Review: Before They Find Us by Michelle A. Hansen


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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. 


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. 

What Rhea Thought:

Before They Find Us starts with a prologue from a character that finds it’s way into the story later. However you wouldn’t know who the character is unless you’re at least 60% into the story. This was pretty damn amazing.  Really.

Then comes Rebecca (Beck) Hale. I think Beck is one of the rare characters whom I could really see as a real person. I couldn’t find one thing in the entire novel that lacked a sense of reality—at least when it came to what Beck did. She’s loyal, she’s fierce and she’s a fighter. And she’s one of the girls who are “Girls-with-balls” (Refer to the tags of this post).

Rebecca was a mere eleven when she witnesses the rape and murder of a young girl. She testified against the killer, Kyle, who ended up killing himself in prison on being convicted.

Six years later, Kyle is back for revenge. Or is he?

I would say the first 20% of the book is slow. Ryan—Beck’s best friend / love interest—has run from his house in Las Vegas and come to Beck in Wyoming because he’s become a target for a bombing conspiracy he had no part in. And both of they are receiving death threat texts. So they run to Las Vegas.

I’m not quite sure I understand the logic of going back where you’re in the danger of being arrested, but okay. Hansen made it work. On we go.

Jordan—whose girlfriend gets seriously injured in the bombing that is apparently Ryan’s doing—meets Beck in Las Vegas. Convinced of her non-involvement, he agrees to help her find the real bomber.

Jordan and Beck had an amazing chemistry. I absolutely LOVED them together and I was honestly sad to see Beck with Ryan. Sure, they’ve got the whole I’ve-known-you-since-you-were-in-diapers thing going on for them but still. While Ryan is the gentle, loving type, Jordan is fierce and goes right to the kill. I like that in my men. Jordan and Beck kiss all of once and it is everything!

His hand slid around my waist, pulling my hips against him. There was nothing tentative about Jordan Bainfield’s kiss. No testing the water. No slow build-up. He just threw open the door to lust and dared me to step inside. And I did. For a moment in that hot, spontaneous kiss, but Ryan’s face flashed across my mind. This betrayal would cut him so deep. I couldn’t hurt him like that.

This explains exactly what I want to say. Throughout the book, wherever Jordan and Beck where involved, I got the feeling that Beck held back only because she felt like it would have been betraying Ryan. She loves him, true, but it just felt like she didn’t pursue this thing with Jordan because she felt an obligation to Ryan. Like I said, Jordan and Beck had amazing chemistry and they would have been real good together. *sigh*

I’d rather refrain from talking about Wade because talking about him is basically ruining the whole damn thing for you. The only thing I could say is that he’s got personality. He’s the bad guy and he does it so, so well.

The most important thing that Miss Hansen has going for her is the strength of her characters. The first thing that came to my mind when I finished the book and actually sat down to review it is that each character in Before They Find Us has a personality. These days, most YA novels lack that. The character is pleasant to read, sure, but lacks a voice, if you get what I’m saying. But Beck, Ryan, Jordan and Wade have strong personalities with their fixed demeanors and ways of reacting to certain situations. So much so, that they were almost predictable.

Almost, but not quite.


Final Verdict: All in all, Before The Find Us is an amazing work of fiction. I’ve never quite had YA Fiction and Suspense work quite so well for me. A slow read in the beginning but it picks up when it has to. I’ll give ★★★ 


About the Author:


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.



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