Rose Montgomery parks her family’s trailer in Fort Glory, Oregon with one goal: to carve out a new life for herself and her little brother, Charlie. They need a fresh start for their family, and she thinks she's finally found it in a town where nobody knows them.
But Rose’s plans come crashing down when, in an instant, Fort Glory disappears and every person in town vanishes into thin air—including Charlie.
Rose and four other teens become trapped in the Fold, a patch of woods caught halfway between the real world and the lost town. In the Fold, a mysterious force suspends the laws of physics, and everyone’s inner darkness has the power to kill.
To survive the Fold, Rose must unravel the clues Charlie sends her from the missing town. And Rose has to find Charlie soon—or he'll be gone forever.
Stories were a central part of Danielle Stinson's childhood. Growing up in a military family meant frequent moves across the US and abroad. She spent many summers in her room surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of library books. She currently lives with her husband and four boys in Virginia, where she writes fiction for young adults. Before I Disappear is her debut novel.
I did not understand what was happening, I felt consistently confused, AND I felt overheated and displeased.
The last one might have been at least in part due to the climate change-induced hell in which we all exist, but I can't say for sure.
This had one of my least favorite tropes (annoying perfect younger sibling who an elder sibling has to do everything for) and is in one of my least favorite subgenres (young adult vaguely sci-fi) and provided one of my least favorite vibes (confusion, but not even really that because to be confused implies I care about figuring out what's going on, and I don't care about any part of this).
The writing was fine. The concept was creative. The characters are meh.
This was not fun for me.
Bottom line: No thanks!
this sounds like way too much. can't wait!
update: it was bad.
review to come / 1.5 stars
challenging myself to read as many review copies as possible this month because i'm addicted to projects!
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
"Because sometimes you have to leave to survive."
Before I disappear is a YA sci-fi that tells us the story of Rose, a teenager with a tragic past that is suddenly thrown into a warped reality where her new town Fort Oregon, is swallowed by an alternative dimension. Rose must find her younger brother, Charlie, to save him. Charlie is the only one able to save the town from the mysterious entity called the black nothing. While trapped in the forest aka the Fold, Rose meets the outcast of the town, Ian. Along the way other people appear. Together they must seek Charlie and avoid the danger that lurks at every corner ruled by the supernatural while time is running out. I really liked the bond between Rose and her brother. It was touching and it felt real. I think Rose was an amazing protagonist and she had great leadership skills. I loved how raw and determined she was. I was surprised with her past. The concept of alternative dimensions was a bit scary but it was well done. I loved the eerie feel the descriptions of the sceneries added. I also liked Ian a lot, he had some pretty good advice to offer and was a really sweet boy. However considering his past issues with trust, I felt he fell in love with Rose a bit too fast. I liked Rose's group but they felt underdeveloped considering Rose and Ian's steady development. I think that was my biggest disappointment. Charlie was a great and definitely the most intriguing character of all, he really broke my heart. However, his metaphorical chapters although very poetic were utterly confusing and really hard to understand. Charlie's pov was really hard to follow. I also think Rose at the end was a little bit deus ex machina but the end was appropriate considering the circumstances. It was an enjoyable read, a 3.5 stars in a rating scale of 5. If you enjoy sci-fi Ya with a touch of eerie supernatural you about definitely give it a try! I'll also definitely read the next book the author writes. TW: violence; death; abusive relationship.
