Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

by Melody Carlson


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An icy road. A car crash.

A family changed forever.

Hannah Josephson had always been the “perfect” daughter. Kiera couldn’t live up to her before, and she certainly can’t now that her older sister has died in a car accident. But the image she carried resentfully of Hannah is challenged when she finds her dead sister’s diary and begins to read. Apparently Hannah’s final year wasn’t as perfect as everyone thought.

Caught in a pattern of blaming each other, the Josephson family is falling apart. Their father has left, their mother is mixing opiates and alcohol, little sister Maddie has been shipped off to spend the whole summer with their grandmother, and Kiera feels utterly alone with her grief and anger. A summer job helping at a park in a poor section of town provides a friend and a purpose.

But it’s Hannah’s diary that fills her thoughts. For the first time in years, she feels close to the sister she’s lost. But can the knowledge she gleans about her possibly help her patch back together the family that seems determined to implode?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946531100
Publisher: WhiteFire Publishing
Publication date: 11/15/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 385,095
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

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Gone Too Soon 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
5643437 More than 1 year ago
Gone to Soon is a book that will touch your heart. When Hannah Johnson dies in a car accident, her family essentially falls apart. Everyone had believed Hannah’s life was perfect, but when her younger sister Kiera finds her sister’s diary and begins reading it, she finds her sister’s life was not so perfect after all. This book will make you think. It may make you cry. I found it difficult to put down. Dad moves out, while their mother starts using drugs. One has to wonder if the family can survive this tragedy. So pick up this book for yourself and find out the outcome. I received a complimentary copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
Erin_Slocum More than 1 year ago
My thoughts on Gone Too Soon: I have a love for Melody Carlson. She writes wonderful books with great content. This book follows that pattern. First I read the book to make sure it was as good as all her others. I wanted to make sure that it was appropriate for my teenage daughters. My verdict. This touches on a LOT of topics that are hard ones. Ones that we definitely need to talk about and work with. But. I will not be having my daughter read this book just yet. She's only 14 and there are some really heavy things in here. You read about rape, cuss words, cutting, suicide, and lots of other things that I don't want to introduce in this way to my daughter. If you have a loved one who has been exposed to these things in a negative way and are at a point that reading about how to deal with them and overcome them would be helpful, this is a great book for that. It is well written and really does a good job of covering the hard stuff. When reading this book you get three different perspectives to read through. Hannah's diary entries. Kiera is the first person account and then Moira pops in and out in the third person. A bit about the storyline. Hannah has died in a car accident. Her sister Kiera is really struggling. She finds Hannah's diary and decides to read it. Moira is their mother who turns to alcohol to offset her grief. Father Alex takes a leave of absence from the family. This is partly due to all the stress and grief and partly due to Moira telling him to leave when she was drunk. Another sister has gone to live with grandparents "for now" and life is just super stressful in the home. As I mentioned there are lots of heavy subjects touched on in the book. Sex, drugs, alcohol, abuse, self-harm, and a whole lot more. But you also get a mention of God and his love and characters finding the truth. I do think this is a good book and it has a place. But I will not be recommending it for teenagers unless an adult has read it and decided it can be helpful in their situation. It, in my opinion, is a good adult read though. If you do not approve of cussing (we don't) then you may have some issues with the book. If I had not agreed to review this book I probably would not have finished it as it doesn't correlate with our family standards. But I did finish it and I do think it is a good read for the right audience.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
Beware that this book will be making you cry. This is funny at times but can be very depressing through much of the story. This is a story of how one family handles the death of a teenage daughter. Can this family survive the feelings that occur or will they fall apart? I loved how Melody Carlson showed what happens with this family. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
This book was a timely one for me to read. I lost my brother in March and the grieving process is so hard. There are times I wish I could have one more day with him. Other times I'm angry because he left me and then there are times I think I should have done more. Gone Too Soon is a powerful story of a family dealing with the loss of a family member. We don't know much about Hannah at first , only that she was the oldest daughter and died in an accident. Many people thought she was beautiful and the favorite of the family. I loved how the author examines each family member as they grieve her loss. Everyone grieves differently and at their own pace. It was easy to relate to the mother especially. Her guilt overwhelms her and she falls into a hole of alcohol and drugs to drown her sorrow. It is an easy escape because you feel no pain, but you go deeper into the trap of addiction. Kiera is the middle daughter and is the main focus of the book as she recounts how her family deals with Hannah's death. The author pulls apart each character and slowly puts them back together as they each go through different emotions such as guilt, depression, blame, anger and suicidal thoughts. It's easy to see that this was a dysfunctional family hiding behind smiles and a front that others couldn't see through. I was angry with the father for the longest