Before Now by Norah Olson review

Reading a book where the plot is reversed and knowing the ending first is a new concept to me. Will I, or would I, read another like it? Very possibly.

*Trigger warning for Suicide and Indicated Rape in this book*

Knowing the ending and then reading the book in reverse was hard, at first, to get used to. It felt like it could be some sort of hard let down to be hit smack first with this powerful “ending” and then be lead first into the beginning of how everything started in the first place. I felt fairly good about this one when it came to its completion.

Looking back on the book it was a very Romeo & Juliet plot line. Whether that was intentioned or not, I don’t know. I, actually, despise R&J due to high school English but if retellings are done right I actually enjoy them due to the drama of it. I enjoyed this one.

As I read further and though the plot was backwards you could still get attached to Atty and Cole because you were still being built up in their lives. It didn’t matter who did what and when. You were still immersed in their lives, their friends, their families.

A big plot point would happen and instead of having that build up in a normal book story line where your thought goes “I saw that coming”, you would have to go back over the previous days to find out WHY that happened. The big plot point would just BAM 💥! Upper cut you in the chin and you’d want to know who did it or why said person did it or how it happened. So in this reverse time line it made incidents a little more.. intriguing? But also gut wrenching if you know what I’m talking about in various scenery.

I have the book a 4/5 because I wish there had been a chapter or two more added on to Cole and Atty’s Suicide attempt at the beginning of the book. He, obviously, doesn’t make it but she lives. Very Romeo & Juliet as stated before. But the 4/5 is because I REALLY wanted to know did she try to die again? Did someone else make this “book” from her journal as a piece of memory from her death? Where was her mother? She wasn’t in those “last” beginning scenes. Those “beginning” chapters left a lot of questions.

Besides the questions rolling around in my brain, I enjoyed this one. It’s a short book. 208 pages. I read it in three days due to being a slower reader but even then that’s fast for me. It’s a good contemporary to add to your list if you enjoy real life drama types.


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