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The Before Now and After Then

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**2015 ELit Book Award Silver WInner for LGBT Fiction**

Danny Goldstein has always lived in the shadow of his identical, twin brother Sam. But when a hurricane of events forces him into the spotlight, he starts to realize that the only thing he’s truly afraid of is himself.

With the help of his costume changing friend Cher, a famous gay uncle with a mysterious past of his own, two aging punk rocker parents and Rusty, the boy who will become his something to live for, Danny begins to realize that the music of the heart is truly the soundtrack for living.


First published July 28, 2014

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About the author

Peter Monn

2 books4,044 followers
Peter Monn is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana where he lives with his dashing husband Alex and their brood of dogs named after their favorite literary muses. . Besides being a YouTuber, a dreamer, a romantic, a moon-child and a lover of carnivals, night swimming and driving around late at night, he is also a writer. His first book, The Before Now and After Then, was released in 2014 and he is currently working on a memoir and his next work of young adult fiction Peter also runs a BookTube channel called Peter Likes Books here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxpb...

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 145 reviews
21 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2014
This is not my normal genre of literature: I'm more of an Urban Fantasy/Epic Fantasy guy. But I knew Peter in High School. He probably has no idea the profound effect he's had on my life. I read the book because of him, and I honestly found it difficult to put it down. It's very rare that I find a book that I read in one day: I did that with the last Dresden Files book and with the last Wheel of Time book, but I found this fascinating. It was a good read, and it kept me going. I even found myself crying a few times during the course of this book. Trust me: you won't be disappointed with it!!
Profile Image for Coquille Fleur.
229 reviews10 followers
February 10, 2017
Peter Monn's debut novel is amazingly rich and full of life. While technically this novel is geared toward young adults, it's one of those books adults can appreciate just as much. The characters are real, with problems and dreams and all the crazy baggage that makes them seem so true to life. I love Uncle Alex, the famous uncle who wrote the great American indie novel, yet is still struggling with his own past and Cher, Danny's kooky best friend whose bravado belies a sensitive girl with a big secret. Danny himself is pretty awesome, even though it takes him the whole book to come to grips with his life. He is just so real and so Peter. As someone who knew this author back in the day, I can see the truth behind many of the events detailed in the story, but as a master plotter, Peter wove a universal tale from the threads of his own life that will live on in literature. I love that this book exists, not just for the gay boys out there who are still being treated like crap in schools across America, but for everyone who has ever struggled to make sense out of the hand life has dealt them. It's all about the details and the shiny moments that live in our memories. The Before Now and After Then is one of the best novels I've read this year. Highly recommended for teens, parents, and anyone who has dared to really love someone. Plus, the songs alone would make a killer soundtrack.
Profile Image for SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*.
504 reviews98 followers
August 14, 2016
I found this author on YouTube's Book tube under his channel, "Peter Loves Books". I enjoy his channel,his enthusiasm and love of reading is infectious.

This book is so well written,the characters have such an authentic feel. The book is a sweet coming of age story that acknowledges loss, bullying, homosexuality in a very realistic way. The writing is beautiful in its simplicity,beautiful in its powerful storytelling.
I highly recommend this book,as well as the authors Book tube channel,you won't regret either. Enjoy.
Profile Image for Sharon.
1,069 reviews79 followers
February 10, 2017
First, I'm getting this out of the way - I hate the name of this book, and I hate that cover. I don't think either do it justice because this is without a doubt, one of the best YA books I've ever read.

Sam and Danny are identical twins. Both golden-haired and beautiful, but that's where the similarities end. Sam is straight and confident, Danny is gay and quiet. Sam is Danny's protector and confidant - until something happens and Sam can't do that any more. When Danny starts a new school, he attracts the same taunts and bullying that he has experienced all his life, but he also attracts something else - real friends, and the possibility of happiness. He has to learn to let people in - and let himself out.

Rusty and Danny's relationship was beautiful, if at times rushed. You can keep your John Greens and your Steven Chboskys, this is the one YA book I'll be recommending to people. It made me smile as much as it made me cry (which was a LOT). The side story of "Uncle" Alex was heartbreaking and heartwarming, and I bawled like a baby when the full extent of his story was finally revealed. Danny's parents were the coolest set of parents I've come across in a long time, especially in their acceptance and willingness to help Danny deal with everything that he was going through. I think despite what Danny would think about the strength of others being superior, he turns out to be the strongest character in the book.

What I liked most about this book was that even though the main character was gay and it was a big part of his life, this book is not about being gay. This book is about being a teenage boy in love, dealing with loss, and learning about who you are. It also has an EPIC soundtrack. How can a book have a soundtrack, you ask? This one does.

