Everyone believes Xander has a normal life and a normal family. If he can just get through this summer, hefill start his real life in college with a clean slate no risk, no drama, no fear.
Even better, his plans for summer are awesome: lots of pick-up soccer, relaxing afternoons with friends, and an epic road trip. Xander is banking on some long overdue nights with his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor.
Instead of kicking off what had promised to be an amazing summer, however, graduation day brings terror. His family's secrets are thrust out into the open, and Xander must confront his greatest fear. And survive doing so.
Armed with a fake ID, cash, and a knife, Xander skips town and assumes a new identity. Hundreds of miles from home and in danger, one thing is clear: Xander's real life is already in progress and just getting through it isn't enough.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 16.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
Michele Bacon writes novel-length fiction for young adults and older adults. As a child, she invented elaborate plots to escape her own house. Peanut butter and Dairy Queen figured prominently in every ruse. Michele left home slowly, and today lives in Seattle with her partner and three children. She is also the author of Antipodes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Not that’s I was slow but it did take me a while to read it.
An Amazing Young Adult Suspense... LIFE BEFORE is a wonderful young adult suspense by Michele Bacon. The serious issues of physical and emotional abuse, homelessness, murder, and being forced to run for your life are just some of the topics touched upon in this book. Xander Fife has been living with his mom, Helen, since her divorce from his abusive dad, Gary. Xander tries to live his life as a normal kid with a normal family. But he has secrets that he can't reveal, even to his best friend Jill. One day Xander and Jill are planning their Infinite Summer. The next, he's hiding from his murderous father. Xander ends up in Burlington VT, intending to stay off the grid (essentially disappear) until Gary is captured and thrown in jail. While in VT he meets some friendly and intriguing people who help him survive day to day, teach him to approach life with curiosity and wonder, and encourage him to live in the present instead of waiting until some future accomplishment to begin his life. The characters in LIFE BEFORE are fully-developed with clear identities and motivations. The descriptions of places and things are so vibrant, one feels as if you're standing beside Xander as he stumbles through his days, constantly on the outlook for danger. Xander's poignant story is both sad and beautiful. Sad for what he's had to suffer throughout his young life. Beautiful for his strength and growing confidence. Though the issues raised are serious, the story isn't depressing. It is, at times, funny and always full of friendship and hope. Xander comes to realize he has the ability to take care of himself and that he is far from alone, as he has wonderful friends who support him and who accept him for who he is. LIFE BEFORE is perfect for readers of John Green, Jennifer Echols and Sarah Dessen and a quick read for vacation. There are a few kissing scenes and descriptions of feelings, but more involved sexual interactions are either off-scene or just implied. If You Like This, You May Like: SAINT ANYTHING by Sarah Dessen, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET and GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols, PAPER TOWNS by John Green, THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by Jennifer L. Armentrout, HOW TO DISAPPEAR by Ann Redisch Stampler, A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro, TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum * Read my other reviews on the Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog. ** An e-ARC was provided by Sky Pony Press and Edelweiss for an honest review
3.5 Stars Life Before by Michele Bacon is an engaging tale of a young man on the cusp of what he believes to be the best time of his life. He was a fantastic best friend, his dream girl is interested in him, and his mom is finally separated from his abusive father. Of course, drama needs to happen to keep up a story, and Bacon does not disappoint. I always like reading YA tales from a male perspective as I don’t think we see it enough. Sometimes it really works and sometimes it doesn’t. This is one where, for the most part, it worked. There were a few moments that made me hope that real boys would act differently, but the story stood up well. The plot of Life Before was intriguing. A teen boy on the run from his family’s secrets armed with a fake ID, some cash and a hunting knife. I did enjoy the writing of Michele Bacon. She can really speak in a male voice and she was able to pull of some situations that should have been ridiculous well. The pacing had a few issues where it jumped around a bit. It did always catch itself up, but there were time where I was not sure what day we were in. The world built was nice and detailed once Xander left home. I enjoyed seeing the locations through his eyes. There were a lot of emotions in the book. Xander was portrayed well and I enjoyed that as a teen boy, he had feelings. There were a few times that his feelings did not quite match the situation he was in, but again teen boy. The characters were half and half for me. I like that this was told from the perspective of Xander, as I don’t think there are enough YA stories from a male perspective. At times I loved Xander and wanted to hold him and tell him everything would be alright, and then I wanted to shake him for being just stupid. It was pretty much the same with every character. They would have fantastic moments, and then just crappy ones. While I was engaged with Life Before, I was also frustrated at times with the lead Xander. I understood his motivations, but I always get annoyed when a teen heads off to “fix” something on their own. The majority of times, if they went to an adult or the authorities the problem would be fixed. There would be no story or no drama either, so it is a careful balance that the author must use. At times this story tipped into the ridiculous and as an adult I was annoyed. This happens at times when, as an adult, I read a YA book that has a plot point that I just don’t get. I always try to temper my reaction with the fact that I am not the key audience for the read. This was Michele Bacon’s début, and I think it did work overall and I will be interested in seeing what she writes next. Original Review @ 125Pages.com I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.