Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Before She Was Found” as Want to Read:
Before She Was Found
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Before She Was Found

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  9,174 ratings  ·  1,411 reviews
In this chilling thriller, a slumber party turns deadly

For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequen
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by Park Row (first published April 16th 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Before She Was Found, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,174 ratings  ·  1,411 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Before She Was Found
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
It was supposed to be a sleepover Three twelve-year-old girls, Cora, Violet and Jordyn, were having a sleepover at Cora's home. But then the trio decided to sneak out of Cora's home at midnight to go to the abandoned rail-yard. It was supposed to be a fun adventure. It turned into a nightmare.

Cora is found on the tracks by a woman walking her dog. She is covered in blood and barely alive. Violet and Jordyn are nowhere to be found. Later Violet is found and taken to the hospital and Jordyn turns
Nilufer Ozmekik
Five trembling, unputdownable, put my nerves on edge stars!
As I start that book, I didn’t have too big expectations. But it really surprised me because I loved every part of it! Not only it can be defined is a fantastic thriller but also it can be considered as a great psychological family drama!
This book is shocking, frustrating that slaps you across your face, pushes your buttons incessantly, pisses you off, makes you question your values and amazes you with its unexpected twists!
I got shocked
Mary Beth
3.5 stars

Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe--even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

I loved the first half of this book and I thought it was so creepy. I was so intrigued to find out who J.W. was? Everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. It was a fast paced thri
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf is a 2019 Park Row publication.

Riveting, all consuming suspense!

Almost a year after its release, I finally got around to reading this one! I was immediately sucked into this story and it held my undivided attention from start to finish.

The story is centered around three twelve-year old girls, with various backgrounds, who have a fragile friendship with one another. Cora is a naïve girl who only wants to fit in, Violet is the new kid on the block, and
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, edelweiss
Addictive and thrilling!

A vicious attack at the railway. One young girl left maimed and bleeding, with another victim almost shock. The third...surprisingly unwilling to help the authorities!

Cora never really fit in with her peers. Her best friend moved away to another town leaving her alone and desperate to find new friends.

Violet. The new girl in town. Sweet, quiet and unassuming. Her family recently relocated here from New Mexico looking for new beginnings. Actually, the truth
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Heather Gudenkauf joined us in The Behind the Pages group for as spoiler-free Q & A to talk about her books and her writing process.

You can view the Q & A here find

My review

Three Girls, an urban legend, a dark obsession and a chilling crime

Before She Was Found is a chilling, unsettlingly realistic, thought-provoking story that explores some teenage drama here with bullying, popularity, fitting in and approval. It goes a little deeper than just mean girls
Abandoned @ page 95.

Chalk my inability to finish up to reader preference—in terms of plot—not readability or writing style.

I've been much choosier when it comes to reading selections as of late, cutting ties with books I'm not enjoying, in favor of seeking out those that *demand* my undivided attention.

Heather Gudenkauf's compelling opener convinced me I had to tote her newest release home from the library. My assumptions of what the experience could be versus actuality forcing a hard-stop at
Before She Was Found

Twelve year old Cora is found at an abandoned train depot, lying near the railroad tracks, with a broken arm, a stab wound in the torso, and lacerations and blunt trauma to her face. She had been at a sleepover with two other 12 year old girls, Violet, who was found covered in blood, in the same area as Cora and Jordyn who showed up at home not long after Cora was attacked. Cora can't talk and the other two girls are too scared to or don't want to talk.

This is a living night
Holly  B (semi-hiatus until Nov)

Some mixed feelings about this one!

My favorite element was the different formats that kept it interesting and kept the story moving forward (always a plus), It was a mix of  real time, journal excerpts, different POV's , online chat room discussions and police interviews, BUT I was wanting more follow through to some of the incidents.

I wanted to keep reading on, but wasn't really "enjoying" what I was reading and kept feeling disappointed in the direction it was taking. I liked all
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Mean Girls and Slenderman had a baby, Before She Was Found would be that baby.

An attempted murder scene, three preteen girls, one missing, one covered in blood and one clinging to life. And all three are utterly unreliable narrators. I mean, what's not to love about that?

The best word I can find to describe this book is gripping. I read it in one sitting, though technically I was lying but whatever, tomayto-tomahto.

Having never even heard of Heather Gudenkauf I had no idea what to expect fr
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa!!! This YA mystery / thriller has exceeded my expectations! See ya, book slump!

Cora is a lonely 12 year old girl, her one and only best friend moved away months ago, so when a new girl, Violet, appears in her class she is over the moon with excitement and wants nothing more than to become friends with this mysterious new girl.

