Seventeen years is a long time to keep secrets, and Xander Fife has gotten very good at it. Everyone believes Xander has a normal life and a normal family. If he can just get through this summer, he'll start his real life in college with a clean slate--no risk, no drama, no fear. Even better, his plans for summer are awesome: lots of pick-up soccer, relaxing afternoons with friends, and an epic road trip. Xander is banking on some long-overdue nights with his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor. Instead of kicking off what had promised to be an amazing summer, however, graduation day brings terror. His family's secrets are thrust out into the open, and Xander must confront his greatest fear. And survive doing so. Armed with a fake ID, cash, and a knife, Xander skips town and assumes a new identity. Hundreds of miles from home and in danger, one thing is clear: Xander's real life is already in progress and just getting through it isn't enough.
- Hardback | 288 pages
- 140 x 210 x 33.02mm | 426g
- 07 Jun 2016
- Skyhorse Publishing
- New York, NY, United States
"Life Before's first-person narrative quickly captures the reader, delivering a just unpredictable enough roller coaster ride with successive runs of building tension and release as Xander's first experience of true independence comes with little preparation and sudden and unexpected urgency... Both a coming-of-age story and a nail-biting thriller, this debut novel will appeal to a wide range of readers and could be a good book club selection for older teens, especially if paired with informative resources." --VOYA Magazine "A gripping story about a shattered family and one boy's journey to begin again. Bacon takes on the subject of domestic violence with skill and compassion in this fast-paced, suspenseful, and thoroughly enjoyable novel." --Kirsten Lopresti, author of Bright Coin Moon "Xander is a believable protagonist who triumphs over fear and trauma. Michele Bacon adds a new, honest, and strong voice." --Cheryl Rainfield, author of Scars and Stained "Life Before is a thought-provoking and engaging read, which beautifully illustrates that anyone could be striving to overcome difficulties--no matter what you see on the surface." --Mindi Scott, author of Free Fall and Live Through This "A riveting story told in a voice that will resonate with teens... Bacon weaves a captivating narrative of a boy who is able to journey into adulthood by overcoming a childhood filled with abuse. Though dark in nature, the work does not delve too deep into the horrors of abuse, making it appropriate for younger teens. VERDICT A great read-alike for teens who enjoyed Alex Flinn's Breathing Underwater, Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, or Sharon Draper's "Hazelwood High Trilogy." --School Library Journal
About Michele Bacon
Michele Bacon writes contemporary fiction for adults and young adults. Most of her stories begin as ideas scrawled on random scraps of paper, stuffed into pockets or joining her computer-bag detritus. Life Before is her debut novel. Michele lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and three small children.