Posted February 22, 2016
By Mimi Cross
By KAMILA KNAUDT
Mimi Cross brings to life a story filled with characters with whom readers will identify from the first page of her debut novel “Before Goodbye.”
Growing up is hard as is. Everyone knows the challenges high school brings, especially when faced with a new school, college applications and most of all the dramas that come our way.
As we dig deeper in the novel, we are given the chance to experience high school all over again. What it is like to go to a new school when everyone seems to already have friends. What it is like to deal with the pressures high school embodies and, most of all, the pain and grief that come with traumatic moments in our lives.
Cate Reese seems to have everything going her way. A sophomore in high school, Cate has her life planned out.
Attending a music school is a given and her days are consumed by practice. Her guitar is her escape until one day her guitar becomes her worst enemy. Her muse and love Cal is tragically taken from her and she finds that heartbreak and guilt come hand in hand. After Cal’s death, Kate is left trying to cope with the pain, leaving her unhinged and broken.
At the same time David Bennet, a senior at Cate’s new school, struggles with guilt as he faces a tragedy of his own. The typical star athlete of the high school world, David struggles with his personal demons and has a hard time finding himself until he meets Cate. Relying on each other, David and Cate find that, through love and music, any wound can heal no matter how deep.
“Before Goodbye” is far from the typical coming of age teen romance book. The story is about more then just two teens in love, a common theme we see in books. But rather what it means to find yourself during life’s hard times.
Anyone who has experienced the death of a family member or friend knows the pain Cate and David undergo. The novel not only focuses on the pain that comes with heart break but also on expression, expression through music and words. Many parts of the book are left for music and actions to fill the gaps words sometimes cannot express.
Readers find that, at times, the novel leaves one hanging, but once the reader finishes the book. One realizes that all this time the author left these strange cliffhangers on purpose. To show that “words tell everything, words hide everything,” wrote Cross.
The main point behind the book is that sometimes words mean exactly what they mean but sometimes words can hide feelings and thoughts from others. The strange cliffhangers express exactly this. That sometimes it is hard to find the words you are looking for and that things can be left unsaid.
The complex nature of the novel allows the reader to connect with the different sides of each dynamic character throughout the book. Each character is multidimensional allowing the reader to connect and create a bond with at least one aspect of each character.
Music is an important theme in the novel and it’s definitely a book for those with a passion for music. At times the novel is difficult to follow if one is not familiar with music terminology or those who do not have a passion for music, unlike author Mimi Cross. Mimi Cross is a musician, composer, yoga enthusiast and the author behind “Before Goodbye” and the creator of Body of Writing. Body of Writing is a method where yoga is used to unlock creativity and inspire a person to write. Body of Writing combines yoga, meditation and writing exercises to help participants access the stories that are locked within.
Overall, the novel is a great read and does not disappoint. It is hard at times to find a novel that can satiate one’s need for romance but at the same time have a strong meaning behind it. “Before Goodbye” is exactly that book. At the end of the book, the reader is left thinking. “Before Goodbye” is a book for those looking for more then a cliché teen love story. It’s a story for those who enjoy romance novels but are also looking for a book that makes you think and reflect on what life is really about. The book is a perfect mixture of a love story and life experience.
- Title: “Before Goodbye”
- Author: Mimi Cross
- IBSN: 1503951286
- Publisher: Skyscape, Jan. 1, 2016
- Book availability: Hard cover, paperback, audio, e-reader
- Pages: 400
- Price: Hardcover, $11.09; paperback, $8.49