Kathy Martin's Reviews > Before You Go

Before You Go by James Preller
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Jun 29, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 28 to 29, 2012

This was a heartbreaking story about grief and loss told in an almost stream-of-consciousness style. It is Jude's story as he finds his first job at a beach concession stand, makes one of his co-workers his first girlfriend, and hangs with his friends.

Jude is carrying a load of grief since his little sister Lily drowned in their family pool while he was supposed to be watching her. Of course, he was only nine at the time. He should never have been responsible for her. His parents deal with the grief in their own ways. His father is a high-tech jogger with all the appropriate gear. His mother has sort of withdrawn from life with a series of cluster headaches and lots of medications. Lily's room has been set aside as shrine and she is the elephant in the room. No one talks about her.

Then tragedy strikes again. And this time, the blow might be too much for Jude to overcome. We watch him go through the many stages of grief especially focusing on anger and withdrawal from life. This one raised a personal chord for me as I lost a brother to a car accident when he was only twenty and I saw what it did to my family. So many of the things in this book were things I remember happening.

This story is powerful, gritty, and heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful. I recommend it to thoughtful adolescents who want a sad book.
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