About the Book
Book: Gone Too Soon
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: November 15, 2018
An icy road. A car crash.
A family changed forever.
A family changed forever.
Hannah Josephson had always been the “perfect” daughter. Kiera couldn’t live up to her before, and she certainly can’t now that her older sister has died in a car accident. But the image she carried resentfully of Hannah is challenged when she finds her dead sister’s diary and begins to read. Apparently Hannah’s final year wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought.
Caught in a pattern of blaming each other, the Josephson family is falling apart. Their father has left, their mother is mixing opiates and alcohol, little sister Maddie has been shipped off to spend the whole summer with their grandmother, and Kiera feels utterly alone with her grief and anger. A summer job helping at a park in a poor section of town provides a friend and a purpose.
But it’s Hannah’s diary that fills her thoughts. For the first time in years, she feels close to the sister she’s lost. But can the knowledge she gleans about her possibly help her patch back together the family that seems determined to implode?
About the Author
Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.
More from Melody
I think I’ve written about a hundred or more teen novels, but Gone Too Soon, a rather serious story, is a bit different. There’s no denying I’ve covered a bunch of gritty issues—everything from self-harm to suicide to murder—but I’ve never written a novel quite like this one. For starters, I wrote it from two viewpoints. Both the teenage daughter and her mother express themselves in this story. And because the premise involves an untimely death, the family is torn apart. As a result, there’s a lot of guilt and blame and confusion going around. They’re all in pain.
I’ve been asked several times what “inspired” this story. And I’m sad to say that it’s simply a case of “art imitating life.” I live in a small community where too many young people have died “too soon.” These untimely deaths—for a variety of random and unexplainable reasons—are devastating. I know more than a dozen families (some very close friends) who have tragically lost a child. So I’ve seen up close how it can tear a family apart. It’s truly heartbreaking, often leaving friends and family without words of comfort or explanation.
But that’s not the only reason I wrote this story. My hope is that teens (who often feel invincible) will be reminded that they are mortal and that this earthly life is temporary. Hard as it sounds, death is inevitable. And it’s not that I want everyone to be obsessed about dying, but we do live in a culture that practices denial about the end of a life. No one really wants to talk about it. My hope is that readers will take a hard, honest look, peel back some layers, and face death for what it is—a part of earthly life. And I hope readers will close the book with a little more understanding . . . and hope.
This book was a timely one for me to read. I lost my brother in March and the grieving process is so hard. There are times I wish I could have one more day with him. Other times I'm angry because he left me and then there are times I think I should have done more. Gone Too Soon is a powerful story of a family dealing with the loss of a family member. We don't know much about Hannah at first , only that she was the oldest daughter and died in an accident. Many people thought she was beautiful and the favorite of the family.
I loved how the author examines each family member as they grieve her loss. Everyone grieves differently and at their own pace. It was easy to relate to the mother especially. Her guilt overwhelms her and she falls into a hole of alcohol and drugs to drown her sorrow. It is an easy escape because you feel no pain, but you go deeper into the trap of addiction.
Kiera is the middle daughter and is the main focus of the book as she recounts how her family deals with Hannah's death. The author pulls apart each character and slowly puts them back together as they each go through different emotions such as guilt, depression, blame, anger and suicidal thoughts. It's easy to see that this was a dysfunctional family hiding behind smiles and a front that others couldn't see through.
I was angry with the father for the longest time because I thought he took the easy way out and just walked away. It surprised me how cold he became towards his wife, but soon I discovered it was his way of dealing with grief. The author does a great job of taking a character and exposes their inner thoughts and vulnerability.
We get to see the real Hannah through a diary she left behind. It is filled with confessions, real pain and raw emotions. There was something in the book about forgiving someone that really hit home for me. When you forgive someone, they don't have power over you anymore. It's interesting to note that each member of the family including the youngest daughter felt responsible for Hannah's death. The author does a great job explaining the guilt they feel and how it was an eye opener for each of them.
The book does deal with some sensitive subjects, but in a way that is helpful and realistic. The book is geared towards teens but I think it is for anyone who wants to be free from guilt, have a relationship with Jesus and learn that grieving is a process that takes time. It is not an easy book to read but it is one that helped me understand that none of us are immune to death and how we deal with it is our choice. I have left God out of my life for the last month, but this book reminded me that He is still here and he does heal the brokenhearted.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize of paperback copy of Gone Too Soon and a matching journal!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dfa9/gone-too-soon-celebration-tour-giveaway