Before She Was Foundby Heather Gudenkauf (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Park Row on April 16, 2019
Genres: Adult, Bullying, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
I’m always on the lookout for a good mystery or thriller, and I’ve heard good things about author Heather Gudenkauf from former Bewitched Bookworm Kristen in the past. When this author’s latest book, Before She Was Found came along on tour, I couldn’t pass up the chance to find out what Kristen loved so much about her writing. The story of three twelve-year-old girls who go to an abandoned train depot in the middle of the night–and only two of them return unscathed–had me interested from the first pages. Told in several different points of view and through one of the girls’ journals as well as text messages and online chat room discussions between various characters, Before She Was Found really captured the social dynamics at play today–between families, adolescents, as well as perfect strangers that are thrown together when tragedy strikes.
Cora is a quiet, shy girl with no real friends, but when Violet moves to town, they quickly form a friendship. But a popular girl has taken an interest in Violet as well, and Cora’s daily life at school turns from looking up to taking a turn for the worst. Having been picked on and bullied by resident troubled mean girl Jordyn, Cora is surprised when Jordyn takes an interest in her–and not just in torturing her–after the three of them have been assigned to work together on a project for class. Since they have to research and present an urban legend, Jordyn pushes her original project of their local bogey man on the two girls, and Cora’s fascination with this supposed ghost that can take you away from this small town life grows to disturbing proportions. But when the three of them go to the rail yard and Cora is stabbed and nearly beaten to death, no one is talking about what happened that night.
What follows the crime is an investigation that threatens to tear families apart, threaten someone’s job, and give the local small town police force a run for their money. The girls aren’t talking and it’s putting pressure on their parents or guardians, with Cora needing surgery and extensive treatment, Violet showing extreme fear and flightiness, and Jordyn covering her mean-girl tracks any way that she can. The suffocating small town atmosphere only makes things more intense as everything spins out of control before it comes into focus in the end.
I give Before She Was Found a four out of five. I love unreliable narrators, and this book was full of them. You never knew who or exactly what to believe, and I had so much fun trying to pick the threads of truth from the lies. The ending had me a bit stumped, and I was quite surprised when the big reveal hit. I love it when a book is a bit harder to figure out. The bouncing back and forth between different times was hard to follow when reading on Kindle though, so it was a bit confusing as well as the multiple characters in the beginning until you get to know everyone. Heather Gudenkauf is an author that I will be on the lookout from now on since I really did enjoy how the story was woven together. I’m a sucker for small town Midwestern settings since they remind me of why I moved to the Chicago suburbs and will never move back!
Find BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND
About Heather Gudenkauf
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.
Connect with Heather Gudenkauf
Heather Gudenkauf’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND:
Monday, April 1st: The Lit Bitch
Tuesday, April 2nd: Lindsey Reads and Reviews
Wednesday, April 3rd: Jessicamap Reviews
Thursday, April 4th: Amy’s Book-et List
Friday, April 5th: Books & Spoons
Monday, April 8th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Tuesday, April 9th: What is That Book About
Wednesday, April 10th: Bookish Connoisseur
Thursday, April 11th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Friday, April 12th: Lori’s Reading Corner
Monday, April 15th: @theunreadshelf
Monday, April 15th: @wherethereadergrows
Tuesday, April 16th: @bookstackedblonde
Tuesday, April 16th: @tarheelreaders
Wednesday, April 17th: @bookclubwithbite
Thursday, April 18th: @readingbetweenthe_wines
Thursday, April 18th: @ashareads
Friday, April 19th: @shereadswithcats
Saturday, April 20th: @readingwithmere
Sunday, April 21st: @love_my_dane_dolly_
Monday, April 15th: Where the Reader Grows
Tuesday, April 16th: Tar Heel Readers
Thursday, April 18th: Asha Reads
Friday, April 19th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, April 22nd: Palmer’s Page Turners
Monday, April 22nd: @basicbsguide
Monday, April 22nd: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Tuesday, April 23rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Thursday, April 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, April 26th: Helen’s Book Blog
Monday, April 29th: Amy’s Book-et List
Wednesday, May 1st: @downtogetthefictionon
Wednesday, May 1st: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, May 2nd: Books & Bindings
Friday, May 3rd: @bookishconnoisseur
Monday, May 6th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, May 8th: Book by Book
Wednesday, May 8th: @wordsinpages
Thursday, May 9th: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, May 10th: Girl Who Reads
TBD: Wednesday, April 17th: Sweet Southern Home
Latest posts by Heather (see all)
- Until We Are Lost by Leslie Archer – #TLCBookTours Review and Giveaway - January 12, 2021
- Pretending by Holly Bourne – Review - December 1, 2020
- Pretending by Holly Bourne – Excerpt - November 17, 2020