I received a free ARC for my review.
A fascinating, compelling story about family and self.
A 17 year old girl off to college is abandoned by her father at a gas station in the midst of a shooting. She’s afraid of strangers, of trusting people, of even freedom… but now she has to try and find help. And her father. And understand what is going on, and what connection she has to the violence.
This is a quick, contained read that makes you think. It’s messy and tangled at its core- there aren’t any ‘big reveals’ (the core one is hinted at early on and easy to guess), but it is still a suspenseful story seeing how these tics and secrets come into play. It ends on a clean note, but one that doesn’t betray the emotional ambiguity.
Obviously, like any good graphic novel, it also caused me to cry for the last ten pages or so. Absolutely worth a read.
I don’t honestly read thrillers as a genre, but this one sounded like it had a hint of techno-thriller to it, which I do like- being a SF/F genre reader personally. It, however, is just a pure new-trend thriller, quite akin to the one other thriller I’ve read (the far superior YOU).
It sold well and is popular for a reason: a simple premise, good writing, a lot of dramatic twists and reveals, and a generally always growing sense of danger. The narrative shifts every chapter between THEN and NOW, a time different of two years, with THEN’s point of view character being dead. We learn about her death in the NOW, but information is spread out deliberately, ramping up the tension of when we’ll see her die.
Again, effective techniques. However, this book seriously falls apart in the latter half, and especially the final quarter and last few chapters. Likable characters become ridiculous. Horrible choices are made. The truth is a complete letdown. I’m going to be mentioning spoilers, so keep an eye out. Also: this book has some real racism things in it (the only two black characters, men, are sexual predators and aggressive) and uncomfortable disability things (a character is heavily encouraged to get an give up her disabled child for adoption, in general Down’s Syndrome is treated as a terrifying, horrible thing for a mother to deal with).
Continue reading “The Girl Before is nothing special, and a touch unpleasant”