Rating: ★★★★✬ (4.5/5 Stars) Title: Before I Disappear Author(s): Danielle Stinson Character(s): ― Rose Montgomery: 17 years old, Brunette, Blue Eyed ― Charlie Montgomery: 10 years old, Black, Violet Eyed Setting: Fort Glory, Oregon Tag(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance Content Rating: PG POV: First Person (Heroine) Smexy Level: Subtle Favorite Quote(s): ― "Can you hear the music, Rosie?" ― "Ever since that night in July, I don't wear makeup, or rebel against authority, or drive above the speed limit. staying out of trouble is pretty much at the top of my priority list. But the thing about trouble is that it has a way of finding you. Especially when you are looking for it." ― "Don't let Ian's manner put you off. He's rough around the edges, but so's gold before it's polished. There's more to a thing then the look of it." ― "The music in a dark is loud, but it's not as strong as the song inside of us. You'll feel it. Right here. It'll bring you halfway there. The rest you'll have to do on your own. Remember, Rosie. Promise me you'll remember." ― "Charlie. Charlie is the only thing that matters. He is my reason. My meaning. The answer to every question in my universe." Overall Opinion: The night in July changed everything and nothing's been right since the birds stopped singing. It's as if they felt the darkness coming, and by the looks of things, it has finally come forever changing Rose's life. From chapter one, Danielle Stinson beautifully written young adult fantasy debut hit me right in the feels and she had me questioning myself on what would anyone do if they were walking in Rose's shoes. The gut wrenching emotions she was able to express with her writing style and detail descriptions as well as Rose's drive to find her little brother won me over. At first it was strange how easily I was able to connect with the heroine and her journey to find Charlie before I realized I had my very own Charlie in real life that I would do anything to save if I was in her position. This novel was everything I imagined and more, and as I reached the end of the story, I was astonished about the well thought ending which left me wishing for more. It was near impossible to put this book down and thus far would consider "Before I Disappear" one of the best debuts of 2019.
I decided to DNF this one, sadly. I feel like I dont care at all about these characters and what’s happening. I’m just not feeling any emotions. It’s like I’m being told how to feel about the mystery and about the characters instead of pulling me in. In one part the MC is reminding herself she can’t trust anyone, not even anything she’s seeing, like its supposed to make it so mysterious but it feels like the author is trying to force me to feel it. As if that reminder was meant for me - to make sure I had the correct amount of suspicion in the right places towards this story.
Plus it also has a lot more sci-fi mumbo jumbo than I care for. Stuff about atoms and black holes, which, so early on, feels like it’s wanting me to already form theories and make educated guesses on what happened. (Likely so it can have a big “unexpected” twist, but that’s just my assumption.) I’m just not feeling it, but I’m sure some who are more into these kinds of stories could enjoy it. Hence the lack of an actual rating. It did have a Stranger Things feel to it which could be compelling to the right reader.
I'm probably pretty biased, so I'm just going to go ahead and say that I loved writing this book. I've carried Rosie and Charlie in my heart for so long, and I'm excited and awed that they are almost out there in the world.
Wow. This was such a mess. I found it extremely difficult to be immersed in a story that is far too convoluted for my taste and be invested in a plot device that seems so far-fetched and over-the-top that I could barely get through the other half of the book. My mind just got weary taking them all in. It was like saving an entire 18-wheeler from drowning in quicksand. Also, how could I ever leave some of the plot holes out? And I wouldn't even try to deny several moments of serious implausibility lodged in the narrative.
But still, I wouldn't deprive it of its indelible, poignant and heartwarming messages that seemed to be the only redeeming quality there is to it.
Everything was written in an overly intricate fashion and I clearly do not mean this in a good way. It was like writing some forbidding and highly unwonted phenomena that the author herself does not fully understand. Picture a kid playing Legos and just inserting blocks here and there and instead of forming a beautiful structure, he ends up building something nonsensical that does not look like anything at all. I get that it is something unique that's probably meant to attract millions of readers but it is just so difficult to grasp, even the writing seemed lost at some point and just plain unimaginable. I wanted to love it, make no mistake, I really did but it just didn't do it for me.
Nonetheless, I still liked the way the siblings grew more fond of each other along the way, their unconditional love for each other. And can I just take the time to appreciate Charlie? He is such a sweetheart, a lovely and adorable kid. I can't contain my affection for the way he did such reckless yet endearing exploits. But again, I was so disappointed by how the story closed out. And to top it all off, the reason behind what Charlie did at the end was so pointless. I haven't the slightest idea whether it was an error or the author had just forgotten how pandemonium broke out in the beginning because it was explicitly mentioned that the dark pulse began to happen within their world (like hello? The two guys Rose saw scuffling to death near the front of a certain store outside Fort Glory.) From this occurrence, anyone can see that this pulse has already materialized itself in their world so what is the point in doing that, Charlie?
