Review: Before We Go by Amy Bright

Before We Go
Author: Amy Bright
Release date: May 15, 2012
Published by: Fitzhenry & Whiteside
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily’s grandmother is dying. Emily feels alone and saddened by all the coping information the hospital keeps giving her. On New Year’s Eve Emily leaves the hospital, only to run into Alex who invites her to join him and his sister, Lucy, for the evening. Emily doesn’t know it, but Alex is dying, too, and this is going to be his one last adventure. She also doesn’t know it, but Alex and Lucy are keeping a family secret from her, one they want to reveal at just the right moment.

Join these three on a New Year’s Eve journey where they each discover something new about themselves.

My Thoughts: Amy Bright’s novel is moving, passionate, sad, and inspiring. She packs a lot into one night (I loved this short time frame!). Emily is stuck in the routine of school, hospital, home, and she avoids home as much as possible because it is so quiet and lonely. I really felt for Emily because her aloneness screams out from the first page. That powerful feeling is what makes it believable that Emily would join two strangers as she’s leaving the hospital for the night.

I won’t give the secret away, but very early on Alex and Lucy hint that they are keeping something from Emily, and that just pulled me even further into the story. Not only does the secret make you want to read on, so does Alex. He doesn’t tell Emily that he’s dying, so since I knew he was, every time he stumbled or breathed heavy, or threw up, I kept worrying he would die right then and there.

My concern for Alex is shared by Lucy, who loves her brother and wants to do what is right for him. She keeps thinking they should go back to the hospital, but she also wants to honor his wish to be out and about and enjoy this one last adventure. Their relationship is sweet and loving and perfect for the story.

I guess the relationships are really what made me love this story. I mean, they don’t do anything strange or exotic, so the plot isn’t filled with riveting events—just real-life ones. But Emily, Alex, and Lucy are interesting as individuals and as a group. Their thoughts and feelings are so well developed and realistic that I felt like they could have walked right off the page.

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