you think it was a bit pretentious. I don’t like that at all. :-/ On the fence about this one now. Thanks for being honest, yo.

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