Before You Go by James Preller

Before You Go by James Preller

Release Date: July 17, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude’s house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it’s been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.

Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.

Acclaimed author James Preller explores life, death, love, faith, and resilience in his first young adult novel that will grip readers from the book’s dramatic first few pages to its emotional end.

Before You Go is a story written in two parts: Before and After. From the moment I saw the words "Before" I KNEW something big was going to happen in the middle of the story, just like John Green's Looking for Alaska. And of course, I was right.
I found this story a little too slow for my liking. If it wasn't for my intense curiosity of what could cause this book to have a before and after, I wouldn't have finished it. It really does take some time to actually mingle with the flow of the words. Even the plot– there really wasn't one for a while, and it only really picked up just a tiny bit before the after part of the story. The writing in this story's really good, and it even sounds like a great contemporary, but I think it just wasn't for me.

This story's written in third-person, so it made it difficult to connect with the characters. Don't get me wrong, the characters are brilliantly built up and properly developed, but it was just hard to connect with the main character Jude.
Jude was an okay character. I love that this story is from a male's "perspective" which you don't get too much in YA. I just found him a little too... uninteresting. I liked his friends Roberto and Corey though. They were fun and you could tell they were good people. Jude was moody, awkward and just plain boring sometimes.
Becka was an okay character, I like that she was different and very open, but I didn't exactly see eye-to-eye with her. There was just something "expected" about her character. Like she was just this typical teen girl who just happens to be this guy's love interest.

Overall, even though Before You Go wasn't for me, it's a quick read which I'm sure will appeal to others. The writing is beautiful, and the characters (if not the story) will surely suck you into this sad, yet hopeful contemporary.

If you like this, try...

  • All These Lives by Sarah Wylie Goodreads
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green ◆ Goodreads


  1. Hmmm, I've never heard of this before. I am sorry to hear it didn't work out for you, but I might give it a shot. It seems like something I would really enjoy; I like when books have that "before" and "after" part.

    Thanks for the honest review :)

    1. Ditto, actually. We do prefer when there is a strong plot to support great writing and compelling characters, but sometimes we can be forgiving when we know upfront not to expect that. Especially because the themes in this story seem to be right up our alley.

      Good review, thanks!

  2. Amazing review! I can't wait to read this. I've been really getting into Contemps recently, and James Preller rocks! Thanks for the lovely review, Rabiah! x

  3. I was really looking forward to this one but all the reviews I've read lately have just said it was so-so. I may have to re-think whether I want to bother with it... Thanks for the honest review! =)

  4. I love contemporaries, and this one seems to have a lot of family in it, which is really nice:)

    Jude sounds like a likable character even though you found him boring - to see how he reacts to the big reveal.

    Great review:)


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