Another thing I'm afraid I can't seem to get out of my head is the fact that Charlie went from being a victim of physical abuse to being someone who can control the dark pulse, open a gate to another dimension and see some unexplainable events and old memories of other people. Like, yeah I know Charlie is sweet and so selfless and loving but that was just too much and too instant, and so not backed up. Every time I read what he was doing inside the Black Nothing, I always find myself keen to ask where the hell that amazing ability came from. It made me want to wish I had some of that. But of course, with a much defined context and convincing origin to avoid misplaced skepticism.
This may be more engaging and appealing to some readers out there but I had more issues with the book than I had the luxury to enjoy every part of it. The evidence to support this is just peeking through the window. If you still haven't seen it or figured it out, then I will have to be more direct to allow you to know that I went through this torment for almost a month. If that doesn't tell you anything about this book, then I don't have anything else to say other than to offer you my best wishes. I just hope I don't get to the part where I utter an 'I told you so' to particularly anyone who tries to venture into this story soon. And I'm not trying to pull an innuendo or anything here. But remember, I did warn you, or did I really? Take a hint.
"We are never alone. Never. Even in the darkest places, there is light. Always. Everywhere. We just have to look for it."
I was pleasantly surprised by Before I Disappear. Following Rose, the caretaker of her mother and younger brother, the novel really begins when a science experiment goes wrong, ripping a hole in the fabric of our universe, and causing the small town of Fort Glory to disappear. Rose, along with a few others, are trapped in the Fold, a place between our world and the dimensional rift. Desperate to survive and find her younger brother, Rose and the others must find a way to break out of the Fold and rescue the people of Fort Glory before they all disappear.
Though this novel sounds like a a survival story, at its core, it is about facing yourself and learning to make the best of hard choices. The relationship Rose forms with the others stuck in the Fold is achingly beautiful, as is the way she slowly opens up to Ian. The plot started out a little slow, but things picked up around page 100. The writing was well done, and the author made every word seem intentional. This book does deal with abuse, rape, attempted suicide, bullying, and murder, so keep that in mind if you choose to pick it up. Certain events that occurred later in the novel were left unexplained, which is why I am docking points. Overall, I really enjoyed Before I Disappear, and hope that more people will read in the future.
There is a short but heartbreaking scene in "Before I Disappear" that tells you all you need to know about Danielle Stinson's writing skill. It takes place in drugstore and has to do with a tube of red lipstick. When you get to that scene, and you start crying, remember this review. And the thing is, Stinson's wonderfully inventive science fiction novel has very little to do with lipstick or drugstores, and everything to do with time and space and the hidden places between them. It also has to do with love, romantic love --yes -- but also family love and the love of humanity. After a terrifyingly rendered freak accident (having to do with secret physics experiments) Rose, the novel's tough, practical and loving female protagonist must save her brother -- and her whole town -- from being lost forever. In the process, she and her few companions must their own fears, secrets, and devastating personal realities. The science fiction/physics scenes are told in a confident fashion, with a touch of magic, but what truly capture the reader are interpersonal elements -- especially between Rose and her brother Charlie. This debut novel evokes Madeleine L'Engle and Ursula LeGuin with elements of Twin Peaks and Stranger Things, but is also something complete original, with a heroine readers will love. And don't forget that scene in the drugstore.
Rose together with her mother and brother Charlie moves from the city to the city. They are running and trying to find a safe place to live. Their next stop is Fort Glory. Rose wants this city to be their final destination. She works at Rusty where she meets people from the city and a lot of journalists who are trying to gain more information about DARC scientific organization. Rose is trying to fit in and ask her family to do the same. Her brother is very different from other kids. He is absent most of the time living in his own world but also he is very sensitive on sounds that no one hears and their environment. He hears the song of coming darkness and warns his sister about it. Rose is too busy to understand what he means and thinks it’s all just his weird way of expressing his feelings. She changes her mind when she leaves the city for an interview in another city and there no way back home as the city disappeared together with people inside including her brother and mother. She is trying to find her way to find her family and bring them back.
The unique story of unexpected events, full of science and unbreakable love. The characters in the book have a wide told past. They are also developing with each chapter of the book.