time because I thought he took the easy way out and just walked away. It surprised me how cold he became towards his wife, but soon I discovered it was his way of dealing with grief. The author does a great job of taking a character and exposes their inner thoughts and vulnerability. We get to see the real Hannah through a diary she left behind. It is filled with confessions, real pain and raw emotions. There was something in the book about forgiving someone that really hit home for me. When you forgive someone, they don't have power over you anymore. It's interesting to note that each member of the family including the youngest daughter felt responsible for Hannah's death. The author does a great job explaining the guilt they feel and how it was an eye opener for each of them. The book does deal with some sensitive subjects, but in a way that is helpful and realistic. The book is geared towards teens but I think it is for anyone who wants to be free from guilt, have a relationship with Jesus and learn that grieving is a process that takes time. It is not an easy book to read but it is one that helped me understand that none of us are immune to death and how we deal with it is our choice. I have left God out of my life for the last month, but this book reminded me that He is still here and he does heal the brokenhearted. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
TheBeccaFiles More than 1 year ago
Gone Too Soon takes the reader into the depths of utter brokenness experienced by the family of young Hannah Josephson following her death in an unexpected car accident during her senior year of high school. Six months later, Keira finds her sister's diary hidden in one of the drawers of her dresser. Never would she have expected to see what she found written inside. I have been very excited to read this book for quite a while. A few friends of mine shared there reviews a few months ago and it's been high on my TBR pile since then. There have been some people who loved it from cover to cover, and others who have felt that it went to darker places than they were comfortable with. So here's the deal: as an adult I know that I want to protect kids from the dangers of the world and believe that they aren't ready to hear of the level of darkness around them. On the flip side, I know that I was personally exposed to similar content in this book as early as middle school. Yes, I hung out with kids much older than me and didn't always make the wisest decisions, but the truth is I didn't fully understand a lot of what I was walking into. Looking back I fully believe that God protected me from a whole lot of yuck, considering the fact that my friends were more "protective" of me than they were inclusive. Why do I share this? Because sometimes I think we can be so careful to protect kids, that we miss the reality of what they are already experiencing. Our fear of talking is then passed on to the next generation. Having said that, this book does hit some tough topics such as rape, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts; however it also holds some very powerful redemption that couldn't be fully appreciated until travelling through the depths of brokenness. Hurt people hurt people. Throughout the story each of the family members seems to lash out at one another to blame them for Hannah's accident, all while crumbling under the pressure of the guilt they feel themselves. They retreat to whatever seems to give them temporary satisfaction to either numb or ignore their pain. What they don't know is that Hannah had her own compelling journey that lead her to an eternal relationship with her Heavenly Father. This story doesn't sugar coat, ignore, or miraculously erase the struggles this family experiences. Instead, the reader is taken deep into the trenches with them and walks with them through a very personal journey towards hope and healing in Christ. This book was an emotional ride but it was also incredibly powerful. The author did an amazing job of bringing all the characters and their struggles to life throughout the pages. Yes, there are some very dark moments, but the they needed to be walked through to get a fuller picture of the indisputable redemption. I highly, highly recommend this story! *I received a copy of this book through CelebrateLit. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
amandainpa More than 1 year ago
This was a very gritty and sad story about a family that is falling apart after the death of one of the teenage daughters. The story follows Kiera, the sister of Hannah, who passed away in a car accident. Kiera just discovered Hannah's diary and begins reading it to learn more about what Hannah was going through up to the accident. The chapters following Kiera are told in first person. I enjoyed reading about Kiera, she was very honest and her development throughout the story was great.  The reader also follows Kiera's mother Moira (in third person), who is struggling with many addictions while trying to cope with the loss of her daughter. The relationship between Moira and Kiera was very difficult to read and sad.  The message of faith in the story was good and the ending was almost a bit chilling. I appreciated the story but I found it very sad to read.  Overall, this would be a good story for older teens who enjoy contemporary stories. I received this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
NKBookReviewer More than 1 year ago