Unfortunately for Cora, Jordyn (the most popular girl in class and mean girl extraordinaire) is also interested in becoming Violets friend. For Cora this poses a hug
Diane S ☔
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor-2019
Well this one reeled me in, hook, line and sinker! And no there are no actual fish in this story. Fishy occurrences yes, real fish, no. Though to be honest this author and I have a good relationship between writer and reader.

Three twelve year old girls, sneak out of the house on midnight, of the girl hosting the sleepover. One is discovered in terrible condition, clinging to life after being beaten and stabbed. Another is found covered with blood, in shock but otherwise unhurt. The third ran ho
Gripping, chilling, & mind-blowing stuff here!

I definitely have to start my review off with a little message to you HEATHER GUDENKAUF, you are by far one of my must-read and absolute favourite thriller writers ever and this book was freakin’ fantastic!!!!

BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND by HEATHER GUDENKAUF is an unsettling, dark, realistic, captivating, thought-provoking and fabulous thriller that pretty much had every aspect that I absolutely love in my thrillers. A haunting and chilling crime, a mysterio
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars. A haunting crime in a small town community.

Twelve-year-old classmates, Cora, Violet and Jordyn sneak out one night to visit the abandoned train yard at the edge of town. A night of sneaky mischief ends with Cora hospitalized with several stab wounds and Violent and Jordyn in shock and confusion as to what happened. Small town secrets are uncovered as the police question everyone connected to the three girls. Were all three girls victims of this brutal attack? Could one of the girls b
Susanne  Strong
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, buddy-read
4.5 Stars

All actions have consequences. When you are twelve years old however, you have absolutely no idea what they are going to be!

Cora has always had trouble making friends. She gets teased and bullied constantly at school, though her parents would never know it. When a new girl named Violet moves to town, Cora has high hopes, especially when they are paired up in class. That is, until Ms. Popular and Cora’s least favorite person, Jordyn, is paired with them. Then all of a sudden things seem
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
4.5 stars, rounded up
This is only my second book by Heather Gudenkauf, but boy, she does suspense well! This book just grabbed me and never let me go. It’s got that creepy tension that never lets you relax.
The story starts when a preteen sleepover goes horribly wrong. Three girls sneak down to the abandoned rail yard and one is accosted, supposedly by an urban legend.
We hear from a variety of characters, in a variety of mediums - private thoughts, text messages, journal entries, police intervi
𝓒𝓻𝓮𝓮𝓹𝔂 𝓤𝓷𝓼𝓮𝓽𝓽𝓵𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓐𝓭𝓭𝓲𝓬𝓽𝓲𝓿𝓮

Heather Gudenkauf has constructed a clever and compelling thriller with a mean girls vibe. Three 12 year old girls at a sleepover sneak out at midnight to the railyard. Cora is found stabbed and beaten, Violet is found soaked in blood, and Jordan is nowhere to be found. As the book progresses we get to know the girls better and understand the relationships between them. The girls had been working on a class project about urban legends, could that have something to do
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Holy smokes! This one grabbed me by the throat on the first page and didn't let up until the last. This was the kind of book I walked around my house reading while hoping no one needed anything.

Three 12 year old girls, "frenemies" by any definition, are having a sleepover. Why did they end up at the train tracks? Who attacked Cora so viciously and why? What do Violet and Jordyn know? Who's telling the truth? Which end is up? Help, I smell blue! The pressure built and built until the whole thing
WOW! This was mind-blowing good!

I have always enjoyed Heather Gudenkauf's books but boy did she knock this one out of the park ladies and gents! This exceeded my expectations in every way!

An attempted murder case, three twelve year old girls, one covered full of blood, one on the verge of dying, and another that left the scene. Talk about addicting and thrilling!

I was totally gripped in and mesmerized by Gudenkauf's words from the start. She lays out the characters with such depth and the sto
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Before She Was Found is the first book I’ve read from Heather Gudenkauf! I am impressed! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Violet, Cora, and Jordyn are twelve-years-old and attending a sleepover like tweens do. They get into mischief by leaving the house to go to an abandoned rail yard.

Cora is found bloody and barely alive, and her friends have disappeared. Small town Iowa is up-in-arms and in the middle of this investigation wondering who could hurt this sweet, young girl, and everyone becomes a suspect.

Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
4 Stars!

She sees herself pushing through the plumes of winter wheat, painting them red as she brushes by, and finally catches sight of him. He pauses and turns to face her. He looks pleased.

Do you remember the Slender Man case in 2014? Two girls lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times to impress the myth known as Slender Man. If you remember that case then this story has serious Slender Man Vibes. If not, you may want to look it up because it's fairly fascinating.

