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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Before You Go by James Preller

The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude’s house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it’s been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.

Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.

Acclaimed author James Preller explores life, death, love, faith, and resilience in his first young adult novel that will grip readers from the book’s dramatic first few pages to its emotional end.

Summary taken from
Length: 199 pages
Source: NetGalley ARC
Publication Date: July 27th 2012

Generally I don't read realistic YA fiction written by male authors (I'm not sexist) it just seems as though it is a predominately female written genre.

This book was told in two parts. There was the Before and then there was the After Part and the novel itself was written in the third person which isn't my favourite way to read a book because I don't feel the usual connection to the characters.

We have our main protagonist Jude. He's you're average teenager. Awkward in the eyes of his crush but acting like the man whilst he's around his little crew of friends. I wasn't overly fond of Jude because I just found him to be a little over dramatic especially when it came to the girl he liked.

Anyway, the novel follows Jude as he experiences a lot of firsts. He gets his first summer job, gets his first girl friend, has his first kiss and loses yet another person he cares about. This is the second tragic death that Jude has experienced. The first was the death of his little sister seven years before. I found Jude to be quite the melancholy character. I do not know if it was the author's intention to make him this way or if that is just how I see him. All I know is that to me he could be right out pompous and depressing so that made the reading of the novel less enjoyable. In fact I had a hard time liking any of the characters.

However, despite my dislike or plain old "meh" attitude about Jude and his not so merry cast of characters I did find that the actual plot of the novel was well thought out. There was something about it that made me want to keep reading it. Perhaps it's because it wasn't until near the end of the novel that the "After" section started thus leaving the reader with 130+ pages of wondering when the "Big Thing" would happen and start having the book start come together.

Once the "After" section happened I really thought the book picked up the pace and I believe it was that section that made the book for me. If you read it you might think that that's a little weird that it takes the death of one of the characters to make the book seem worth it to me. I was left wanting more from the characters and the writing emotionally but this novel fell short of my expectations. It was as though that part of the book got a whole new lease on life though it was still too little too late for me to give this YA novel more than a moderate rating.

The book was entertaining and it kept me interested on the afternoon that I read it long enough to finish it but it was overall quite forgettable. I can see the appeal for a book like this though and I think that people who enjoy YA novels especially teens will enjoy this book. This was just a case of it not being the novel for me. I will however be giving the authors other books a try to see if they are more to my liking.
* I received a free copy of this book from the published via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not compensated in any way.
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It was okay
★ ★



  1. Despite feeling the protagonist was meh, i am glad the plot was good. Lovely review!

  2. I dig the cover actually. Kinda cool. Maybe the next book you read by this author will suprise you hopefully. Good review

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