I just don't understand why I can't just be a teenage guy who happens to like other teenage guys. I don't understand why you can't just leave it at that instead of forcing it to define me.

Believe the hype. Read it.

Thanks so much to the publisher for providing a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
May 6, 2015
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

Sam and Danny Goldstein are identical twins. Sam is the confident one—athletic, popular, and tremendously protective of his brother. Danny is more than content to live in Sam's shadow, sharing his friends, and knowing that the two share an inseparable bond. Sam is always looking out for Danny, and plans an elaborate scheme for Danny to finally come out to their parents.

In an instant, everything changes, and the world and the life that Danny has known and depended on is totally turned upside down. He finds himself in a new school, living in a new house, and realizing that the reason he was always to content to live in Sam's shadow is that he's not comfortable standing out or being noticed. He isn't really sure who he is, and he doesn't know if he's all that interested in finding out the answer to that question. But what he does know is that he's tired of people telling him how he should feel, or what he should do, and he's tired of being angry and sad all the time.

"All of my life, I had always felt like I was watching other people's lives instead of being part of my own."

When Danny meets Cher, a larger-than-life fellow classmate who has always been dying for a gay best friend, she starts to force him out of his shell, little by little, even if he's still not quite comfortable talking about himself or knowing how to be a good friend. And then he meets Rusty, a boy who appears fearless, who helps Danny discover who he is, and what his heart wants. All the while, Danny's journey is helped, and at times complicated, by his former punk rocker parents and his mother's lifelong best friend Alex, an author whose most famous book was a way for him to deal with the isolation he felt about being gay.

I've said this before, but I wish books like The Before Now and After Then existed when I was a teenager, if only to help me convince that I wasn't alone, that life beyond the angst and anger and bullying of high school could and would dissolve into something better. This is a sweet, funny, emotional book, and Peter Monn does an excellent job making you care about his characters and what happens to them. The book is a little overly dramatic at times, and Danny in particular isn't always the most likeable person, but I kept thinking of him as if he were real, saying, "Well, he's been through a lot..."

Books like this give me hope, and I hope they bring those same feelings to others who are lucky enough to find it. I look forward to reading more from Monn in the future.

"I realized that time kept ticking whether we liked it or not. Life kept happening. And sometimes things weren't measured in time. Sometimes, hours, weeks, and even years went by without us even noticing. Sometimes people died and sometimes people left, but not always. Sometimes they stayed."

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,514 followers
November 25, 2014
This book is surprisingly non-angsty in tone, to me, for the story of a seventeen-year-old whose twin brother is killed the day he also comes out to his parents, as they also decide to separate over the dad cheating. The world has fallen on Danny, but he closes it all inside, and through the book his responses are a bit muted. That's a matter of perceptions, of course, and for some this book may evoke far more emotion. I actually thought the tone was apt especially at first, because as the main narrative opens, six months after Sam's death, Danny is still pretty frozen in non-reaction.

Having lived all his life in the shadow of his more popular and skill-blessed brother, Danny has been left bereft not only of his best (and only) friend and brother, but also of any sense of self. He's let Sam define both of them all along, other than knowing his own sexuality. And the day he put that difference front and center, Sam died. Danny has a white room in a new house, with all his memories packed away in the closet. His parents let him shut himself off from his old life, school and friends, for six months after his brother died, and the result is a void where nothing much touches him. He's had therapy, but his therapist has let him get away with not talking in sessions for six months as well. (This pushed my belief a bit - Danny is quiet, but not stunned into immobility, or severely socially anxious or mute. And six months is a long, long time. A competent therapist should have coaxed him at least somewhat past that point before now.)

Anyway, Danny is beginning at a new school. In the first day, he experiences some bullying for being gay, and is befriended by Cher, who pounces on the possibility of a gay best friend. I wasn't totally convinced by Cher initially, although she was cool and created some of the book's fun moments. Her insecurities and complexity became more visible later, which helped.

Danny also sees Rusty, the first boy who really, really rings his "I want that" bells. Danny's known he was gay for a long time, but until now it wasn't a really personal thing in his day to day life. Suddenly there's a flesh and blood guy he actually knows whom he'd like to date. That's the crack in his indifference, that will wedge open the shell around everything he's been going through, and let the real Danny emerge.

I did like the way the gay component of his life wasn't a source of big angst for Danny. Despite the fact that it made him different from his twin, he's content with that part of himself. It causes problems with bullying, but he's more concerned about hiding that from his mother than traumatized by it. Having a gay "Uncle" Alex who is a family friend and who is clearly accepted and admired within his home as a famous writer no doubt helps. I like Alex as mentor and parental figure for Danny, with just a hint of hands-off understanding that was no doubt supportive for Danny. His mom was appropriately more clingy, although honestly? I thought both his parents had themselves together more, and clung to him less, that I might have 6 months after the loss of a child.