Rose is a caring good person who does everything for her family without thinking about herself. She is ready to sacrifice her life to save her younger brother from the darkness. She meets Ian, Blaine, Jeremy, and Becca in the forest where they stuck and without a way to go out. They become friends and care for each other. With the time they all together need to face dangerousness of the forest they are in.
One of the most interesting characters in the book is Charlie, the younger brother of Rose. He acts differently from the beginning of the book. I like the way he sees the world. He would never leave a single soul to suffer. Charlie feels the world more intensive. Thanks to this, he is able to save lives during the dark times which met the city.
I didn’t finish a book yet because I’m on the vacation right now and didn’t have as much time to read it. I have 50 more pages to go so I’m very close to the end. However, I can already say how good is this book. I didn’t expect the events of the book and the relationships in it. The book is a fast read because when you start you can’t put the book down. I highly recommend it to people who like to read a book where fantasy meets science. You will love this book and all the characters in it.
Review was originally posted here to Booked J. As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for participating in the blog tour/my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.
Everything happens for a reason. But what happens when a mysterious force engulfs and entire town and most of the people living within it? Before I Disappear sets its bleak and chilling atmosphere straightaway. It's so captivating, readers all pulled in within a few pages and everything feels as though it is passing you in slow motion.
When I read the synopsis, I expected something that would resemble parts of The Leftovers (the book and HBO television series of the same name) and Stranger Things in tone but what Danielle Stinson has created is so much more than that. It is the very sort of riveting that will leave you feeling breathless and on the edge of your seat.
What makes Before I Disappear unforgettable is the way that each of the central mysteries unfold for the readers--the way that Stinson paces the novel and divides the POV makes reading it all the more tense. Where there is tension and mysterious forces, and events that will leave readers wondering, there is resolution. Within each page lays plotlines woven together so intricately, you can feel its energy crackling in the air.
You can expect to feel heartbreak and awe throughout the course of Before I Disappear. One thing is certain: it is an experience you'll never forget. This story will consume you. It is easily one of the best young adult novels of the year and, frankly, something you cannot miss.
No matter your age, this book will keep you reading until its final page. The rest of your week will be devoted to thoughts of Before I Disappear and its characters. It goes without saying, Danielle Stinson is a force to be reckoned with and the best debut author of 2019.
Thank you NetGalley for providing this digital ARC.
This YA sci-fi is an absolute piece of art. There are truly no words to capture just how gorgeous this novel is—the writing, the storyline, the characters—all of it touched me to my core.
World-building & storyline The very first lines in this book pull you in to a mysterious work where you know things are off kilter, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. When conversations about string theory, wrinkles in time and space continuum, and multiple dimensions cropped up, I was hooked. A Wrinkle in Time and When You Reach Me are two of my favorite middle grade books of this ilk, and Before I Disappear has just made it to the ranks of top YA of this kind.
The debut author, Danielle Stinson, has a unique writing style that follows a “less is more approach” which I appreciate and enjoy. Every page, every paragraph, every sentence, every word adds to the plot, world-building, or character development. There is no writing to fill pages or to sound writerly. It all has a precise purpose, and what a purpose it is. I’m in awe of how her words created images of incredibly difficult concepts and ideas. The book could have been too dense with ideas, but the style of writing is what allowed it to be readable and so enjoyable.
The character development was spot-on. Again, Stinson carefully created layered characters who unraveled bit by bit along with the plot. Mysteries about the character felt true and were revealed in a way that feels like slowly opening up a package with multiple presents within one another. I fell in love with Rose and her relationship with her brother. I grew just as fond with the secondary characters, and I cared deeply with what would happen to them.
I tore through the last hundred pages and cried through the ending. What an incredible experience, reading this book. I have a feeling this book is going places. Thank you, Danielle for pouring your heart and soul and energy into this book. I can’t wait to see more books from you in the future.
