Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
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.
First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.
Ever since that tragic incident that happened in Connecticut, I’ve been intrigued, no, obsessed with shootings and massacres of any sorts. So, of course when I found out that Before My Eyes has a shooting I knew that I HAD TO GET MY HANDS ON IT. So far, after reading quite a few novels about shootings I’ve been left with huge disappointment after huge disappointment
Caroline Bock is an author that tries too hard. It was sad reading about something that could have been so great fail so miserably. The writing for almost all of the story is very stiff and annoying. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters partially because of this as well as the fact that they all suck ass. Another thing that I had a problem with is the summary of the book since it says that Barkley hears a voice in his head. Where the hell is this voice?! It makes a millisecond appearance only twice where it says one word. Everything about the voice inside of his head is flimsy and pathetic.
Before My Eyes starts off great. It’s extremely creepy and odd, the writing is really proper and by that I mean there aren’t any contractions. I was instantly hooked after the first chapter which is told from Barkley’s perspective. This first chapter is intriguing and it’s the best part of the novel. I wish I were kidding but I’m not. However, the best character is the dog, King, who’s blind. Near the end of the story, King becomes braver than anyone and blindly risks his life to save others. Reading about him alone got this book one cloud out of me because he’s amazing.
Overall, don’t read this. If you’re like me and are looking for a well executed story about teenagers and a shooting you’ll have to look elsewhere. Before My Eyes is a sloppily done novel that has left me close to no hope that I’ll ever find a great teen story about a shooting.
For quotes from this book, click here.