“Gone Too Soon” is a Contemporary Christian Young Adult offering by author Melody Carlson. It was a difficult one for me. I am not sure what age “Young Adult” means, but this book tackled very mature topics. By the time I had finished reading it I was an emotional wreck. First off, I am far from a young adult having twin thirteen year old granddaughters. They were always in my mind while reading a book on teenagers. I would not suggest they read this because of their age. Author Carlson has written many books, but this one seemed more on the edgy, darker side. The situations are real for today, and sometimes too brutal for me. There is death, rape, drugs, smoking, exhibition, lewd dressing, animal cruelty, and things that kids just should not do. Even the language is rough around the edges. Unfortunately that is what is happening in our world today with some teens. This story is about a dysfunctional family dealing with grief after a daughter (sister) is killed. Using drugs, alcohol, and other things to cope divides the family rather than brings them closer together. It is about misguided teenagers. There is inspiration sprinkled throughout this story. Some places it is heavier than others. The author includes praying, Bible reading, Bible study, and going to church. One place that bothered me was when a character cried out “Oh, God” as it is never clear if this is in vain or a prayer for help. There is absolutely no doubt this is a Christian novel. Gone Too Soon has a nice easy to read pace. The author’s style is steady and grabs readers’ attention quickly. The characters are well thought and have many dimensions. I could imagine their emotions and wanted to mentor the teens. The tough subjects were handled in a way to allow learning. I would recommend this book to certain people. Older teens, people in ministry, women, and a book club. This is definitely one to discuss. I would not recommend it to anyone 15 or under, possibly 17. I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review. These are my own, honest words.
BMace More than 1 year ago
As this is the first YA book I have read, I was not sure what to expect. What I received was a story that brought tears, anger, frustration and eventually a sense of peace. This contemporary family is basically dysfunctional, a situation that is compounded by the untimely death of the oldest daughter. What follows is blame, depression and addiction eventually leading to an overdose. When the diary of this young lady is found, the story around her life is told. What would you give up to help ‘heal’ your family? A story of how faith can bring about forgiveness and wholeness. This ARC was given by NetGalley and CelebrateLit. This review gives just a small window of my impressions.
Ourpugs More than 1 year ago
Gone too soon This is one of the best books I have read this year. It was a very touching book. Even brought a tear or two. Once I started reading it was hard to put down. Hannah dies in a car accident just after she had started driving. We get to know her through her diary. Hannah had two sisters, of course they are both having a hard time but worst for Kiera. She finds Hannahs diary and reads it throughout the book. They are all blaming themselves and each other for Hannah death. Mom and dad cannot get along, dad moves out and mom gets involved with drugs. Is the family going to be ruined forever? I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review. This is my own opinion.
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
Only God knows the number of days he has ordained for each of us, so when seventeen yr old Hannah dies unexpectedly in a car accident on New Years Eve, her whole family falls apart. Middle sister Kiera finds Hannah’s diary hidden in her room, so she secretly “steals” it to read. Thus begins a discovery process for her about her “perfect” sister. As her family comes unglued right under her nose, she hides and begins reading Hannah’s thoughts. There’s so much she didn’t know and realize about her dead sister. Kiera regrets that Hannah, gone too soon, will never be there for them to become closer. There was so much emotion displayed within the pages and I found myself wiping away tears along with the characters. How do they mend a broken family? Each one blames themselves for Hannah’s death through different circumstances. The diary plays an important part of the healing process as they learn what important things Hannah wanted each one of them to learn and begin mending their relationships from within. I was fully engaged in this story and read through it in less than a day. It was so moving and real for I too have experienced young death within my own family. I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Gone Too Soon is among my favorites I have read this year so far. It tells the story of the Josephson family struggling with the death of the oldest daughter. Hannah died in an auto accident and the family points fingers at one another as to who is to blame. Kiera, the middle daughter discovers Hannah’s diary and finds out she was not who she thought she was. This discovery brings a whole new view of life for the family. Gone Too Soon covers quite a bit of heavy real life issues. Such as: Grief, rape, and addiction. I intended to read only one chapter before continuing on to my daily chores. However, my daily chores did not get done that day. I could not put the book down until I read the last page. My heart ached for Kiera and her family. I was hoping they would find their way. I am giving Gone Too Soon a well deserved five plus stars. I highly recommend this inspirational story for all! I loved it! I receive this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Gone Too Soon is labeled as a young adult novel, but I would not recommend this book for readers under fifteen do to some of the content (drugs, alcohol, parent hitting a child, minor foul language and a teenager taken advantage of at a party). I felt that Gone Too Soon was a realistic story. We get to see what a family goes through after losing a family member. Blame, grief and anger are ripping the Josephson family apart. I could feel the character’s emotions as they struggled. The story is told from three different point-of-views. Kiera’s story is told in the first person, Moira in the third person and then Hannah’s diary entries. Due to the dark nature of the story, I found Gone Too Soon to be a depressing story. I was glad when the story started to lighten up in the last half of the book. I like Kiera’s growth over the course of the story. She needs to go through the various stages of grief before she can begin to help others. I found Gone Too Soon easy to read with steady pacing. I liked how God is presented in this story. God is our savior, but He is also our friend and comforter. My favorite sentence from the book is “If we blame ourselves, it’s like saying we are God”. God is in control and He has a reason for everything He does. It just may take us a while to discover His intention. I like how Gone Too Soon ended. There are valuable life lessons presented in this book, and I feel that Gone Too Soon would be a good story for an individual going through a similar situation. Gone Too Soon is a story of overcoming one’s grief, forgiveness and redemption.
