Series: Before You Go #1
Publisher: Createspace on March 31, 2013
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Paralyzed by the past and terrified of the future, Tabitha Kelly is broken.
After a public sex scandal at her college, Tabby moves to a new city with a new school, convinced she can start over. But she soon realizes the changes are not enough. Tabby must take action to help her heal and move on from the past.
And though it sounds crazy, she believes a one-night stand is the best way to take back what’s hers. If she can choose where, when, and most importantly, who … maybe she can regain control.
First, she needs a willing participant.
She finds more than that when she meets Noah Adler.
Unfortunately, she can’t go through with it. And when she tries to forget about the plan—and the guy—it becomes impossible.
Noah quickly weaves his way into her new life and her heart. But as he comes dangerously close to discovering her secret, Tabby’s at risk of losing it all.
“‘But sometimes you need someone or something. Don’t miss out on that because you’re too busy focusing on where you’re going. Sometimes all we have is right here, right now.’”
“‘With books, it’s not a matter of being appropriate,’ he continues. ‘It’s a matter of what speaks to you and if you can learn something, be entertained, lose yourself for a while, find comfort, get mad—’”
“Most people think he broke me the night it happened.”
My Musings: The reason that this book caught my eye was the amazing cover. Seriously, I love it. So I was ecstatic when Clare James gifted me a copy to review! Unfortunately, life caught up with me, and I’ve just now had the time to read this novel. But oh my, I wish that I was able to get to it sooner!
This novel follows the life of Tabby, as she institutes operation Take back that Night. So she’s decided that in order to heal, she has to have a one night stand. She has to be in control. And then she meets Noah Adler. After Noah wiggles his way into her life and her heart, Tabby realizes that it’s okay to let someone take control every once in a while.
I absolutely loved Tabby’s character. Her need for control is something that is familiar to me, even if it isn’t controlling the same thing. I can totally relate to the feelings that she had regarding her issue. And it killed me to hear about what happened to her. She was a very strong character who was able to pull through some crappy stuff and manage to come out not completely broken. Although she had some rough patches, she was a trooper. She pulled through and she learned to become whole again. It was beautiful to see. It was definitely intriguing to see her grow into her new self after all of what happened to her.
And now it seems that I have three Noahs in my book boy harem. Noah Adler was definitely a catch. With some secrets and problems of his own, he was the perfect match for Tabby. He really helped her to let go of the past and he was so sweet about it—some of the sacrifices he made for her were truly heartwarming. He was a tough one on the outside when he needed to be, bossy when necessary, but sweet any other time. He was sexy is that ‘boy next door who can do no wrong’ way. He was definitely a swoony character and possibly one of the best book boys that I’ve read.
“He makes me forget about everything. When I’m around him, I feel normal. Better than normal.”
I loved Tabby and Noah as a couple. Although Tabby tried to deny it, the two of them together had chemistry, and not just the physical kind. They were able to help each other let go of things that happened in the past. And of, course, the sensate focus experiment that Noah employed was interesting to say the least. I really loved that the two characters really got to know each other before moving on to the heavy stuff, even if it wasn’t intentional (what with the control issues and such). The healing that came about between these two characters when they were together was fantastic.
I also enjoyed Jules’ character, even though we didn’t see too much of her in this novel. She was a supportive character, also with problems of her own. She helped Tabby to be strong, and she really helped her come to terms with some things. There seemed like there was much more to Jules than we saw, and I cannot wait to read more about her in More.
Another note that I want to make is that Clare James can write fantastic characters. Along with Tabby, Jules, and Noah, James created great characters in Michael, Amy, and Tabby’s dad. These three were superb characters who were always there and always supportive of Tabby. It was nice to see that Tabby had some sort of support system to fall back on as she healed. I really wish we would have seem more of Michael though! But I’m glad that Tabby had a mother figure (Amy) to fall back on when she had problems with her own mom. I’m glad that Tabby had a great step brother to protect her. And I’m glad that Tabby had a father who would do anything for her. That’s the type of family that everyone wants, and I’m kind of jealous of the fortune that Tabby had. I mean, great boyfriend, great family, and great best friend?
This novel was one of the many to touch on the topic of sexual assault. And although I have read various novels about it, this one was unique in itself. It had different consequences for the main character, and she reacted in a totally different way than any of the other novels that I’ve read. Usually the main character hides it, gets depressed, or something else generic. But for it to create control issues in the bedroom? That was an astounding idea, and I loved it. It really put a new twist on the subject.
Clare James is an author that I am excited to read more from. With a debut novel this great, I can’t wait to see how she improves. Filled to the brim with pain, recovery, and romance, Before You Go is marvelous tale that you mustn’t miss.