June 19, 2014

Review: Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor

Title: Before I Wake
Author: C.L. Taylor
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Age Group: Adult/18+
Source: ARC from publisher
Book Summary:
To the outside world Susan Jackson has it all – a loving family, a successful politician husband and a beautiful home – but when Charlotte, her fifteen year old daughter, deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma Sue questions whether any of it was real.

Desperate to find out what caused Charlotte’s suicide attempt, she is horrified by an entry in her diary – ‘Keeping this secret is killing me’. As Sue spins in desperate circles, she risks everything to discover the truth and finds herself immersed in a shady world she didn’t know existed. The deeper she delves the darker the world becomes and the more danger she puts herself in.

Can Sue wake up from the nightmares that haunt her and save her daughter, or will ‘the secret’ destroy them both?

***My Review***
Before I wake was an exciting and emotional psychological thriller. I flew through this book in one night. Susan's story is a rollercoaster ride for herself and the reader. The book is told in first person narration by Susan, but also alongside diary entries from when she was younger. I felt that this writing technique worked extremely well in Before I Wake. One reason is becuase it gives the reader a much deeper understanding of Susan, and what happened in her past that made her who she is in the present. The second reason is that both the present story thread and the past diary entries work together in such a brilliant way. The best way I can describe this is to say that each thread informs the other, and the reader learns what is needed from the past to better understand the present. All in all, I LOVED that the author chose to tell Susan's story in this way. I felt as if I TRULY got to know her and also take her past and present journeys along with her.
Susan is far from perfect. She did things at times that made me want to shake her and say "Are you kidding me?" or "Open your eyes!", but these are also the things that made her seem so real and wholly human. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. The best part was that C.L. Taylor turned a character who might have been very unrelatable, into a woman dealing with life on life's terms and doing her best to fix the mistakes of her past while dealing with the present. 
Though this is an adult book(there are some very mature themes involved), I also feel that this would make a great read for an older young adult. There is much to learn from Susan's story, and if my daughter were sixteen or so, I would recommend that she read this book. I also feel that this would make an awesome book club read, as there are many points that would make for great debate/discussion.
I truly enjoyed Before I Wake. It is thrilling, fast-paced, emotional, and has a unique writing style. I really feel that everyone wil get something out of this book!

My Rating:

(I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.)

Purchase Links:

About the Author:
C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines. Cally works in Higher Education and has a degree in Psychology, with particular interest in abnormal and criminal Psychology. She also loves knitting, Dr Who, Sherlock, Great British Bake Off and Margaret Atwood and blames Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected for her love of a dark tale.
Her dark psychological thriller THE ACCIDENT was published in the UK by Avon HarperCollins in April 2014 and as BEFORE I WAKE in the US in June 2014 by Sourcebooks.
Her second psychological thriller LAST GIRL STANDING will be published in June 2015.
Her international bestselling romantic comedies (written as Cally Taylor), HEAVEN CAN WAIT and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS were both published by Orion in the UK. They have been translated into 14 different languages, and her debut was voted ‘Debut Novel of the Year’ by chicklitreviews.com and chicklitclub.com.

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