One night
I am sure that you have heard about the Slenderman...the tall, spidery figure with the blank face who has inspired stories, video games and movies...

The same one that two twelve year old girls in Wisconsin, tried to appease, when they lured a classmate into the woods, in 2014, stabbing her 19x.

BUT...have you heard about the urban legend, Joseph Wither??

He lived in Pitch, Iowa, in the 1940’s and rumor has it that after he lost his love, Rachel Farmer, he burned down his house and killed several y
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf is another first book from a new author for me.( Who apparently has a few other books I need to catch up on 🙄)
To start this book felt a little mean girls on speed up until when the urban legend part kicked in it then felt a little slender Man-ish 😬
But then it twists at the end where really it's mental illness.
It's a pacey thriller, which keeps you page flipping because you have this need to know feeling.
It's definitely a one sitting read and a perfect bo
Julie (JuJu)
Short summary:
Hard-to put-down, thrilling, suspenseful, emotional, tragic and absolutely believable! An innocent school project starts a domino effect that leads to a devastating outcome.

My thoughts:
If you haven’t read this author are in for an addictive ride! and the internet/social media are a scary combo! Three young girls (12-year-olds) do a school project on a local urban legend. Jordyn is the “ring leader”. Cora and Violet are her naive and eager-to-please schoolmates.
Miriam Smith
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comp-wins
As soon as I started reading "Before She Was Found" by Heather Gudenkauf, I knew this was going to keep me reading well past my bedtime and I thought it an exciting and addictive read, that kept me entertained from the very first page.
I loved all the different voices and variety in styles of narration. Multiple points of view are my favourite way of engaging with a story and reading about each character's involvement in the story from their viewpoint makes for a very interesting and entertainin
Exceptional Storytelling!

A suspenseful and frightening story to be enjoyed but also maybe a wake-up call for many parents of young adolescents who believe they know and understand their children.

Three excited little twelve year old girls are having a sleepover and unknown to their parents, they are not planning on going to sleep on this night. They have made plans to go out to the old railway to seek answers about a legend which surrounds a seventeen year old boy who was suspected of killing his

3.5 stars

Beth Crow and her family, 16-year-old Max, 12-year-old Violet, and dog Boomer, are relocating from New Mexico to Wisconsin when their car breaks down in Pitch, Iowa.

Beth decides to stay put, so she gets a job in a convenience store; rents a two-bedroom house with peeling paint, no air conditioning, and a temperamental furnace; and enrolls Max and Violet in school. This turns out to be a fateful decision, especially for Violet.

As Violet settles into her new middle school, she makes two
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-arcs
While this is could technically a be YA thriller I want to go ahead and let you know right away that it doesn’t feel like one at all. I myself struggle with YA thrillers but really the only thing that would make it fall into the category is the fact that three of the main characters are twelve year old girls. There is nothing soft about this one, nothing light about the mystery, in fact it’s hard hitting and bold. So if the idea of it being too juvenile has prevented you from reading this one, p ...more
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quote:

I’ve always hated the sound of trains— like an old woman screaming in a thunderstorm.

My Review:

I was on edge while reading this brilliantly plotted and well-crafted book, my shoulders were up in my ears and the knots in my neck have additional knots of their own. Heather Gudenkauf is an evil genius and has nimbly contrived a perfectly vexing conundrum that kept me riveted to my Kindle all day. Her word voodoo is strong! Her original and cunningly paced storylines were wickedly con
Louise Wilson
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three twelve year olds, Cora, Violet and Jordyn sneaked out to an old abandoned train track during one of their sleepovers. It was midnight, and things stat getting messy very quickly. Just a few hours later the police find them but Cora has been brutally stabbed. Violet is in shock while Jordyn seems to be unharmed but is unwilling to say what occurred.

The story is told from many points of view, from family members, text messages, Doctors notes and journal entries. This is one of those books w
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison County NC...: Before She Was Found 1 6 Feb 04, 2020 07:56AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dear Wife
  • Someone Knows
  • The Other Mrs.
  • The Better Sister
  • The Night Before
  • Someone We Know
  • Saving Meghan
  • The First Mistake
  • The Night Olivia Fell
  • The Favorite Daughter
  • The Nanny
  • Stranger in the Lake
  • I Know Who You Are
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Good Girls Lie
  • The Girl from Widow Hills
  • Before She Knew Him
  • Little Secrets
See similar books…
Heather is the NYT and USA Today Bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and NOT A SOUND.

Articles featuring this book

Get ready for a new season of murder, intrigue, snooping neighbors, suspicious relatives, and all-around nefarious goings-on! Yep, it's...
52 likes · 37 comments