Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton [6/10]

Before I Saw You,” in the YA genre, offers a softly glowing, quite predictable, but tender tale of hardship and love. Alfie, who lost a leg in a car accident, finds himself engrossed with traumatized Alice, a burn victim who is horribly disfigured. Of the two central characters, yakking, action-oriented Alfie rings truer, while shrinking Alice could have been gingered up more. The hospital setting, our main locale for most of the book, is well portrayed insofar as the patients and doctors and nurses are concerned, but again, I found myself wishing for a bit more truthfulness about the bludgeoning depressiveness of modern medicine. The author unwinds the narrative with a sure hand, dialogue (especially Alfie’s) adds flavor, and the ending, if soppy-inevitable, crashes through with a bang. Overall, a diverting read.

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