There is a little, low-impact childhood sexual-abuse moment described which goes nowhere much. I think it could potentially have been left out, since it neither informs the behavior of the adults noticeably, nor seems to have had a big impact on Danny himself. There are a couple of moments when the topic comes into play, and then goes away. Maybe that's the point, that it happened, but wasn't a big thing, and didn't define him.

If there was something that felt out of place in this interesting book, it was the relationship between Rusty and Danny. It happens fast, and it has far more perfect than awkward moments. Rusty is too good, and too eloquent, to feel quite real. Admittedly, a life of moving around place to place trying to find help for a severely ill sister will make a guy grow up fast. But still, he'd claimed only one previous boyfriend, and yet he knew the right things to do, the right gifts, the meaningful gestures and words. It was lovely, but felt idealized. The speed I could believe - teens often fall head-over-heels that quickly. But usually they're afraid to share it, and unable to express it that well. When Rusty screwed it up at last, it was a highlight.

The book is well written, and a fast, easy read. There are a few more typos than there should have been, and a couple of homonym confusions, but unless you're a stickler for editing they don't interfere. And it's nice to read a teen gay coming of age novel where the gay aspect is only a bit of the whole picture and not the most emotional one. This book didn't touch me deeply, but that may be a matter of taste in prose styles. I did enjoy the read.
Profile Image for Rj.
51 reviews4 followers
August 7, 2016
I picked up this book not knowing what to expect, but at the end my heart grew about ten times or maybe more. There are many life lessons hidden within this YA novel that I only wished I read when I was back in high school.

Peter Monn created these relatable characters who I fell in love with. Speaking of love, a majority part of the book is a love story and honestly made me realize I wasn't crazy at all to fall in love too fast.

Feelings are feelings and emotions are emotions. Love is love. I highly recommend this novel if you are interested in coming of age stories and LGBT content.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this honest novel about life and reading the character growth Danny had experienced. I look forward to reading more of Peter's work in the future!
Profile Image for Elizabeta.
155 reviews38 followers
April 21, 2017
I'm a big fan of Peter's blogs and wanted to check out his book. I liked that there were some "Peterisms" in the book, like his dog's name, his husband's name, Venezuelan boyfriend, taste in music, love of curly hair and many more :)

It totally reminded me of "We Are the Ants".

I hope one day we can get a memoir of Peter Monn :D
Profile Image for Lori.
Author 2 books98 followers
August 22, 2014
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

Throughout the time I was reading this book I found it difficult to judge how I was going to rate it. I'm a very instinctive rater, I go with my heart. For me reading is about the passion it inspires, the love I feel for the story and characters, so I often know quite early on if I'm going to rate a book highly. Equally, some stories aren't for me, and these (if I'm reading for the blog) I read with an analytical eye - I try and decide why it isn't working for me, what I would have liked different, I try to be constructive, but honest. A few though leave me scratching my head. Leave me puzzling how I'm going to rate them - and this book definitely falls into that category. I'll try and explain.

As I mentioned before, I rate many books with passion - if I'm in love with a book many flaws will pass me by, I'll be completely oblivious. If I'm not in love with it I'm actively looking for the reasons why. This book though fell into neither camp. I didn't love or hate it...in places I loved it and in places I found it annoying. The premise of Danny finding his whole self after living in the shadow of his twin for the first seventeen years of his life, whilst also dealing with the loss of his twin, his other half was promising. Mostly. I was worried about the angst level right at the start of the book, knowing the story would be shadowed by loss. I think it worked though....in fact, if anything, I think the grief was perhaps a bit lite. I know - how can an author please me when I'm not exactly sure what I want myself.

Actually, you know what, I think that is probably a good summing up of the whole book for me...what I thought I wanted, I actually didn't. Go figure. I did love the diversity of the characters - even though I found many of them annoying. Cher particularly got right on my nerves. Didn't mean she wasn't a good character though, I just found her incredibly irritating. The super cool and understanding parents, I liked them as characters but I didn't get them as parents. I can't imagine anything worse than the death of one of my children. Maybe they are just better people than me, but my grief ...well to be honest I can't even think about it. I feel I would be more devastated than they appeared. At times we were told they were upset, but I didn't really feel it. That aside though, they were great characters - not perfect or imperfect. They just were. Alex too, the family friend, the famous, cool, gay 'Uncle'. I did like him...he actually felt more like a parent at times than the actual parents. I liked his role in Danny's life.

