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Life Before


Life Before

LIFE BEFORE is the debut novel of Michele Bacon. Michele is the writer of contemporary fiction for adults and young adults.
For 17 years, Xander Fife has been keeping secrets. (Almost) no one knows about his abusive father. If he can get through this summer, he's off to college, where real life finally begins. What's more, the summer before college will be amazing: lots of pick-up soccer, long days hanging out with friends and an epic road trip. Xander also is looking forward to some long overdue nights with his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor. What is supposed to be one the greatest days of a teen’s life --- graduation day --- ends up sending Xander’s life into a downward spiral. When Xander's mother is murdered, his family’s secrets are thrust out into the open and Xander must confront his greatest fear. 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.

"LIFE BEFORE is a powerful and truthful novel. It tackles abuse, death, friendship and romance...."

LIFE BEFORE is a powerful and truthful novel. It tackles abuse, death, friendship and romance in under 300 pages. I think that at the heart of this novel is a coming-of-age story that will make you feel. Xander growing as a character and figuring out who he wants to be was really inspiring. This book is unforgiving in the tragedies and abuse that Xander faces and, admittedly, that shocked me a bit in the beginning, but the characters were very intriguing and multi-dimensional, which I really appreciated. I do think we could have gotten a lot longer book that would have told us more about the characters and their backstories. I really loved the kindness of strangers in this novel and the realistic behaviors that Xander encounters.
Overall, I really enjoyed LIFE BEFORE. It was very frightening and realistic at some points, allowing you to feel really engrossed and connected with the story. I would recommend this to readers who are mature and are okay with reading about abuse. Pick this book up if you are looking for something quick and different to read!

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on June 24, 2016

Life Before
by Michele Bacon

  • Publication Date: March 6, 2018
  • Genres: Family, Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sky Pony Press
  • ISBN-10: 1510723676
  • ISBN-13: 9781510723672