Like many 16 year old girls, Savannah Cartright had dreams. She also had her immediate future perfectly planned in this order:
First, save money to buy Lacey, her dream show horse.
Second, earn a spot on the equestrian team at her dream college.
Third, meet the perfect guy.
But that was before she stumbled upon a story on the internet about her father who abandoned her and her brother when she was four. Before she met Chase, the seventeen-year-old her father chose to help raise instead of his own kids. Before she learned there was something she could do to help her father with his PTSD. Before she realized she held the key to another dream: reuniting her family. Before she realized Chase was the guy of her dreams.
Before she knew she’d have to sacrifice some of her dreams if she wanted others to come true.
SERIES: Finger Lake series
GENRE: Young Adult/New Adult
PUBLISHER: Windswept Publishing
RELEASE DATE: December 9, 2016
Other Books In This Series
“Sometimes the right decisions were the most difficult to make.”
I was not emotionally prepared enough when I started reading Before I Knew by Laurie Gifford Adams. Oh man! What a heartwrenching and inspiring book. I’m not ashamed to admit that I BAWLED through a couple of scenes. As a daddy’s girl, my heart clenched more than once at Drew’s palpable despair over balancing the risk of his PTSD with his deep love for his kids. Wow. Keep some tissues handy when you read this one!
Though the book is geared for young adult/new adult readers, readers older than those target ages will still be able to find several characters with whom they can relate. Savannah and her brother Alex are typical teenagers (one nearly college age, the other still has high school looming in front of him) with a tragic past, and they must navigate some choppy waters as they seek to be reunited with their father. For his part, Drew is the source of all my ugly cries in Before I Knew – his story hitting me right in the feels. I seriously just wanted to HUG the man, but I don’t think that would have been well-received lol. Chase and his mom are equally intriguing, particularly as their lives entwine with Savannah’s. I wasn’t crazy about Savannah’s and Alex’s aunt, but their uncle is a sweetie.
The focus on PTSD and its ripple effect is eye-opening and heartbreaking, though the journey the characters take through it will also make your heart swell at least three sizes. Adams has a gift for immersing readers in the emotion of the story, and the result is a story that lingers with you.
Bottom Line: Layered characters with compelling stories are the strengths of Before I Knew – and readers will find themselves experiencing a wide range of emotions from start to finish. Young adults, new adults, older adults – each of these groups will find a different appeal to the story but I think all will agree that it’s powerful and important. And – from a favorite horse to the service dogs proudly spotlighted on the pages – Before I Knew appeals to animal lovers and the tenderhearted as well.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / All the feels
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some mild cursing scattered throughout this book.
Laurie is giving away a signed copy of Before I Knew to THREE of my readers! (US only) Giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be read on the Disclosure page. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What’s the last book YOU ugly cried over?