So, onto Danny himself and the other MC, Rusty. I suppose my biggest problem with this whole story was the insta-love. (I hate that phrase, just for the record, but it's the only one that will work here). Seventeen and within a week they'd fallen in love and had their hearts broken. At times they felt so much younger than seventeen. So. Much. Younger. To be fair, I really have to dreg my memories of being seventeen to relate...and you know what, I'm pretty sure I'd told myself I was in love several times by then, a look in ancient diaries would probably be more embarrassing than I care to admit. I wasn't stupid enough to tell the person I was dating at the time though. I think, even then, I knew the difference between love and lust. I like my characters to fall in love slowly - I don't care if insta-lust is present. Again though - is this my own prejudice, my own expectations that I'm bringing to the story? Maybe, looking at it as an adult I'm viewing it through age-tinted glasses.

I liked Rusty and Danny though. I really did - even if everything was full on and dramatic. My favourite line in the book:

""God Danny, for lots of reasons." He looked at me intently, searching for something in my eyes. "Tell me one," I whispered, feeling the tears well up in my eyes. He touched my cheek lightly. "You're kind, you're honest. You don't try to be something you're not. You're afraid but aren't afraid of letting people see it, which allows me to protect you. You smell good, like Christmas and the ocean. You're an incredible kisser. I like how awkwardly cute you look when you don't know what to say or how to act. I like how much you use the word seriously. I like how your body fits perfectly next to mine. I could fall asleep in your smile and tread water for weeks in your eyes. You have the coolest, curliest hair I've ever seen," he paused. "And you bring out something in me, something vulnerable and raw, that no one else has ever brought out in me before. I always feel like I have to be the man and take care of everything, but with you, I just get to be the boy in love...with another boy.""

I adore Rusty's honesty, his perception of Danny - and of himself - how he has observed all these small things. That he knows why he feels the way he does about this confused boyfriend of his....maybe I should change my mind about the inst-love, Rusty certainly seems to know the way he feels. The end of this phrase, "I just get to be the boy in love...with another boy." I think it gets half a star for that line alone.

The line I liked least? This one:

""Not everyone has parents who have gay best friends Danny. Parent's have to come out too.""

I detested this....this excusing of homophobic behaviour. No, no they don't have to come out. They have to love their children above and beyond anything and EVERYTHING else. They accept those children for who they are - not some mold that they feel their children should fit into. I know this is just Rusty's perception, but I hated it. It made my blood boil. I don't for one second think the author believes this...and if he does that makes me very, very sad.

So overall this book left me confused and questioning but I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. I've rated it 3.75 hearts - but I'm still not sure, maybe it is a 4.

One last word...I'm very much the odd one out here, but I love the cover. I really, really do. Though tapes are a thing of the past (I'm not quite sure where Rusty got his tape recorder from, not to mention buying actual tapes, I'm assuming they're easier to get hold of in the USA, and to be fair I've not looked for them for about a decade now) it really fits the book well and I like how different it is. I know many feel the opposite way to me though - but it definitely caught my eye.

This review was previously published at

Profile Image for Glire.
740 reviews519 followers
March 9, 2016
Sam y Danny son gemelos idénticos, pero sólo físicamente. Sus personalidades no podrían ser más diferentes.

The way he was always so protective of me would make you think that he was the older one, but that wasn’t the case. I had left him behind in the womb for greater ventures of a new world exactly 18 minutes before he chose to follow me, kicking and screaming, as I lay quietly in my father’s arms. This grand entrance would set the direction for the rest of our lives; Sam fighting while I sat idly by, living through his adventures, and allowing the world to happen to me instead of actually living.

Sam es bueno en los estudios, los deportes, tiene montones de amigos y una novia.

Y Danny... bueno, Danny es gay. Eso es de lo único que está completamente seguro. No tiene hobbies, amigos, ni personalidad (o al menos eso cree). Siempre ha vivido bajo la sombra de su hermano, quien es su único amigo y su protector ante el constante bullying que sufre en la escuela. Pero cuando Sam muere, Danny se ve forzado a encontrar su propia identidad.

En el camino de ese autodescubrimiento conocerá a Cher y a Rusty.

La historia de amor entre Danny y Rusty es un encanto a pesar de ser un insta-love; se conocen un día y a los dos días ya son novios, pero esta tan bien escrita que por lo menos a mi (que soy una fiel hater de los insta-love) no me molestó ese hecho. También me parece genial como ninguno de los dos se avergüenza de su sexualidad; son gays y lo aceptan sin complejos, sin dejar que eso sea lo que rija su vida.


