by Lisa Schroeder
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reading level: YA
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
Sixteen-year-old Amber intends to spend one special day at her favourite place: the beach. A day where she can do what she likes and be who she wants and not have to answer to anyone but herself. She thought she wanted to be alone... but when she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Cade at the aquarium, her plans suddenly change.
This day is special for Cade, too, but he won't say why, leaving Amber to vacillate between fearing for the worst and hoping for the best. And all the while, these two teens share a special day, a day that nobody but them can truly understand: the day before.
I finished this book yesterday and, while I usually like to review books immediately after I've finished them, I just couldn't with this one. My thoughts needed to percolate for a while. I haven't read a book like this in a long time, and I wasn't quite sure what to make of my reaction to it.
First, so there is no misunderstanding, let me just say that the book is great. It's well written, well plotted, and populated with a cast of characters that are vivid and intriguing. The verse format works really well here and allows the author to use some beautiful turns of phrase that might sound a bit corny in a standard prose novel.
The negative (for me, anyway) was that two of the characters really pushed my buttons. I'm not the sort of person who ever yells at characters while I'm reading, but if I were, those two would have been the ones to push me over the edge. I couldn't feel anything but frustration, anger, and hatred toward them, and it somewhat coloured my view of the book for a while. Separating my dislike for the characters (who I'm sure were supposed to be provocative) from the book itself was a little difficult... which was why I needed to think on this one for a while. The theme of knowing who you are, what you want, and what's ultimately good for you, while being simultaneously told that someone else knows those things better than you do, is a great one for a young adult novel. It will resonate strongly with teens (and, depending on circumstances, probably many adults as well).
I prefer a bit more escapism in the books I read. The Day Before was a little too emotionally exhausting for my taste. But I really can't find any major faults, so I would definitely recommend it, especially to fans of contemporary YA fiction. Look for it when it's released on June 28, 2011.
Overall: 4.57 out of 5