"Mom told me once that every person was a strange land with their own strange weather." BEFORE I DISAPPEAR is an epic SciFi adventure full of strange weather and land. It follows Rose, a teen girl who is more of a caretaker than a child, and who fights daily to mobilize her mother and brother out of poverty and violent circumstances. When the town Rose and her family live in mysteriously disappears into thin air with all of the residents (including her brother Charlie), everything changes for Rose. She, alongside a misfit crew of teens, trapped in an in-between place called The Fold, must fight to bring back the town, and Charlie, before darkness takes them all to another dimension. This book is part Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time", part Gary Paulsen's "Hatchet", as Rose must survive in a strange wood, where time, space, emotions, and weather are constantly changing. Rose is a serious, driven, strong female character, who chooses to see the good in the people around her, while at the same time coming to terms with deep trauma of her own. BEFORE I DISAPPEAR is a disorientating, dark, but hopeful journey. It's the kind of book that will keep you guessing and turning pages till the end.
Mini blurb: A resourceful girl and four other teens find themselves stranded in an alternate-universe no-man-land, and have to survive a series of ordeals while searching for her missing brother and a way out of there.
Rated 2.5 really.
I had VERY high expectations for this one, but it was too confusing and it never managed to make me feel connected to the characters (not even Charlie, the brave, sweet, somehow otherworldly missing brother) like I hoped it would. The science bordered on the supernatural too often, despite the whole thing having a definite Stranger Things vibe. Everyone had so much baggage, and their stories had the potential to break your heart - but for some reason, mine was largely unaffected. Also, it didn't help that there were a few tropes thrown in for good measure, like the reformed bad boy with a heart of gold and the dreaded instalove. Bonus points for a brave girl handy with tools and a poignant, non-HEA ending.
Note: definitive review. I don't have enough to say to justify writing a full-length one later, and of course I don't plan to reread this book
What can I say? Except maybe that I'm head over heels for this book. It has everything I love: feels, rich worldbuilding, page turning suspense, and feels. (THE FEELS! OMG!) The writing alone gave me goosebumps dozens of times. The science is woven seamlessly into the story. And this cast of characters is brilliantly rendered. I can feel my heart tugging me back to read this one again.
You know how sometimes you start reading a book, and within just a few pages, you’re already saying, “I LOVE this!”? That was Before I Disappear for me. Right away, I could tell there was going to be something special in these pages—I was immediately wrapped up in the intrigue: What’s so odd about Charlie? What’s this music he’s hearing? Why have they had to move so much? What are they running from? What dangers are lurking in Fort Glory?
Well, I’m happy to say that the book never let me down. I was riveted throughout. I don’t want to say too much about what happens because I think it will be more fun to discover on your own, but I will say that a whole lot of craziness ensues when Fort Glory disappears. But I also loved these characters. Both Ian and Rose are obviously broken in many ways, but you can tell that both of them want something more out of life. I was definitely hoping these two would end up together in the end. Then there’s sweet Becca, nerdy Blaine and Jeremy, who has his own role to play, but I don’t want to say much about it. And Charlie. Ah, Charlie: full of mystery and wonder. And poetry! His short sections are written in verse (and I couldn’t have loved them more!!). I will say, I had pretty much figured out Rose’s secret long before the big reveal at the end, but that didn’t ruin the emotional impact of it. Honestly, I can’t think of much to say as far as negatives go. This book was pure perfection!
Perfect for fans of Stranger Things or A Wrinkle in Time (the book distinctly reminded me of both of those at some points—even while it stood very much on its own), this mind-bending sci-fi is sure to set your imagination racing!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley and FFBC blog tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Every now and then you come across a story you know you’ll never forget. A timeless story that's categorized as “Young Adult,” but is worth reading at any age or stage of life. For me, BEFORE I DISAPPEAR is one of those stories. This novel is a fast-paced, entertaining read that’s hard to put down, but it’s also so much more than that. I loved the eerie atmosphere that transported me to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. I loved the intrigue surrounding an entire town disappearing without a trace. I loved the way the author used Physics to deepen the plot and make you think. I loved the gorgeous, poetic writing. I loved the twists and turns that kept me up reading way too late into the night.
But most of all, I loved the characters.
Rose Montgomery is an uncommon YA heroine. She’s brave, independent, resourceful, and smart, but I liked how she wasn’t “in your face” in a stereotypical way. Rose has had a tough life that has caused her to grow up way too fast, but her strength and maturity are genuine and shown more through her actions than her words. And while there is a subtle but swoon-worthy romance woven into all the action, the real love story is between Rose and her little brother, Charlie. I can’t think of many other novels that portray a sibling relationship in such a compelling way--you truly feel how much Rose loves her brother and have no doubt that Charlie is a special soul worth risking everything for...which Rose does.