Los personajes tienen 18 años, están enamorados y sus hormonas están en acción, así que hay algunas escenas íntimas. Nunca había leído escenas de ese tipo chico-chico, así que no sabía que esperar, por lo que me sorprendí un poco cuando me encontré a mi misma sonriendo como una tonta mientras las leía porque están tan sutilmente escritas que son una completa ternura.

Rusty es venezolano (como yo :P) y debo decir que el autor hizo un muy buen trabajo de investigación en este respecto. Hay conversaciones de los Carnavales, vacaciones en Margarita, cenas de arepa con diablito y malta, y música de Celia Cruz (quien aunque no era venezolana es un icono en el país) y cada vez que leía algo de eso yo estaba como que: Yay! Go Venezuela!

El resto de los personajes secundarios están también muy bien desarrollados. La historia de la familia de Rusty; los padres de Danny; Alex, el mejor amigo gay de la mamá de Danny; e incluso la de Pal, el bully del colegio; tienen la profundidad perfecta para hacerlos sentir reales e inolvidables. Todos excepto Cher, quien es artificial al extremo y se siente más como relleno que como otra cosa. De hecho si la eliminamos de la historia, la trama no cambiaría para nada. Así de importante es.

Solo tengo dos problemas con toda la historia, que son el motivo por el cual lo califique con tres estrellas en vez de más:

1) Que en ningún momento Danny cuente su secreto a sus padres ni a ningún otro adulto. Y que cuando se lo cuenta a Rusty este no hace ningún comentario al respecto. Vamos que no es cualquier cosita, es algo delicado que debería tratarse con toda la importancia del caso.

2) Que cuando Danny finalmente se abre con su terapeuta y le cuenta que siente que no tiene un propósito en la vida, el terapeuta le diga, y cito: "tal vez el propósito de tu vida es amar a Rusty"



¿Qué clase de mensaje es ese? ¿Y si Rusty lo deja o se muere entonces qué? ¿La vida de Danny ya no tendría sentido? Mal mal mal.

En definitiva, The before now and after then es una linda historia de pérdida y amor, de responsabilidades y deseos, de autodescubrimiento y autoaceptación... con un mensaje final que lamentablemente deja mucho que desear.
Profile Image for Carrie (The Butterfly Reader).
1,016 reviews93 followers
November 17, 2016
OMG you guys! This book is everything I've been looking for to fulfill LGBT needs! It's a cute, heartbreaking, and eye opening kind of novel.

It's all about a guy trying to find out who he is after the death of his twin. It's about his family coming to terms with the death of their son and their other son being gay. It's about Danny finding this first love and first true friend. It's about his growing up in such a short period of time. It's about loss and love. It even had bullies. This novel kind of has everything except vampires... ha ha.

It's utterly wonderful! I loved watching the journey and Danny finding himself. I also thought it was also a great thing for Danny to be fine with his sexuality. Most LGBT books are about the person coming out and dealing with all that kind of stuff. This one isn't, Danny is gay, and he's already totally fine with it.

This book actually has one of my favorite quotes ever, it also hits home all of my problems about some authors and how they write their LGBT characters.

"You bring me books and movies so I can relate to these characters who I don't feel like I have anything in common with other than we're all gay. You want me to talk to Alex because you think he can teach me secret gay ways to the world.Why can't I just be some guy who happens to like other guys?" - Location 1513 (Kindle Version)

That ladies and gentlemen is the perfect thing I've ever read. I dislike that a lot of authors make LGBT characters that if you take away that character's sexuality, they vanish. They are nothing more than their sexuality. Which is not a real thing. We are and always will be more than just our sexuality. So I was glad to see this. Because this is how it really works.

I love that is you take away the fact that Danny is gay, he's still a real person. It's the same for me, if you took the fact that I'm bi sexual away, I'm still a person. My sexuality is not all of who I am, it's just a part of who I am.

The writing is fast and fun. I read this book at work and it was easy to follow while getting interrupted so many times. Also I could just see Peter's personality coming out during this book. I think that made it ever better for me.

This is such a needed book that I hope everyone reads it.
Profile Image for Sandra.
4,072 reviews13 followers
September 1, 2014
4.5 stars Holy crap, the Feelz! Get your box of tissues ready for this one. This is a wonderful story about life and loss and being young. The struggles that come with trying to find yourself, and the fact that it's okay if you haven't. It made me miss my crazy eccentric magenta haired high-school friends, and at the same time thank fucking God that high school is over.

Really well done. Amazing characters, not only Danny. I wish that we had spent more time on Danny and Cher together, once they became friends. This felt like an important milestone for him, yet Rusty came soon after and then the rest of the book focused mostly on their relationship. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Danny-Rusty parts (dubbed 'Dusty'). But this isn't a romance. It's about relationships, yes. But it's about the relationships between friends, and between a son and his parents, and between two twins, and between parents, and between people who've lost someone. And I wish the second half hadn't become quite so romance heavy.

