Wrapping up the month with this thriller!
Thanks to Park Row Books and TLC Book Tours for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Make sure to check back for the #allthebookreviews thoughts!
A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town
For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.
Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.
Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.
My Thoughts: 5/5 stars
It’s no secret that I’m absolutely fascinated with urban legends, especially ones like Slenderman. Gudenkauf brings us a suspense/mystery in a small town where three twelve year old girls get sucked into the town’s own Slenderman-esk urban legend.
The book starts off with a bang – a 12 year old girl getting brutally stabbed and her head repeatedly smashed on the railroad tracks as a shadowy figure watches on in the tall grass. This is only in the first few pages! We alternate between multiple perspectives throughout this book. Told in the form of police interrogations, text messages, online chats, journal entries, and more. The author unfolds the events leading up to the horrific attack by the train depot.
Cora was always a more isolated girl; not many friends and she seemed to become a target for bullying from fellow classmates, especially Jordyn. Violet moves to town and begins a friendship with Cora. When a class project on urban legends puts the three girls in a group together they begin to research the story of Joseph Wither. The town’s local urban legend about a young boy that disappeared by the train depot and has said to be responsible for multiple disappearances of local girls throughout the years.
When Cora enters a chatroom online someone claiming to be Joseph Wither begins talking to her. Giving her information that only he would know and telling her that they should go away together. The culmination of the events leads us to the night of her attack and I was not expecting the ending. Gudenkauf did a fantastic job throwing us off the trail on who actually did it. I guessed a few times and was completely wrong.
This is one of those books that’s terrifying because it is entirely realistic and possible. It is nearly impossible to keep track of what kids are doing online and who they are talking to. Impressionable young girls become easy targets for people and this is a prime example. There was one part that had me physically cringing and I love when a book can do this to the reader. I cannot believe I haven’t picked up a book by Gudenkauf yet, but that will definitely change!
About the Author:
Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound. Heather lives in Iowa with her family.
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