Before & After You & Me
Emma blames herself when a freak accident at a pool party leaves Hunter, the town’s rising track star and her former boyfriend, paralyzed from the waist down. As she struggles with anxiety, loneliness and regret, she begins to obsessively paint portraits of legs and feet—Hunter’s legs and feet—and for the first time receives critical acclaim and notice for her artwork.
But what started as therapeutic for Emma ends up deepening her guilt. Does creating meaningful art require retreating inward toward self-expression, or striving outward toward recognition—or can it somehow be both?
Searching for one whole, authentic identity, Emma grapples with love, ambition, grief, homecoming, and—ultimately—redemption.
Before and After You and Me is a gorgeously crafted story of first loves and first losses, and how we grow from our grief, through vulnerability, time, and creative expression. Woodburn's ingenious use of timelines and her powerful command of details puts her in league with the best of today's contemporary YA authors."
Before & After You & Me is a masterclass on alternating timelines. The story is woven together so intricately, the characters painted with such a deft hand, that it’s like watching the author piece together a puzzle of a beautiful and unexpected work of art, one unique piece at a time. Woodburn touches on the full range of complex emotions before and after a tragedy, and she concludes with such fierce hope and joy that it’s unforgettable. I will be thinking about this book for a long time."
An inspiring and heartwarming exploration of self-discovery and forgiveness, Dallas Woodburn reminds us of the transformative power of embracing our past and giving ourselves the space to heal and grow.”
Book Club Guide
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