Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor

A mother risks everything to uncover the truth behind her daughter's botched suicide attempt

To the outside world, Susan Jackson has it all-a loving family, successful husband, and beautiful home-but when Charlotte, her teenage daughter, steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma, she is forced to question all of it.

Desperate to find out what caused Charlotte's suicide attempt, she discovers a horrifying entry in her diary: "keeping this secret is killing me." As Sue spins in desperate circles, she finds herself immersed in a dark world she didn't know existed-and the closer she comes to the truth, the more dangerous things become.

 This novel begins six weeks after Sue’s daughter, Charlotte, stepped in front of a bus in a desperate attempt to end her life.  With just her daughter’s diary to answer questions, Sue finds a very troubled entry written shortly before the accident that left her daughter in a coma:  “This secret is killing me."

Although the reader sympathizes greatly with Sue, it eventually becomes apparent in her quest to find the truth that she may not be mentally stable; she had an abusive boyfriend in the past, and suffered from paranoid delusions years later because of it.

Before I Wake is a satisfying psychological thriller that has the reader on the edge of their seat wondering why Charlotte tried to kill herself, and if her mother is the cause of it, either directly or indirectly.  Could Sue’s past be coming back to haunt her literally, or is she losing her grip on reality... again?

Although the ending was decent, it felt a bit rushed.  I wasn’t disappointed with how the novel ended, don’t get me wrong:  it was satisfying in that all loose ends were tied, just a bit brief.  It feels almost like a chapter is missing.  I wanted more details after the scene in the hospital at the end.

All in all, Before I Wake is a stunning debut by C.L. Taylor, and I can’t wait to read his or her (I’m guessing her) future works.

Please note that I received a free ARC edition of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, in exchange for my honest review. 

Expected publication date:  June 1, 2014


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