Kathae More than 1 year ago
I never know what to expect when I pick up a Young Adult novel, but this one hooked me right away. Much of the novel was first person, in Kiera's voice, which was a good technique. In real life, I don't think I would have liked Kiera, but being inside her head gave me compassion for her. I grew to appreciate her gutsiness, and applauded the steps she took to grow up. For being a YA novel, it was not too angsty, which I appreciate. It deals with many difficult topics in a way that is real, yet appropriate for teen readers. As I was reading, my thoughts were that I really wanted to share this book. Because of a varied cast of characters, there is someone for everyone to relate to, so teens and their parents can enjoy this book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, WhiteSpark, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
The perfect daughter gone too soon, leaving a family so fragile that every word or thought becomes a shard breaking open the wounds over and over. Blame, regret and emptiness fill a home that everyone thought was a "together" family. Youngest sister Maddie is shipped off to Grandma's, giving her at least a chance at a normal summer. But as Dad abandons the family to golf and buddies, and Mom drowns her sorrows in drugs and booze, teen Kiera is left to fend for herself. A first job and the secret reading of her dead sister Hannah's diary force Kiera to be the adult in the family and face some hard facts about the Josephson family. Melody Carlson is a prolific writer-- historical , contemporary, suspense, romance, Amish, children's lit, and YA. Mostly I've read her historical fiction and have always liked her writing, so I was intrigued by GONE TOO SOON, her newest YA novel. Young adults are a tough audience -- most have lives so busy that reading often takes a low priority. Their books need to have a strong appeal -- dynamic characters, often charging into adulthood when the adults fail them in some way. Kiera and her family definitely fit that scenario. When Kiera's parents fail to lead the way in the family's healing after Hannah's death, Kiera becomes almost feral. She eats little, dresses like a grungy, homeless person, and picks a fight whenever she can -- a stark contrast to her sweet older sister who had been the best at everything. But as Kiera begins to read Hannah's diary, she begins to change. One of the things I liked best about this book was Kiera's process of growing up. It is raw and emotional, full of foolish mistakes, but also courageous decisions. Big changes happen in a short time, but the changes are balanced with descriptions of days filled with boredom, loneliness, and typical teen angst. Beneath the whole story is the authentic message of God's love, and it is Hannah's words that will reveal that to the family. I must leave the details of this family's challenges to Melody Carlson, the real story teller. Although this book is probably aimed at teens, I feel adults will like the book, too. I received a copy from the publisher, WhiteFire. All opinions in this review are mine
Stardust_Fiddle More than 1 year ago
Whew. This is a tough one to review, because of the subject matter itself and because it’s difficult to discuss without giving spoilers. The first half of this book is very dark. Although there are important peripheral characters, the main characters are sixteen-year-old Kiera, her mom Moira, and her recently-deceased older sister Hannah. Kiera’s part of the story is told in the first person and Moira’s in third-person limited point of view; Hannah’s story is told through diary entries. As such, the reader is really placed into the mind of each character, and let me reiterate: it’s very dark, especially for the first half of this novel. On the one hand, this really makes the experience realistic and enables the characters to come alive and evoke sympathy, but…maybe it’s a bit too much for too long. The target audience for “Gone Too Soon” is young adult, and as an adult reading this, I would categorize it as mature young adult or even adult. I loved that this became a story about redemption and coming to terms with grief, with all of the baggage that involves: shame, guilt, anger, depression, etc. However, I feel the need to add a major caveat here. A large percentage of this book is not a feel-good story, and it’s not meant to be. This is about a family truly coming apart at the seams, and it is anything but pretty. It is raw and real, and the first two-thirds or so of the story could be included in a manual about how not to deal with grief. There are plenty of unhealthy coping mechanisms, and for this reason I would issue a trigger warning for suicide, rape, and drug and alcohol abuse. There are no graphic details, but the mindset of the characters are described thoroughly. Given this, I would only recommend this book to those who are looking to help people who are dealing with grief and/or those who are looking for a heartfelt read but who are approaching it from a stable mental health perspective. The later part of this book, about the resolution of the plot, could be helpful as a Christian approach to grief. My main bone of contention with the book as a whole is that while I found it to be an absolutely compelling read and loved that it dealt with real-life issues and brought in a Christian perspective in a realistic, non-preachy manner, I feel that the darkness was too heavy without any whispers of hope for too long before any relief entered the narrative. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
