Before My Eyes, by Caroline Bock
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Tragedy
Rating: 4/5 stars
Publication: February 11, 2014, by St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover Edition (Borrowed)
Goodreads Summary: 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.
"Then I run toward the sea, crash through the waves. Most girls I know don't like the ocean. They love the beach, not the water. The ocean whips your hair, leaves sand in the roots, ruins your makeup, and is oblivious to how good-looking you are or are not. Those girls are anchored to their towels. Those girls are moored near the lifeguard, half a beach away. I don't understand those girls and never have. But that's okay. I've always been invisible to them. The sea is mine."
Who'd think that a book with a pretty and calm cover like this will end up being a shocking plot-twist turner and thriller? That's exactly why we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Because we will end up completely wrong and will regret our prediction.
This book was really touching and captivating. It has a different premise that is sure to please every YA reader. It's a page-turner that leaves you shocked in the end, and most of all, it's real.
Claire has been struggling with her life for a while now. The summer is almost done, and all she has been doing is taking care of her six year old little sister, Isabelle. Her dad is too busy working and paying for their mother's insurance. Her mother is lying on a bed in rehab after suffering from a stroke. Claire has always felt like the outsider and is looking for change. She then meets Brent online. She loves his attention and finally feels loved. When she meets Max, the state senator's seventeen year old son, things get a little weird. Barkley is the third POV. He's a guy suffering from schizophrenia, and he works alongside Max at a beach snack shop. When his head orders him to take out a gun, everything turns into a catastrophe.
You see, I've never read the summary. The cover captivated me, and I've heard some things about how this book somewhat has to do with the subject of schizophrenia. I was immediately captivated because I've been lately looking for a darker contemporary read, and this was a perfect example. It was utterly creepy but sweet at the same time.
The concept was really well thought out. You can tell that the author has done her research for a variety of subjects that are put in this novel. It deals with loss, fear, illnesses, love, and disaster. Some parts were happy and fun, but as we moved on to the end of the book, I was shocked with the terrible event that was coming. It was unexpected and depressing. I ended up so depressed by the end of the book and ended up in a strong book-hangover.
And that person was ME. Yes, I cried a little in the end because Claire's depression really began to act up after everything happened so fast. She didn't deserve any of that, but Caroline Bock here shows that you can't control fate.
When beginning this novel, I was hoping for something a little more fast-paced, but as I went on, I realized that slow-pacing is the way that readers can be entertained by reading this book. You need a slow-pace in order for that big catastrophic event to happen. The plot was good. It was a little mildly weird at times, but it fit for this kind of premise. I recommend this if you like a light-then-dark plot.
My only exception for this wonderfulness was the characters. I hated Barkley and didn't enjoy his POV and felt like it wasn't needed at all (even though we got to be in the mind of a schizophrenic and killer). Same with Claire. I couldn't relate to the two of them and found them very unlikeable. I was all ?_? the whole time. The only person I actually liked was Max. Hehe, he gave me the fangirl squeals. He was hot and beautiful and awkward and hilarious... Just the type of man that I like. :)
By the end, I was very pleased with this book. It was fun, but scary at the same time. The feel was very real. Things like this have occurred all over the world, and it sucks. But having it occur in a story was beautiful. Recommended? Absolutely, but if you need 100% relatable characters, then I'd say to gear away from this.