Before They Find Us by Michelle A. Hansen
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: November 2013
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I’m going to make you wish you were dead. Just a text. Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Hales tries not to worry. Probably a wrong number.
Not really meant for her, and definitely not related to the crime she witnessed six years ago. Right? Then two states away, a bomb goes off in her best friend's locker. Soon Ryan is labeled a terrorist and runs to the safest place he knows—Rebecca’s house in small-town Wyoming.
It doesn’t take long for the FBI to show up asking questions. Rebecca lies, of course, and says she hasn’t seen him. Now she's neck-deep in it with him, whatever "it" is. The only way out is to return to Vegas, where Ryan is a wanted man. The city of lies and illusion tests Rebecca’s wits as she struggles to find the person who framed Ryan and why.
Is Rebecca’s text linked to the bombing? And what does it have to do with a six year old murder? Rebecca needs to find out before she loses Ryan—and her own life.
"Before They Find Us" by Michelle A. Hansen was one of those books that I literally could not put down. It was such a page turner that I was up until two in the morning because I was determined to finish it and see the end of Rebecca and Ryan's journey before I went to bed.
The book starts off with a Prologue that seems out of place, until you realize who the characters were and what they were planning. Starting the book this way shows the reader that there is an elaborate plan about to go down, and our main characters are going to be at the heart of it. We are clued in right away to the fact that this is going to be a book with some twists and turns that will leave us at the edge of our seat.
I really enjoyed the main character, Rebecca. The main story was told in her point of view, and Hansen did a great job of making a well rounded character out of her. She has suffered from nightmares since she witnessed something traumatic when she was younger (and is still living with some of the repercussions), but that doesn't turn her into a complete basket case.
She still lives her life, has her best friend, and has the perfect amount of sarcasm to balance out her personality. However, she lives in a small town where she is constantly reminded of that past event, and it makes her a bit of an outcast with some of the people in town.
Speaking of her best friend, his name is Ryan and they grew up with each other before him and his family moved to Las Vegas.Helping Ryan out of some trouble that he's put into is Rebecca's driving force in this story. These two were super cute. You could see how their friendship grows and changes over time, and you can also feel how much they truly care about each other. It was good to see a young adult relationship that was built on years of knowing each other, instead of the instant love that's mostly prevalent lately.
Both of them take their journey to Las Vegas (which I was excited to read about since it's one of my favorite cities!) to get to the bottom of who is trying to frame Ryan and Rebecca gets to know the people he goes to school with. For the first time, she's meeting and hanging out with people who don't know her entire life history and she definitely seems to branch out more.
While in Vegas, Rebecca also meets Jordan, who helps her on her quest. I loved Jordan. At first the two of them butted heads more often than not, but eventually learned to work together. It's possible that I loved Jordan so much because he brought out Rebecca's lovely snarky side. At one point, he makes her buy a new dress in order to seduce someone they need information from and when Jordan's uncle remarks on it, Rebecca tells him, "I wasn't upscale enough for the Palo Verde crowd, so Jordan repackaged me.” Both of them tease and torment each other, and it's fun to see how they work together.
I definitely recommend "Before They Find Us.” The characters were well thought out, as was the story as a whole. All of the different characters were woven together in a way that made sense to the overall story, and that story is one you want to just keep reading until you're finished with the last page.
Michelle A. Hansen was raised in southeastern Washington. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English teaching from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and taught high school English for six years. Michelle loves Pepsi and Doritos more than chocolate. She loves summertime and hates to be cold. She has had three near-death experiences. She’s addicted to office supplies and has an irrationally large stash of pens and notebooks.