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Before Wings

by Beth Goobie

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list price: $14.95
also available: Hardcover eBook
published: 2001
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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
8 to 12
Reading age:
12 to 18
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  • Commended, PSLA Top Forty
  • Short-listed, SYRCA Snow Willow nominee
  • Long-listed, ALA Best Books for Young Adults
  • Long-listed, ALA Popular Paperbacks
  • Long-listed, ALA Michael L. Printz Award nominee
  • Winner, CLA Young Adult Book Award
  • Short-listed, Sunburst Award nominee
  • Short-listed, YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee
  • Winner, Mr. Christie's Book Award
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice starred selection
  • Winner, Saskatchewan Book Award
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award - Children's Text nominee
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
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Having barely survived a brain aneurysm two years earlier, fifteen-year-old Adrien, working at her Aunt Erin's summer camp, is caught between the land of the living and the spirit world, unsure where she belongs. As she struggles to understand the message delivered by the spirits of the five young women that only she sees, she learns of the tragic consequences of their connection to her aunt. Faced with the knowledge that another aneurysm could strike her at any time and mostly shunned by the other staff because she is the boss's niece, Adrien finds a soulmate in Paul, the camp handyman, who is convinced that he has seen his own death foretold.

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The spirits were moaning, a low sound that seemed to be calling the storm toward the beach where Adrien came to a halt, pushing to stay erect in the wind. She was sure the spirits were calling something specific—a short phrase, several words, repeated like the lightning that snaked in the sky. Another sheer burst of white and Adrien stepped forward into the wild lake, the call of the spirit girls, the energy of their brains dying across the sky. Into some understood sameness.

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Editorial Reviews

"Full of magic realism and beautifully written."

— Booklist

"This is a dark but gripping story, with a lot going on to draw in readers."


"Offers remarkable insight and raw, true emotion for readers who find themselves grappling with more than the usual load of teen troubles."

"The book can rightfully be called inspirational."

— Children's Book News

"Beth Goobie unites her intense poetic ability with a fascinating plot that compels the reader to love, hate, and relate to each of the characters as they grow and change."

— The Bloomsbury Review

"Assured and flexible. She masters both edgy, abbreviated repartee of teenagers and a lyrical prose style for describing mystical experience."

— Quill & Quire

"Richly sensuous descriptions evoke alternating shivers of fear and excitement...will leave readers breathless!"


"Goobie uses poetic language and well-realized characterization in this gripping story to recreate the intensity with which a teen lives life and...comes to terms with the possibility of death."

— CITY Parent

"Besides a good read, there is much to explore in this novel."

— The Alan Review

"Engaging characters, realistic setting, and upbeat ending will satisfy teen readers."

— School Library Journal

"This book is good. Very, very good. Buy it, read it, recommend it. As a general rule, I make very sparing use of the 'Excellent' rating, however, Goobie's latest young adult offering deserves no less."

— Resource Links

"Masterfully written and a great read."

— CM Magazine

"Powerful, sensual, thought-provoking and most of all, refreshingly original. Read it and let your imagination fly free."

— Rambles

"The aura of mystery and romance is aptly melded to the heady joys and secrets of summer camp."

— Horn Book Magazine
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About the Author

Beth Goobie

Beth Goobie grew up in a family in which the appearance of a normal childhood hid many secrets. She moved away to attend university, became a youth residential treatment worker and studied creative writing at the University of Alberta. She is the award-winning author of over twenty novels, including The Pain Eater, The Lottery, the CLA Award-winning Before Wings, and the adult novel The First Principles of Dreaming. Beth makes her home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
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