That being said, I adored the romance. This brought as many happy tears as it did sad. Because, young love. I was devastated at points (you know which ones), but I thought it took such a real course. That being said, I did not like Alex and Neil's advice to Danny So inappropriate and unrealistic. This was the only part I found unrealistic, and starting to fall into romance trope territory And of course same goes for the little drama at the end , although of course I liked that there were no straight up black-and-white evil villains

Anyway, I could not put this down. Wonderful characters. Wonderful portrayal of love and loss, and grieving and moving on, and just generally dealing with life. It's just about "a teenage boy... who happens to like other boys."

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, reviewed for Hearts On Fire

P.S. I've seen a few reviews comment that they don't like the cover, so I feel the need to say... I like it! I like the bold color and graphic print, almost T-shirt feel to it. It fits the story, and music played such a prominent role, specifically music and how it relates to specific events or times in ones life, that the mix-tape on the cover totally works. That's it. Sandra, out.
Profile Image for Sarahanne.
700 reviews8 followers
July 5, 2016
This book wasn't perfect.

I think the next book by this author could be. Here's why

The imperfections were just little glitches in the writing. Some redundancy, a little too much description here, not enough there. Little stuff.

But the ideas? The stories, characters, and theme? They were right. They were true.

I felt myself leaning into the characters. Hoping for the best for them & waiting for the author to piss me off by getting too tragic or too Pollyanna. But he didn't. He didn't make any of the BIG mistakes that derail some YA books and lots of queer-fiction.

No one is completely good or completely evil. Even the trivial is dramatic to the teen-diva but the earth-shattering can be just-the-way-it-is. I LOVED that.

The audio version was enjoyable & well read. The narrator didn't detract from or change up the story.

Profile Image for Alexandra.
47 reviews3 followers
October 21, 2014
Loved, loved this book

This book revolves around teenager Danny and the loss of his twin brother Sam in an accident he feels he was partly the cause of. Danny is a gay teen, very unsure of himself because he always self identified through his brother Sam. In the coarse of 6 months Danny , through a little help from his friend Cher and strong willed boyfriend Rusty ( and pretty amazing parents and uncle) he ventures out to figure out who he really is. This book was extremely well written, the characters brilliantly developed, it made me cry, laugh, relate and I didn't want it to end. I wanted to be part of this fantastic group of people. I think in life we all struggle with not knowing who we are, put time limits on so much, and forget to just let it be. It made me think a lot about my own self-esteem goals, what I want out of life and love. I hope to read more from this author and I would love a sequel to this book. This is a book I will strongly recommend to people.
Profile Image for Mary Alice Simon.
1 review3 followers
August 3, 2014
I've read all of John Green and David Levithan's books and this one holds its own with both authors. I just finished this book as a recommendation from a friend on Goodreads. I didn't really know what to expect before I started it although I knew that it was a gay young adult book and had been compared to Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Boy Meets Boy. I didn't expect to get so attached to the main character Danny and I'm definitely not much of a crier in books, but this book really melted my heart. I fell in love with Danny's Uncle Alex, his mom and even his best friend Cher who is crazy and wild. The ending was perfect and made me wish for more. I can't wait to see what Peter Monn puts out next. He might just be the next big thing.
Profile Image for Tellulah Darling.
Author 10 books380 followers
September 8, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a wonderful and heartfelt exploration of one twin trying to figure out who is he both in terms of his position in the family, his sexuality and his very personality, in the wake of his brother's death. There was just a whole lot of yay about it. I do wish though that the character of Cher had been fleshed out better. She didn't really add much aside from being the wacky friend. And honestly, Danny wasn't much of a friend in return, so I wasn't sure what that was all about.

But a lovely read nonetheless.

