Member Reviews

Mmm mmm I'm not to sure how I feel about this one?! It was a good read, it definitely kept my attention! It had light suspense, intrigue, so many crazy twists and turns! The storyline was interesting and went in a few directions that I did not see! I will recommend reading this book as it was worth reading but I was up and down with this one! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!

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Though this book has some elements of the Amanda Knox case (I’m on my own in a foreign country with my friends, someone died and my behavior is flagged as strange and vilified in the press), I thought it was a really fresh interesting take on that particular genre. Kept me engaged and I really liked the characters. I thought the book was a little bit on the long side…perhaps cutting out a little more of the tension building on the trip could help the length.

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Before we were innocent: A slow moving story that unfolds a tale of three teenage girls who are the epitome of spoiled/privileged. The friends embark on a life altering summer vacation to Greece, in which the aftermath lingers for life.
This read was not for me; perhaps, because the lives all just seemed so far fetched yet stereotypical of what one may think of young wealthy mean girls.
I am glad I took a chance and read this novel but I would not go out of my way to recommend this one.

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This one took too long for me to get into. It ended up being just okay for me.

Thank you NetGalley for eARC in exchange for an honest review

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Heart pounding thriller that left me on the edge of my seat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Definitely one of the best books this year.

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I really liked this book! I appreciated the breakdown of teenage girls, and the time jumps felt well-paced. Enjoyed more than ms. Berman's first book.

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Three best friends in high school who are almost like sisters - "have the power to heal and lift each other up, but also the power to hurt and destroy each other." One tragically is killed and the other two must deal with the consequences 10 years later as adults. Very slow moving story.

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*Full review with photos coming at the end of March as per publishers preference!*

BEFORE WE WERE INNOCENT by Ella Berman


Drink Pairing: TBD

Review: I loved this book, so so much. First of all, the settings were incredible and so descriptive that you could truly visualize everything from the rocky coasts of the Greek islands to the McMansions in Malibu and Calabasas. I do have a soft spot for both the Greek Islands and LA so obviously this made reading fun off the bat!

But there is so much more to this book that I loved - this is one of those stories where you get so wrapped up into it that you feel the emotions of the characters yourself.

I went from being anxious, to sad, to numb, to relieved, and then back again - needless to say it was a rollercoaster.

I was expecting some giant plot twist and a ton of action but instead this story served up everything it needed to in just the nuances of the characters personalities and experiences. That’s how you know the writing is truly excellent!

I loved going back in time to the summer when everything went wrong, and I think anyone who was ever a teenage girl can relate to the core of what those three girls were going through that summer.

This is a story of attempting to find yourself, only to lose yourself before you ever get the chance to succeed. It’s a reminder that life is so very fragile and everything can fall apart and be derailed in under a minute.

Refreshing, and yet, suspenseful - this is definitely a new favorite and I couldn’t recommend it more!

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This one was really good! I love friendship stories, especially in thrillers. This was fun and twisty and kept me interested.

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"Maybe I was always destined to climb over the bodies of those I once loved to get where I needed to go," ... "But some days, I just don't have the stomach for it."
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I'm a fan of Ella Berman since I read her debut in 2020, The Comeback (one of my favorites), so I was thrilled to see her new book Before We Were Innocent and even more thrilled at the privilege of reading an early copy - thank you so much to Berkley!
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BFFs Joni, Bess, and Evangeline are spending the summer together in Greece before college they start college in the fall. When a tragic accident befalls one of the girls, the other two must navigate life without their best friend, wracked with their own guilt and emotions of everything that went wrong that summer. Ten years later when another tragedy strikes, suspicion arises - are these tragedies just accidents? Even lightning doesn't strike twice.
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Why I loved it: Mystery, intrigue, superb writing, and well-developed characters. The writing is so good I felt like I was in Greece with Bess or in Malibu at Joni's house, equally chilled with the suspicion surrounding the characters. Like The Comeback, the author did a great job endearing me to her characters and cheering for them even though there is a lot of morally grey woven in. This was just a story that I did NOT want to put down, and I love that feeling that I have to keep reading to find out what happens.
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I rec for those who enjoy:
- Myteries
- Literary writing
- Suspense

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4/5 stars. This book focuses on friendships and all the great and not so great things that go along with them. It brought me back to high school with the strong emotions. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC!

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I really enjoyed this novel. From the first chapter I was sucked in. This was my first book by this author. I'll check out her previous work.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkeley Publishing for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I know females especially teenage ones have the capacity to be completely self-obsessed and self-hating but Bess takes these to a whole new level in Before We We’re Innocent!
A summer with her two best friends on a Greek island imploded in the worst way and ten years on she still is hiding from the world and her feelings. That is until Joni, one of the best friends knocks on her door one evening and asks a very big favor.
This was brilliant, frustrating, tragic tale of the positivity and negativity of female friendships. My heart ached for the lives they lost that night on the cliff but hardened at the games they played with each other.
You will want to read this in one sitting!
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

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Before We Were Innocent is the perfect bookclub read! It really encompasses a myriad of genres within itself and held my attention from beginning to end. I'm excited to read more from the author!

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very good book , good writing kept me on my toes , the cover hooked me and the fact that this takes place the year i graduated hs made it feel relatable.

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Devoured this quickly! Enjoyed a ton. Provides an interesting humanistic approach to the accused. I also enjoyed the author's title THE COMEBACK, but I think I preferred this one!

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Friendship tropes in books are always my favorite. So when I saw this book on NetGalley I knew I had to read it. I love the cover so that was another bonus.

I’m happy to say the book lived up to all my expectations. This is an excellent book that’s very interesting and has compelling characters. There was love, tragedy, and suspense among other things. I enjoyed the timeline back to 2008. I will probably request this for my bookclub pick once it’s published. Many thanks to Netgalley and to the publisher for the advanced readers copy.

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Holy crap this book was amazing! It was thrilling and it hooked me from the very first page, and kept me on my toes.

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Before We Were Innocent is a story of three young women on a pre-college, summer of 2008 vacation that goes awry. The interactions of the three unfold a chapter at a time, and alternate with events ten years later. The story begs discussion. Where does the title come from? The 2008 story comes to a clear resolution, but I did not feel satisfied with the similar issues in 2018 or at the conclusion. I liked the narrative, and was pulled into the story from beginning to end—but I feel like I need to talk my way through the ending. I look forward to the print copy being available so we can discuss the 2018 events. A good, quick read!

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Before We Were Innocent perfectly captures adolescence and teenage friendships and the toxicity that can come with it. This was my first book by the author and I was floored. This book is told between the past and the present and it really helps you see what happens before and after the events that occurred in the past.

This book is the thriller I was looking for this year and I’m looking forward to reading other books by this author!

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