Book Review: Before They Find Us


 I’m going to make you wish you were dead.

Just a text. Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Hales tries not to worry. Probably a wrong number. Not really meant for her, and definitely not related to the crime she witnessed six years ago. Right?

Then two states away, a bomb goes off in her best friend’s locker. Soon Ryan is labeled a terrorist and runs to the safest place he knows—Rebecca’s house in small-town Wyoming. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to show up asking questions. Rebecca lies, of course, and says she hasn’t seen him.

Now she’s neck-deep in it with him, whatever “it” is. The only way out is to return to Vegas, where Ryan is a wanted man. The city of lies and illusion tests Rebecca’s wits as she struggles to find the person who framed Ryan and why.

Is Rebecca’s text linked to the bombing? And what does it have to do with a six year old murder? Rebecca needs to find out before she loses Ryan—and her own life.

My Thoughts

A few months ago, this book was recommended to me by a friend, and when I first downloaded it and read the synopsis, I was excited to get stated reading. But as life goes, my plate was overwhelmed, and it was pushed off to the side. Picking it up, I was surprised that this story was set in high school, even though I knew it was. Blame it on my memory loss, but it threw me for a loop.

This story opened up in a pretty dramatic way for a Young Adult novel. A young woman out for revenge, but no back story, and no mention of this girl again for at least half of the book. As soon as chapter one starts, we’re immersed in a different story, in someone else’s life. Immediately we are drawn into a world of mystery and suspense, with a slight romantic twist that builds as the story progresses. We are given a lot of info and back stories right up front, and while this is good and let’s us know what’s going on, it felt rushed and inorganic.

It seems like as soon as you crack the cover, you’re already halfway through the main part of the story and are with Ryan Beck in Vegas. I think I wanted more leading up to their escape, and for Beck to knot just drop her entire life for her “best friend.” But their plan was thought out, I’ll give it that.

We are soon introduced to people from Ryan’s life, and shown just who is on his side. Jordan seems like the kind of guy who wants something in exchange from helping out Beck and Ryan, but we never fin out what it is. “Getting over Lauren” couldn’t have been the only thing, especially considering he could go to jail after everything he did to help.

Enter Kayla. We have no idea who she is or what she wants, but somehow she’s behind everything that’s transpired, and it seems as if she has no motive. We come to learn later that this isn’t the case, but through means that kids fresh out of high school or still in high school should know. It’s right around here that the pacing of the novel becomes hard to follow. Things just move too quickly, and whether or not it’s to get everything in, it’s too fast. If it’s that important, stretching scenes out to more paragraphs or pages isn’t a bad thing. There’s no real limit or rule to how long or short a story has to be.

As soon as the reader gets through the pace issues–BAM–it’s the end of the story and almost everything is figured out. There were definitely things that bothered me about this. One of those things is the way Beck’s parents view her time away. They immediate think poorly of her, that she spent the entire time having sex with Ryan and that she’s pregnant, and little concern is actually paid to her well-being.

Beck, Ryan, and Jordan are cleared of all charges, but now all that’s left to wrap up is where the two villains ran off to. In the meantime, Ryan proposes, which is ridiculous in and of itself. They’re still in high school, have barely been dating, and years of friendship–even if there were feelings on both sides–isn’t enough of a reason to get married.

While everything gets wrapped neatly in a bow by the end, you’re still left wanting somewhat. It was hard for me to put my finger on it, but I found that I wanted some more mystery to the ending. Literally everything is wrapped up, and sometimes you want to imagine what happens after the pages end, not have every little thing laid out for you.

[Disclaimer: I received a free digital download from the author in exchange for an honest review]

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Amazon          Barnes and Noble          Goodreads


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