Thanks to Pen Name Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Les Joseph.
Author 5 books37 followers
February 11, 2015
This book gets ALLLLLL the stars! One of the very best YA books I've EVER read. It was sweet, funny, romantic, painful, poignant, heartbreaking, uplifting ... it had everything. Danny's journey to figure out who he is and who he wants to be is one that everyone can relate to, but that's what makes it so absolutely wonderful. The pain of loss, the wonder of first love, the disappointment that your parents aren't perfect, the fear of the unknown, the hope for the future -- it's all here in an incredible story with characters I won't soon forget. This is a definite must read! (and this title and how it brings the whole story together is just pure perfection!)
Profile Image for Kristen.
1,799 reviews29 followers
August 5, 2016
This is another one of those indie-publishing-company books that I like to find--and it was just lovely. Heartbreaking and hopeful and funny and gooey--everything I want in a good teen drama/romance. Danny is the perfect imperfect male narrator (which I'm currently obsessed with), and the relationships he forms with the other characters (Rusty, Cher...even his parents) just unfold in a way that is emotional and pleasurable. Some of the romance is a LITTLE cheesy and cliche, but I honestly didn't care--Danny and Rusty are just too freaking adorable. I just really enjoyed the story.
Profile Image for Iuri.
94 reviews9 followers
September 16, 2015
Very nice book, with interesting characters. I tend to fall for main characters, but I don't think Danny really got me here. But I understand a lot of things about him and we have, in fact, a lot in common.
It's also important to register that this book has the coolest parents (and other adults) in YA! I would love to read some Angry Alice / Alex stories from their teenager years.
Profile Image for george ☽.
310 reviews188 followers
April 17, 2017
1.5 stars

okay, so good things first: the writing was nice (maybe a little... faux-deep in places, but overall this was well-written) and it wasn't really offensive. otherwise- there was little i liked about this.

cher was... a strange character. it's not that she was loud, bubbly and quirky (there does seem to be an overabundance of those characters in YA books, but that wasn't what particularly bugged me)- it's just... beautiful boy? when they first met? it's just not realistic.

the romance was cute- but i'm not a fan of insta-love and this book had it in spades. i will say kudos to the author for actually addressing that it was insta-love within the narrative, but i didn't feel it was really resolved. i can handle insta-attraction, but when characters are throwing around 'i love you' after only having met 3 or 4 times, it just becomes a little ridiculous. and whilst rusty wasn't exactly a gary stu, he came pretty close. he didn't seem to have many flaws, and the relationship drama at the end of the book felt a bit unecessary.

the loss of danny's brother sam is said to affect the whole family massively- but i didn't believe it. it was said that they were all grieving, and i know there was a time jump within the plot of a few months, but i didn't feel the loss of sam affected the family. to be honest, they all just seemed... fine?

i wasn't a massive fan of the plot line involving pat jones, either. i think it was said in the narrative that people tended to perceive danny as stereotypically 'gay', but that first lesson with pat was just... something else. i went to high-school- i know that guys like pat exist, and i know that homophobic slurs are thrown around constantly, both in the classroom and outside of it. but... it still felt so contrived. they had never even met before?

i just think this one wasn't for me, but i do understand why most of the reviews so far are quite postitive- it is a cute, fluffy romance that deals with loss and finding your true identity.
Profile Image for Bianca Frances.
85 reviews189 followers
March 6, 2015
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"In the end, we're all just one big group of freaks I guess, trying to find ourselves in this crazy world. And all I'll ever be is that gay boy, trying desperately to find my own something to live for, never realizing that those things most important are always right in front of your face."

Danny has always been following his twin brother, Sam. From the clothes he wore, to the friends he hung out with. Danny was perfectly contented living as a shadow for Sam. But one day, everything was torn apart after Sam got involved in a freak accident. From that moment on, Danny had to deal with the loss of the only person he thought cared, and his own identity.

When I first read this book, it never occurred to me that I would get so attached to the characters, not only to Danny and Rusty - Danny's something to live for, but even to Sam.

As much as I loved and rooted for Danny, I always seemed to look for bits and hints of Sam. I loved that there was a mystery he left, that we all just have to put up together on our own. Believe it or not, he may not have lived in the book, I've always felt a sense of grief whenever he'd be brought up, as if I already knew and learned to love his character.

This book has given me a lot of emotions to deal with whether it be grief or happiness. It always seemed to excite me whenever I'd finally be done with schoolwork and continue reading. All of the characters were worth rooting for and the book portrayed love and loss beautifully - that's something I love about this book. Everyone was so genuine, and just full of heart. Really well done.
Profile Image for Kristi.
3 reviews1 follower
August 15, 2014
I will preface this review with letting other readers know that I am not the best review writer, but here goes... First of all, I thought that Peter Monn was effective in informing the readers about the issues that today's teens face. Some issues like teen pregnancy and suicide were issues when I was that age (a long, long time ago), and now others are in the media spotlight like bullying and hate crimes. I liked how Monn managed to touch upon so many teen issues without making any of them steal the thunder from the love story that is Danny and Rusty.
I do know Peter, and miss him tons in person, but I am not writing this because I do know him. This is solely from a reader's viewpoint. There are so many memorable, quotable, life-changing sentences that I highlighted and will refer back to when needed. This novel is heart-touching, emotional, and takes one back to that age. I felt like a teenager, with the same fears and rejections, overwhelming love and urgency, and the enveloping acceptance and safety in the family unit.
I definitely recommend this book to everyone and will have my children read it when they are closer to teen years.
Profile Image for Tammy Subia.
41 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2014
I really enjoyed reading The Before Now and After Then. At times, the story had a very Perks of Being a Wallflower-feel to it. While some parts of Danny's character annoyed me (saying he's in love after one weekend, completely ignoring his best friend once he's in a relationship), I still felt like these parts lent authenticity to the character. Because teenagers, of course, aren't always perfect. They're often selfish and impulsive and fall in love too fast.

