Before You Go by James Preller

Before You Go

It’s the summer before senior year and Jude has a job at the local beach.  It sounds like a pretty sweet deal, but flipping burgers can be pretty tedious no matter the locale.  Apart from working at the beach, Jude doesn’t do much else.  His mother is still extremely depressed over the loss of his little sister, Lily, who drowned in the family swimming pool seven years ago, and trying to deal with his own grief while walking on eggshells around his mom is practically full-time work.  Jude has some friends with whom he sometimes hangs out, and he occasionally plays guitar, but he usually finds escape in running.  Unlike his father, who has gadgets to help him precisely track his running, Jude likes to run barefoot and without a plan.  Running away from it all seems to be the only way he can find happiness… That is, until he meets Becka.

The grief in this book is so biting and real that I actually found myself flashing back to when I lost people I loved and cared about.  Aside from simply being a really well-written story, I think this book would work well as bibliotherapy for teens who are dealing with grief of their own or trying to understand someone else who is grieving.

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