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May 10, 2019

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

 A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

April 2019; Park Row; 978-0778308621
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); thriller
I have been a fan of Heather Gudenkauf's books since her first book, The Weight of Silence in 2009. Many times in this genre, the mystery is the central part of the book and the characters are not as important. What makes her books so fantastic is that there is always a central mystery but it's about characters that we feel like we know and that we care about -which to me, makes the mystery even more intense.

This book is about three 12-year-old girls. Cora and Jordyn had lived in their small town in Iowa for their whole lives. They had a strange relationship - sometimes they were friends but most of the time Jordyn bullied Cora and turned their other classmates against her. When Violet moves to town, she and Cora become friends until Jordyn tries to take that friendship away from her too. When the three of them start working on a class project about an urban legend, it ends with Cora badly injured, Violet totally traumatized and Jordyn unhurt. What occurred during their last sleepover is the mystery of the novel. As the secrets begin to unravel and the truth comes out, everyone is a suspect even those closest to the three girls.

The story is told through numerous journal entries, text messages and therapists notes, as well as the parents and girls themselves as we unravel the story of what happened to Cora, the girl who ended up near death and find out what really happened on that night.

It's part urban legend (Slenderman) and part teenage bullying but the whole story is full of tension and will keep you turning the pages until you get to the shocking ending.

This is a wonderful, exciting book by an author who writes fantastic books in this genre. As a reader, I cared about the three girls and their families. I wanted them all to be ok and I wanted the 'bad guy' to be punished for what happened to these girls. The ending was perfect and I never saw it coming! This is a novel about friendship and family and wanting to belong no matter the cost.

Buy Before She Was Found at Amazon

Connect with the author:
Twitter: @hgudenkauf

Other notable books by Heather Gudenkauf:
The Weight of Silence
Little Mercies
Missing Pieces

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. OOH! I've read four of Heather Gudenkauf's books and have enjoyed them all, so this is one I'll have to keep an eye out for. A friend of mine had given me a stack of her old books and that's how I was clued into her. I'm glad you enjoyed this!!!

    1. Stephanie -- I've read all of her books and she just keeps getting better!! This one had me guessing until the end!

  2. Thank you for being on this tour! I'm pretty excited to read this one, myself. Sara @ TLC Book Tours