The relationship between Danny and Rusty did move too fast, but I appreciated the intensity of it. Right from their first shared look, I was rooting for them.

I also really liked how the bad guy didn't turn out to be all bad. While sometimes in real life, the villain may stay the villain all the way until the end, I think more often than not, even people who have done really bad things can be redeemed. And I think the author did a good job of illustrating how people are often more complicated than we first judge them to be.

Overall, I think the author really established his own unique voice with this story.
Profile Image for Justine.
92 reviews4 followers
March 1, 2015
This showed up as a suggested book for me on Amazon based on others I have purchased, and I'm glad it did. Between the fun and intriguing cover and the story line, I knew this was something I had to read. I started and finished it in a day; I couldn't put it down.

There was something about the relationship between Danny and Rusty that was just so sweet. They experienced the innocence of a first love and the hardships that come with it. I loved the character of Cher, with her quirky and feisty nature. It bothered me that Danny didn't really seem to pay that much attention to her when she cared so deeply about him. I kind of confused why she considered him to be such a good friend with how little he spoke to or saw her outside of school. Regardless, it's a book worth reading, especially if you enjoy books with LGBT characters.
Profile Image for Charlie.
14 reviews2 followers
January 20, 2016
I was granted the right to read this book for review a long time ago, it was one of the first ever books I had the right to read for review and therefore a very special book to me. The books cover itself has changed since I read it.

I have to admit the book completely blew me away, I wasn't worried about the book but I just kind of wasn't fully excited to read it but once I got into it I just couldn't stop. I connected with all of the characters, it was hard not to and there were almost instantaneous bonds.

I have to give the book a 5 out of 5 it had me hooked and I found it very hard to let the book go, it was by far one of the best books I've read and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read and review it.

I must recommend it to anyone because why not? its an amazing read and you'd be missing out on the work of the lovely Peter Monn.
Profile Image for Michelle.
246 reviews29 followers
May 8, 2015
I mean, I don't really know how to feel.

On one hand, the whole premise of the book is that Danny doesn't know who he is because all of his life he just followed in his twin brother's foot steps. So you would think this book would be about Danny discovering himself after his twin brother Sam dies in a car crash. But to be honest, I don't know how you can find yourself when you instantly enter into a relationship and everything you like becomes the things they like? That's not really discovering yourself.

But on the other hand it, I didn't hate it. I didn't love it either. It was more like, okay I finished it and it wasnt terrible but I probably wouldn't read it again and I liked it enough to get all the way through it even if some parts were wayyyyyy tooooooo sapppyyyyyyyy.
Profile Image for Brittany.
725 reviews25 followers
September 12, 2016
If I've ever read a book that is simultaneously sweet and gut-wrenching, it is this one. Danny had me hooked from the first page; his sorrow and quiet strength are so obvious is everything he does.

I felt myself whispering to Danny that it would be okay, and smiling at his old-soul comments to his parents, who are unique and complicated and amazing characters.

I like a character driven novel, and that's what this is...it's a bath of striking personalities in various stages of conflict, commotion and compassion...it's a small-press book, so there are flaws (typos/grammatical errors here and there), but I stopped caring after about 50 pages because it's excellent.
Profile Image for Jenny Kelly.
1 review1 follower
August 2, 2014
A captivating story of a young man's journey of self-discovery via first loves and great loss, best friends and bullies, retro parents and punk rock. Peter Monn's debut novel took this reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions, I cried, I laughed, I was angry. I smiled, I sighed, and I was proud of the main character, Danny, for finishing this story with his head held high. A must read for any young adult-whether struggling with self-identity, or seemingly well adjusted, this novel presents important life lessons, invaluable to all mankind.
Profile Image for Kristina.
10 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2014
This book is an excellent inspiring read, regardless of age group. The story is about such an amazing character who is dealing with trials and tribulations as a teenager going through life's woes. Uplifting writing and a beautiful story. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Barb Jaszai.
81 reviews4 followers
July 11, 2016
This book crushed me. The love story was so endearing, the characters were so likable, the tragedy so heartbreaking. Everything about this story takes you to the stretch of your emotions from sadness to happiness and everything in between and back again. OH! This is a must read.
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