The secondary characters are also fantastic (Rowena is my favorite!). Stinson has a talent for throwing a group of unlikely people into a challenging situation and allowing the natural conflict that comes from such a ragtag bunch to create tension that drives the story. The ending of this book will have you in tears AND on the edge of your seat (a difficult combination to pull off!), but it’s the characters, the beautiful prose, and the promise of hope that will remain with you long after you finish reading.
“(...)he taught me that we are never alone. Never. Even in the darkest places, there is light. Always. Everywhere. We just have to look for it.“
It had mysterious, dark and paranormal vibes, which I love. But at the end I was quite confused, because I didn’t understand what and why something happened. Overall I liked this and it showed how people can get stronger and help others even when they themselves are lost in grief, sadness and misery.
In literary criticism, the Big Idea proposed by science fiction authors is called a novum: a time machine! An intelligent computer! A warp drive! An android! Far too often, the fiction part of science fiction focuses on cardboard characters interacting with the consequences of whatever the novum might be, and while the Big Idea can often times be fun...the best stories are about people, not things. For example, the popular series Stranger Things on Netflix has make dimensional portals popular, but this book--like the Netflix series--is much more about the people who are impacted by this terrifying phenomena than the phenomena itself.
Before I Disappear is about people--flawed, struggling, loving people--interacting with a terrifying event that sets reality itself askew. I was reminded of both A Wrinkle in Time and The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset in some of the book's plot devices, but Stinson's story is very much her own. This is no simple tale of good versus evil, or of scrappy young people becoming unlikely friends in the face of some terrible mystery. The characters in this story are both heroic and deeply wounded, which only makes them more compelling to read about. I found myself completely caught up in not only the story, but in the personal arc of each and every one of them. The best compliment I can give a book is this one: I wanted to know what would happen next so much that I didn't want to put the book down.
Some of Stinson's writing jumps off of the page. "We have to meet the darkness where it lives and fight to get them back" (pg. 213). "To love is to open yourself up to pain. The deepest pain there is. But it is worth the feeling." (pg. 320). And, "Because there are a million things that separate us, but none of them will ever be as strong as the ties that bind us together." (pg. 334). These truths transcend what I normally read in YA fiction. These observations are beyond most science fiction that I read as well.. There is a wisdom here; a depth of observation of life, the universe, and everything else that I found quite captivating.
So, yeah...read Before I Disappear. You won't be disappointed! I will definitely read more of this author's work.
Disclaimer: I received this book on NetGalley and from the publisher. I was also given a copy from Fantastic Flying Book Club. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 16+ (disappearing people and spooky happenings)
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
Synopsis: Rose Montgomery parks her family’s trailer in Fort Glory, Oregon with one goal: to carve out a new life for herself and her little brother, Charlie. They need a fresh start for their family, and she thinks she's finally found it in a town where nobody knows them.
But Rose’s plans come crashing down when, in an instant, Fort Glory disappears and every person in town vanishes into thin air—including Charlie.
Rose and four other teens become trapped in the Fold, a patch of woods caught halfway between the real world and the lost town. In the Fold, a mysterious force suspends the laws of physics, and everyone’s inner darkness has the power to kill.
To survive the Fold, Rose must unravel the clues Charlie sends her from the missing town. And Rose has to find Charlie soon—or he'll be gone forever
Review: I thought the writing was amazing in this book, you can tell the author is well mastered in this book. The characters are well developed, the story is amazingly vibrant, and the whole book just feels you with this eerie feeling. It’s a good book for thrill seekers.
However, I did think that the book was very hard to get into and the pacing is really slow. The book can be confusing at times too and it demands absolute attention.
Verdict: If you can devote yourself to this book it’s amazing!
I'm a little conflicted about this book ughhh. I really enjoyed the characters, their relationships to each other and the siblings vibes in this, the connection and the MC's need to find her brother just, yes, I LOVE this. This book also surprised me with some of the twists and discoveries about the characters. Yet, I felt.... very confused at times, too, by the inner workings of it all to fully immerse myself into it. Tentative rating: 3,5 stars. Full review coming soon :)
Thank you to MacMillan International for the ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influenced my thoughts and rating.
