Author: Caroline Bock
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
ARC provided by publisher
Caroline Bock has written a compelling YA contemporary that hits a lot of hot button issues -- gun violence, pill popping, mental illness -- as well as personal issues -- loneliness, loss, identity -- in a way that brings its well-rounded characters together in a believable climax.
She does this by alternating chapters between the three main characters: Claire, an aspiring poet who must take on more family responsibilities after her mom has a stroke; Max, a state senator's son who's forced to play a role he never asked for; Barkley, a loner who believes the voice in his head that tells him he needs to buy a gun if he wants to make the world a better place.
The chapters alternate the POV's, but they also countdown over a Labor Day weekend to the moment Barkley fires that gun. During these chapters we learn about the characters, their hopes and fears, their secrets and their desires. And we understand more what those shots fired mean to each of them.
Before My Eyes is an excellent discussion starter for all the issues raised in the book. The author doesn't talk down the audience by offering easy answers, but rather, asks questions about why people do the things they do.
I recommend Before My Eyes to readers who enjoyed Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick or Names Will Never Hurt Me by Jaime Adoff.