Before We Were Innocent by Ella Berman

Posted April 4, 2023 in review Tags: ,

Before We Were Innocent by Ella BermanBefore We Were Innocent by Ella Berman
Pages: 384

Genres: Mystery
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Amazon iBooks Audible

A summer in Greece for three best friends ends in the unthinkable when only two return home in this new novel from Ella Berman. . . .
Ten years ago, after a sun-soaked summer spent in Greece, best friends Bess and Joni were cleared of having any involvement in their friend Evangeline’s death. But that didn’t stop the media from ripping apart their teenage lives like vultures.
While the girls were never convicted, Joni, ever the opportunist, capitalized on her newfound infamy to become a motivational speaker. Bess, on the other hand, resolved to make her life as small and controlled as possible so she wouldn’t risk losing everything all over again. And it almost worked. . . .
Except now Joni is tangled up in a crime eerily similar to that one fateful night in Greece. And when she asks Bess to come back to LA to support her, Bess has a decision to make.
Is it finally time to face up to what happened that night, exposing herself as the young woman she once was and maybe still is? And what happens if she doesn’t like what she finds?

Before We Were Innocent by Ella Berman is a character focused mystery. These girls define toxic friendships! The author does a great job of really reflecting how impactful a toxic friendship can be, even years later. That is something I think most readers can relate to in some way. But, also, you will hate these girls. Its so much drama and the way they behave will make you glad they aren’t your “friends”.  Since it is character focused, they will grow and mature so that you do eventually understand them and I think, despite their insane lives, readers will see parts of themselves in the girls.

As horrible as these girls were at times, I was intrigued. The plot has a dual timeline: the present, where only two of the girls are there, and the past, 10 years ago, during a fateful trip to Greece. This back and forth reveals details slowly and keeps you guessing. In the past, there is an event that changed the girls. In the present, something happens that casts more suspicions. The story really does create a lot of mystery, and it does so without the thriller aspect, which I think is refreshing sometimes!

If you enjoy stories about female friendships, toxic behavior, or thoughtful mysteries, Before We Were Innocent is a stellar read!


Taylor Jenkins Reid, Emily Henry…then you will probably like Before We Were Innocent!

Before We Were Innocent

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