This is the first YA book by Melody Carlson that I have read and it was totally absorbing and intensely emotional. The story tracks the devastation and reconstruction of a family after the death of the oldest daughter at the age of seventeen. The plot addresses so much more than just grief and guilt after an untimely death of a loved one; it delves deeply and frankly into a stark and raw look at depression, addiction, and spirituality through the eyes of sixteen year old Kiera and her mother Moira. Kiera starts out immature, angry, selfish and stubborn but, as she reads her deceased older sister’s diary, she matures and becomes likable. Bernard provides the much needed friendship and companionship for Kiera during the summer vacation that her family falls apart. Moira, in her own immaturity and selfishness, also has a lot of growing up to do, as does Kiera’s dad. Though at times extremely painful and somewhat uncomfortable, the author does an excellent job crafting a heart-wrenching yet redemptive story about grace, forgiveness, and acceptance. I was given a copy of this book by WhiteFire Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
This is the first YA book by Melody Carlson that I have read and it was totally absorbing and intensely emotional. The story tracks the devastation and reconstruction of a family after the death of the oldest daughter at the age of seventeen. The plot addresses so much more than just grief and guilt after an untimely death of a loved one; it delves deeply and frankly into a stark and raw look at depression, addiction, and spirituality through the eyes of sixteen year old Kiera and her mother Moira. Kiera starts out immature, angry, selfish and stubborn but, as she reads her deceased older sister’s diary, she matures and becomes likable. Bernard provides the much needed friendship and companionship for Kiera during the summer vacation that her family falls apart. Moira, in her own immaturity and selfishness, also has a lot of growing up to do, as does Kiera’s dad. Though at times extremely painful and somewhat uncomfortable, the author does an excellent job crafting a heart-wrenching yet redemptive story about grace, forgiveness, and acceptance. I was given a copy of this book by WhiteFire Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
Heartbreakingly real. As a YA book I would gauge the maturity level before permitting them to read this. I needed tissues several times as the heartbreak over losing a child, grandchild, sibling, etc can be devastating to some families especially if they are not grounded in their faith. This is a look at such a family and the blame game over the circumstances. It is a look at what wearing a mask and pretending all is well while disintegrating inside will do. It shows how communications is vital to the health of a family. I loved the diary and the role it played in helping this family find their way to redemption, forgiveness, and the grace and mercy of Christ. Well written and great characters this is a story that gives you food for thought. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
As I began this book I soon realized this is a story about a parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child. The author gives us an in-depth look into the lives of the survivors, and it is apparent that there might not be a whole family unit by the end of this read. The family consists of parents, and three children, and when the oldest is killed, the aftermath of guilt and loss becomes overpowering for those left behind, and we journey with the survivors, not knowing how this is going to end up. This story felt so real, and the journey through these pages is not always easy, but it was a compelling read. You might want to keep the tissues handy, but I recommend this book! I received this book through the Publisher WhiteFire, and was not required to give a positive review.
Andrea Byers More than 1 year ago
The Josephson family suffered a huge loss when the oldest daughter was killed in a car accident. They all go about dealing with her loss in their own and sometimes destructive way. Emotional story that primarily focuses on Kiera, the middle daughter, and her mother, Moira. Grab some tissues for this one as you enter this gripping tale of grief and guilt/blame this family needs to work through. A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher. A review was not required and all thoughts and opinions are my own.