Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Up and Coming: Before You Go by James Preller

Before You Go
by James Preller

Release Date: July 17, 2012

Jude has got a job this summer working at a burger shack on the beach. It's not the best job ever, but it's got decent co-workers and it's beach-side, so there's not too much to complain about. Between that and hanging out with his buddies from school, Jude's summer is shaping up to be a good one. Full of dumb conversations with guys and maybe a couple with Becka, one of the cashiers at the burger shack.

It's a summer built to be at home as little as possible. To avoid the memories of Lily, Jude's sister, lurking around the house. It's been years since her accidental death, but Jude's parents have shut down and the specter of guilt haunts the teen daily. But, this could be the summer when he starts to move forward.

There's more than one major life-changing event in everyone's lives. In "Before You Go," the reader knows what Jude's next event will be, long before he does. The book opens with it and we are left sitting on pins and needles, turning the pages to find out what the repercussions will be for our main character. It's a really interesting way to frame a novel and one that grabs you and doesn't let you go.

As you grow to know Jude and like him, the shadow of what WILL happen grows bigger and bigger. He's already got so much anger and hurt right underneath the surface, can he take on one more thing?

Preller does a great job of creating a character who has so many layers, many of which most of the people in his life never see. Most people who meet Jude probably think of him as a funny, easy-going teen. As you get to see those hidden sides, the worry for him increases and you too will turn the pages quicker to find out just what will happen to Jude. A quiet piece of realistic fiction becomes a thriller.

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