Rose, her mother, and her little brother Charlie have been on the move for a long time, trying to escape a man who hurt them in the past. They find themselves in Fort Glory, Oregon - a place that Charlie was drawn to for unknown reasons. Fort Glory happens to be home to the Deep Atomic Research Collider (DARC), which has recently come back online after being shut down for years. Some people think it is the cause of some strange happenings and violent crimes around the town. Rose, however, is undeterred by this and is hoping that her family can finally put down roots. She has secretly applied to Hands for Hearths, an organization that builds houses for families in need. Before she leaves for her meeting at Hands for Hearths, Charlie makes a cryptic statement asking Rose not to leave him alone, “The music in the dark. It’s coming faster now. The cracks are getting wider...I’ll be here. Soon. The dark is coming, and I don’t want to be alone.” Rose leaves him anyway and that is the last she will see of her brother for a while because some weird stuff is about to go down. As Rose is leaving the Hands for Hearths office, she notices some fast-moving clouds on the horizon and a high pitched whining sound accompanied by a change in air pressure that makes her skull feel like it’s about to explode. Other people are having similar reactions and some are also acting out in violent ways. Rose drives away as quickly as she can to try to get back to her mother and brother, but she soon realizes that the town of Fort Glory has disappeared. Rose ends up stuck in the wilderness outside the space where the town used to be with several other teens. One of them is Blaine, who (as luck would have it) has an uncle who is a scientist working at the DARC whose work focused on proving the existence of extra dimensions. He even wrote a book about it, which (as luck would have it) Blain has with him. There are a few other teens along for the ride including a love interest for Rose.
The set up of this book was pretty intriguing. It has a creepy Strangers Things vibe where something mysterious is going on in the town and you’re not sure quite what it is. That’s where my positive comments end for this one. The “science” aspect of the plot was so convoluted that I can’t even begin to explain it. Rose keeps thinking that she sees her brother, but he is always just out of reach. Everyone who has met Charlie agrees that he is special, so they come to the logical conclusion that he is connected to the whole extra dimension wormhole thing that they have determined is happening. There are short chapters from Charlie’s point of view interspersed here and there that read sort of like free-verse poetry and don’t really make any sense. There are also flashbacks from Rose’s point of view that serve to show Charlie’s specialness and light. Though there are high stakes in this book, I never really cared about what happened to the characters. Though there is a lot of explaining, I never really understood the “science” of what was happening. Overall, this novel had a great premise that ultimately fell flat. Optional purchase where teen science fiction is popular.
This author writes with a lyrical voice. At times the protagonist's thoughts are nearly poetic. If you like that sort of thing, you might like this book. However. You must also like incredibly abstract physics talk. Neither of these appealed to me, and I don't foresee it appealing to many teens.
17-year-old Rosie has just arrived in Fort Glory, Oregon determined to make a new start. Things have not been good since her father disappeared with no reason. Her mother suffers from depression and her brother, Charlie, has always been unusual. Rosie has been forced into the role of adult. That's why she finds herself in the next town over, applying for a Habit for Humanity type house, when a strange geophysical force causes unusual weather and seismic activities. She rushes to get back to her brother and finds the town has just vanished. She is caught in a limbo forest between the vanished town and the rest of the world with three other boys and one of their sisters. One of the boys is the nephew of a scientist who works in the particle collider beneath their city. He claims there is a connection. Rosie only wants to get her brother back. She can hear him in her mind and she has seen him, but she can't reach him. All of them are at risk for being absorbed into the darkness if they don't work fast.
That is the best I can do for a synopsis. This was the most confusing book I have read in a long time. There is nothing more frustrating than not understanding what you are reading. I didn't understand any of the wormhole/parallel dimension weirdness. It was so abstract and so far over my sense of logic that I wanted to do physical harm to the book. It's a shame because it started off really good and had so much potential. I would love to snatch those characters out of this book and put them into something that makes sense.
