Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock
From the author of LIE, a powerful new young adult novel about a fateful Long Island summer and the lives of three young people who will never be the same.
Dreamy, poetic Claire, seventeen, has spent the last few months taking care of her six-year-old sister, Izzy, as their mother lies in a hospital bed recovering from a stroke. Claire believes she has everything under control until she meets “Brent” online. Brent appears to be a kindred spirit, and Claire is initially flattered by his attention. But when she meets Max, the awkward state senator’s son, her feelings become complicated.
Max, also seventeen, has been working the worst summer job ever at the beachside Snack Shack. He’s also been popping painkillers. His parents—more involved in his father’s re-election than in their son’s life—fail to see what’s going on with him.
Working alongside Max is Barkley, twenty-one. Lonely and obsessive, Barkley has been hearing a voice in his head. No one—not his parents, not his co-workers—realizes that Barkley is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Until the voice in his head orders him to take out his gun.
Narrated in turns by Claire, Max, and Barkley, Before My Eyes captures a moment when possibilities should be opening up, but instead everything teeters on the brink of destruction.
Publishes in US: February 11th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA contemp
Source: St Martin's via netgalley
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I wanted to read Before My Eyes because I loved the synopsis. It has a sick mom, a girl who is taking care of her sister, a mental illness and drug addiction. All tough issues that even singularly would grab my attention but I had great hopes that together they would be even more powerful.
I know that Barkley is schizophrenia but the style of writing and they way that his head worked really threw me when I first started. I guess that makes it even more authentic since his mind wouldn't work anywhere similar to mine, but the intro we get def made me wonder what the tie between the three are and what would come from the events.
We go back to "before" so that we can discover what happened. I think that works okay because my interest is def peaked for what got Max going and if there's hope for him as well as what happens.
Claire was my favorite probably because it was easiest to relate to her, not only because she is a girl, but because of the responsibility on her shoulders. I see a lot of her struggles in myself both now and when I was her age even though circumstances are different. She had a struggle with how her mom's illness effected the family and if there was anything she could have done to change what happened. She loves her sister, but it is a lot of stuff to deal with when she just wanted to have fun.
Max's story unfolded a little more slowly. We know his father is a politician and kinda strict with him as far as expectations. I got to like him though. He had a lot of expectation, and he is beginning to see that life isn't all black and white, that some of the people he thought was his friends disappointed him, and found friends in the most unlikely places.
It was neat how their stories all wove together, more so than it first appeared. Innocent and then bigger ties to one another through living in the same town their road ran more and more parallel.
The ending was shocking and emotional, but I think that with all of the build up I could expect nothing less from where the book was leading. It felt realistic to me, and though it gave a dark feel to the book, those themes are there all along and even in the synopsis.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Did you have a lot of responsibilities in your home growing up?