Peyton's Reviews > Before You Go

Before You Go by James Preller
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's review
May 13, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-stars
Read from July 25 to 26, 2012

A searing exploration of loss on the teenage psyche. I struggle with novels that casually depict teen sex, drinking, and other bad behaviors, but this one tackles these subjects with an understanding that I respect. Nowhere does Preller revel in or make excuses for reckless choices, but he presents a way of life that, whether I like it or not, exists for many of this nation's young adults. Neither preachy nor prurient, Preller has written a fact-based, warts-and-all look at the 21st century teenage experience.

But what really strikes me about this novel is the way Preller describes gritty, real-life tragedies with elegance. He writes everyday lives with extraordinary lyricism, and seems to honestly ache for his characters. Besides being a stirring story, Before You Go is just beautiful writing. Preller constructs some lovely metaphors and symbols, intermixed with genuinely funny one-liners and turns of phrase. This book is the perfect marriage of wit, insight, and grief. If F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote YA, it would look a lot like this.

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05/13 marked as: read

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