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New Release Audiobook Review: DARK BEFORE DAWN by Stacy Juba

Like YA paranormal? Try this one…

About the book:

If you could control minds…would you? It’s hard enough for Dawn hiding that she’s a teen psychic from her new classmates and new step-family, but it gets even tougher when she learns that ESP spells D-A-N-G-E-R.  When Dawn gets involved with a fortuneteller mentor and two girls who share her mysterious talents, she finally belongs after years of being a misfit. When she learns her new friends may be tied to freak “accidents” in town, Dawn has an important choice to make – continue developing the talent that makes her special or challenge the only people who have ever accepted her.


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An enjoyable read with a touch of suspense and a dollop of paranormal, this audiobook was nicely read by the narrator, who has a very pleasant voice and brings life to teenagers well.

Even though Dawn made quite a few bad choices along the way (which yes, made me keep arguing with my audiobook while I drove to and from work…this is perfectly normal, right?) it wasn’t at all out of character for a sixteen-year-old who’s adjusting to a new home and school/family situation AND is just starting to get a grip on her paranormal powers. Ms. Juba definitely knows how to portray teenagers realistically!

Annoying teenage tendencies aside, I did like Dawn a lot. She (eventually) wised up and made better choices, and grew in positive ways by the book’s end. The antagonist ended up being a bit one-dimensional, but the other secondary characters were solid, and it was easy to find yourself caring about what was going to happen to them.

I’m also 100% convinced that mind control is not a power anyone should have. Ever. Especially not teenage girls whose mothers tell them no… (but the hall pass incident was kind of funny. Wrong, of course, but funny.)

I’m not sure if there’s going to be more to the series, but I’d definitely be interested if there were. Ms. Juba’s style of writing made Dark Before Dawn an easy and fun read.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.



As Ken backed out of the driveway, Dawn searched her brain for something interesting to say. She finally gave up. Ken didn’t seem in any hurry to chat, either.

She and Ken had made small talk a few times over the summer, but he never invited her to join him and his friends downtown. She didn’t think Ken disliked her, but he wasn’t that friendly, either.

As he turned up the radio full blast, Dawn rubbed her aching forehead. Normally she loved music, but not right now.

She reached over and lowered the volume. “Is that okay? I’ve got a splitting headache.”

“Hey, this is my car. I control the tunes.” Ken jerked his gaze off the road.

“Sorry, I’m just not feeling well.” Dawn fastened her eyes on the floor mats, which badly needed shaking out. Maybe she was wrong and he did hate her.

“Who asked you here, anyway? I ought to go back and drop you off at the bus stop.”

“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t ask you to drive me.”

“Yeah, my dad did. Except he didn’t ask. He ordered.”

“Don’t worry, you won’t have to be seen with me anymore. From now on, I’ll catch the bus.” Dawn’s voice wobbled. If he snapped at her one more time, the warmth pressing behind her eyelids would explode.

“You’re not crying are you?” Ken glanced at her sideways.

“I told you, I have a headache,” she said, dabbing her cheeks with her shirt sleeve. “I’m a little nervous about school.”

“It’s not you, okay? Your mom’s always in my face and Dad keeps bugging me to be nice to her. If he wanted to get married, fine, but leave me out of it.”

“I know what you mean.” Dawn wiped away the last of her tears. It helped to know Ken had problems adjusting, too.

“I’ll keep the radio down. Okay?” He looked at her anxiously, as if afraid she’d sob into his letter jacket.


They drove in silence. Dawn stared out the window at Covington Center, for once empty of tourists and kids on skateboards. Her mother said they were lucky to live a mile from the Center, where all the action was, but there were only so many times Dawn could visit the same shops and arcades. Even a mall would have cheered Dawn, but the closest one was a half hour away. She was trapped in Beach Blanket Hell.

This morning, the carousel horses were lifeless and carnival rides frozen. Gulls swooped down to vacant park benches, hunting for day-old remains of fried dough and pizza. Most everything shut down after Labor Day. Jeff had explained that the only places to stay open off-season were Mario’s Pizza, the Center Sweet Shoppe and the Sand Castle Drugstore.

Dawn gave an involuntary shudder as they drove past the beach. The gray tide pitched forward, swallowing the slick mirror of sand. She gazed down at her knuckles, fisted in her lap. Her mother and Jeff worshipped the ocean, but to her it was a mysterious monster foaming at the mouth.


About the author:

Award-winning writer Stacy Juba loves to write about Characters at a Crossroads: individuals who are finding themselves and getting on the right life path after overcoming obstacles. Her goals are to entertain readers of all ages as well as inspire them. Stop by her website to browse her books, for some freebies and for information on her freelance editing service.

Her adult mystery titles with a touch of romance are TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY AND SINK OR SWIM.

She is also the author of the young adult paranormal thriller DARK BEFORE DAWN, the young adult family hockey novel FACE-OFF, the patriotic children’s picture book THE FLAG KEEPER, the TEDDY BEAR TOWN CHILDREN’S BUNDLE, and the YOUNG LADIES OF MYSTERY BOXED SET. She is the editor of 25 YEARS IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR: 52 AUTHORS LOOK BACK.

Stacy welcomes Goodreads friend invitations from fellow book lovers. Also visit Stacy’s blog at and follow her on Twitter at

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