Before I Disappear is marketed as Arrival meets A Wrinkle in Time. I've never Arrival nor have I ever read A Wrinkle in Time, so I went into this novel pretty blind.
Rose Montgomery has had a hard life. After their latest setback, her, her brother Charlie, and her mother find themselves in Fort Glory, Oregon. Rose's goal is to make a better life for her younger brother and her mother. Before she knows it, everything is flip-turned upside down and Fort Glory seems to be gone. Poof, into thin air. Taking Charlie and her mother along with it.
Rose finds herself trapped in The Fold with four others who have to rely on each other to figure out how to survive. The Fold is a 30 mild wooded area hell-bent on killing them if they're not careful.
The whole time they're separated Charlie is sending Rose signals that help pave the way to save the group and their whole town.
I love the characters. Rose is amazingly grown up for her age due to the circumstance that led Rose and her family to Fort Glory. She's strong and resilient and hard-working. There's no one she cares about more than Charlie. Charlie is a wonder and he's selfless and it's not hard to see why Rose goes through everything she does to get him back.
There's a small relationship that blossoms between Rose and another character and I like the way Stinson wrote it in. It isn't the main plot of the story but it helps the story along. It's subtle and I'm all about subtle. Romance that's too in your face isn't for me so I really appreciated this aspect of the novel!
If sci-fi isn't your thing, take a leap of faith because it's not mine either and I still enjoyed this one quite a bit. Stinson focuses more on the driving forces of life like love and longing instead of making it all about sci-fi.
Part survival tale, part thematic exploration of darkness and light, this book has a lot going on in its pages: a mysterious disappearing town, family trauma, metaphysics, wormholes, multiple dimensions, magical connective threads, an exploration of male anger and female caretaking, a questionable corporation that *might* be responsible for a whole lot of bad s**t going down, abuse, grief, broken friendships, monsters, a search for a lost family member, and even a hint of romance. Told in Stinson's lyrical and vivid prose, the parts that stood out most for me were the flashback scenes between Rose and her mother or Rose and her brother. Though there's plenty of action in the present, the background scenes gave the story its emotional center and provided deep connective tissue that led us from beginning to end. There's a bit of a Peter Pan feel to the story, with a girl at the center who's charged with taking care of the lost boys (and one lost girl) a la Wendy. She emerges as both a maternal figure and a symbol of strength in adversity. As a lover of complicated young women at the center of stories, I appreciated that Rose came across so fully rounded and that her drive to save her brother was so strong. And never once did her confidence rely on a guy saying she was pretty. 5 stars for that alone.
Good book and good book discussion. Some ups and downs for me. I thought the writing was really lyrical full of emotion at times and then other times I thought it was going on a little long. I really think it falls in the category of magical realism more than science fiction.
This book is so many things — a sibling story, a tale of survival, a testament to friendship, a romance, and a deftly plotted sci-fi that left my mind spinning with wonder. Danielle’s prose is gorgeously lyrical, her descriptions are lush, and she conveys her characters’ emotions with raw clarity. BEFORE I DISAPPEAR broke my heart time and again, but left me feeling ultimately hopeful. I highly recommend this beautiful book!
Its about this girl who's just "living", and then her town disappears and then shes like "aw man!". And she finds this shady boy who is gonna help her get her town back! And the whole time shes like "Charlie Charlie" and she like forgets about her mother OR SOMETHING?! Like bro your mom is gone too. I'm exaggerating... But still.
In the middle of the book it starts to feel like a science fiction dystopian ya novel, theres love and drama and there trying to stay alive. And there like fighting a lot and they ALL hate each other, "intense"! Ehhehehheh. I'm like geez guys get along!
I'm also not all the way convinced that Ian isn't evil. Like his backstory. Im trying to say this without spoilers, I know I can push the button "my review has spoilers", but nah. He evil though.
But over all I liked the idea. Sometimes I'd be like "WhY DiD yUo Do thaT!!!?" But then I'd forget about it, so yay. But I like the ending. Some salty eye water came out of my eye at that ending.
Engaging, character-driven sci-fi! The book does a great job of integrating the real world struggles of Rose and her brother, Charlie, with an exciting action-packed sci-fi mystery. Highly recommended!