Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock

Before My Eyes
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
Series? No.

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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. 

Bottom Line: Dark journey into three different protagonists--whose lives are connected even if they didn't know it at first.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Did you have a lot of responsibilities in your home growing up?
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  1. What an interesting combination of characters. This book is new to me so thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I always think it's neat when an author writes a story as if we are in the mind of that character: not proper, not neat, and especially if he is schizophrenic. I can imagine it takes some time getting used to but it does make the story a bit more realistic. I love endings that shock me. Glad you like this one, Brandi!

  3. Oh, I don't think I've read a book about anyone with schizophrenia O__O I think this web of stories could appeal to me and I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for putting this on my radar, Brandi! I'll definitely seek out other reviews for this:)

  4. Never heard of this, but the synopsis and your review definitely peaks my interest :)

  5. I like books like this as well. Deep issues in a story always leaves me intrigued. Great review :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  6. Before My Eyes sounds like a book I'll enjoy, too, Brandi! And yes, I did have some responsibilities growing up, even if nobody in my family dealt with illness. As the oldest sibling, I often had to take care of my sister, and even if I have always loved her, it was still hard sometimes.

    I'm gonna add this to my TBR, sounds both intriguing and compelling.

    Happy reading.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  7. This sounds interesting, and I like the protagonists. I added it to my list, thanks Brandi :)

  8. a schizophrenic narrator definitely sounds interesting. Yes, I had a ton of reposibilities growing up and they made me responsible.

  9. Sounds interesting and twisty. I like that in a book. Also, what an interesting narrator. Hm... might have to try this book.

  10. I quite find myself drawn to dark stories and it definitely sounds as if this book is done well. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

  11. I think I was given this book and I donated it. Maybe I still have it... I'm a bit more interested now, I didn't know what it was about before I guess.

  12. Wow, this book is heavy on the issues and seems very intense. I'm glad it worked so well for you, Brandi!

  13. This sounds like an intense read, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I need to be in the mood for dark reads like this, but I'll definitely add it to my list.

  14. oh an emotional ending? lol now I can seeme crying about the end. first time I see this one but it soundslike an intense read.

  15. It's so hard to read about sick moms. Makes me sad.

  16. oh my, sounds deep and emotional but it does look like this author knows how to tell a story. The fact that she can weave seamlessly three different character stories together, sounds wonderful to me.

  17. This sounds like a complex read, Brandi. Thanks for sharing it.


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