Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review of If You're Gone by Brittany Goodwin

If You're Gone

by Brittany Goodwin

Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: June 20th 2016
Edge of 22 Publishing


If You’re Gone traces a trying summer for rising high school senior Lillian White as she struggles to cope with the sudden disappearance of her boyfriend, Brad Lee - reported missing the morning after his graduation ceremony. When law enforcement dismisses the case and classifies Brad as voluntarily missing, Lillian becomes desperate to prove that he couldn’t have just walked away. Not from his friends. Not from his family. Not from her.

Launching her own investigation into the darker side of her small North Carolina town, Lillian begins to uncover secrets from Brad’s past that force her to question everything she thought she knew about him and their relationship.

"Soul-stirring... Truly one of the most innovative voices to come along in a while. Goodwin has weaved an engaging web of deceit and intrigue that embodies not only her storytelling prowess but highlights her visionary filmmaking abilities in novel form." (Justin Price, creator of 'Future' SVOD channel)

**My thoughts**

This one was a storyline that I haven't run into before, or at least not in recent memory. What does happen to people who are left behind when loved ones disappear? In a way, it struck a chord because of recent news updates on a missing teenager in our area. While I did not know her personally, I have often thought about how devastating it must be for those she left behind to not know what happened. This book gives some good insight into the heartache of being in the dark.

As Lillian looks into Brad's past as she tries to figure out what happened to him, she not only finds out a lot more about his dark past, but also learns a lot about herself. There was really a lot that she didn't know about him, which had to be extremely hurtful to stomach. Sometimes it was hard to believe that she didn't know some things, because they'd lived in the same town since elementary school. But, when you are ignoring someone who has been unkind to you in the past, I can see how you may miss a few things.

I felt like this story started out very strong in the beginning, chronicling Lillian's angst and then watching her emerge somewhat from the darkness. There were a few twists along the way, which honestly I did figure out on my own ahead of time. I enjoyed riding the roller coaster of emotions and watching the growth occur. I also felt that the ending was as it should have been.

I won't give away any spoilers, but I just wanted to say that I didn't care for the epilogue ending. It didn't seem to fit as well, to me, to the ending of the story. It also could have just been my mood while I was reading that day, due to some own personal pain happening that day. At the same time, I guess I could kind of see how it would happen that way. It did also seem to leave the door open for exploring the next chapter in Lillian's life. I think that could also make an interesting story of growth and development.

I really appreciated Goodwin thinking outside of the box for this one and love how she really gets into the heart and mind of her characters. I would be interested in checking out more of her work.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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About the Author

Brittany Goodwin is an author, screenwriter and director, best known for the internationally distributed faith-based feature films, Secrets in the Snow and Secrets in the Fall, which have both been awarded the highest honor of five Doves from the Dove Foundation.

Brittany lives outside Nashville, TN with her husband and every growing number of rescue pets. She enjoys traveling with her husband and dogs, DIY projects, quoting John Hughes films, playing (and winning!) movie trivia games, and binge-watching Investigation Discovery Channel. A self-proclaimed armchair detective, Brittany is an active member of many Missing Persons blogs and Facebook pages, which inspired the topic of her debut YA novel, If You're Gone.

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