When other kids were dating or watching movies or&well, anything, Madison was in the rink practicing. Her mother, a former skater herself, has been her constant companion and has sacrificed just as much of her life as her daughter. Madisons father, in fact, tries hard to be included, but often feels left out though he has to regularly step in as a mediator between the strong-willed mother and daughter.
Just when it seems like all their hard work is finally going to pay off, tragedy strikes. Madisons dizzy spells and weight loss arent from overwork, but instead are the result of a particularly nasty cancer. Both mother and daughter are at first un-accepting of Madisons illness, but it soon consumes their lives as fully as skating ever did.
While much of the storyline is taken up with the family dynamics, the rest revolves around the relationship between Jack and Madison. Jack, for some time, has been deeply in love with Madison. On the surface, they are an odd couple Jack is popular and handsome and could have the pick of any girl at school, but there has never been any other girl for him than Madison. Up until her illness, Madison had been oblivious to his feelings (much as she had been oblivious to the sacrifices her parents had made for her over the years).
Now, as her health weakens, her love and appreciation of Jack (as well as her mother and father) deepens. Their love story is a bittersweet one sure to bring a tear to many an eye. Jack, in fact, was my favorite character in the book. His love is simple and pure and he does what he feels is right, no matter what other people think or how they react (including Madison). He's the kind of guy any girl would fall for.
Fans of Sparks and Lurlene McDaniel will find much to love in Before I Go. Romance fans in general will also; just be sure to keep some tissues handy. Recommended for readers aged 12 and up.