by Lisa Schroeder
Oh my gosh, how people have raved about this book. Ashley at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing is pretty much the biggest advocate for The Day Before, and I think she has fabulous taste, so I’m so happy to finally read this.
Sixteen-year-old Amber, hoping to spend one perfect day alone at the beach before her world is turned upside down, meets and feels a strong connection to Cade, who is looking for his own escape, for a very different reason.
My expectations: I haven't read many verse books, but I had really high hopes for this one!
Delivery: My expectations were definitely met, but I wasn't blown awa
Put-down-ability: a quick read, 2.5/10
I don’t have much experience with verse books, it’s not that I avoid them, it’s just that when faced with a decision whether or not to read them… I feel I have other, more pressing things to read. But I sat myself down and told myself to find what was magical about this book that seemed simultaneously haunting and mysterious, based on the cover and somewhat vague summary. The Day Before. The day before what?
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was like sinking in to a vast pool of beautiful prose, which will be the stand-out memory after finishing, because the words just lift off the page and into your mind. They’re light and effortlessly perfect in a way that’s simply indescribably and makes me wish I could have such a gift with manipulating letters on a page. I thought that Amber’s character was stunningly portrayed in this unfamiliar manner and I was rooting for our protagonist through whatever ordeal she was going through.
I thought the plot was another delicacy altogether, I mentioned this on twitter after finishing about how Schroeder has such a way with small details. She could coax soul out of sandcastles and memories out of lighthouses, the intensity of jellyfish and the simple beauties of the beach. All these little, almost insignificant details really add up into something else.
For some reason, I was expecting something to do with death/suicide based on the cover and summary, and it’s not about that. That’s all I’m going to mention about the plot specifics because I do feel the package kind of misrepresents the book—the book may not be about horrid events, but it deals with deep and emotional themes still. It’s a book that explores the thought of “what if”, not the “what if” itself. It explores the idea of fear and insecurities in a way that felt totally genuine yet foreign.
I liked the characters, I really did, but in the end, I wanted just a bit more. I could sympathize with their situations but my heart didn’t ache for them, I didn’t find myself as emotionally invested as I hoped to be. I think it just comes down to personal preference, but I found that while Amber and Cade’s interactions were written in a beautiful, simplistic way, it was slightly too… perfect. Each person always had the perfect, most insightful, thoughtful thing to say and it lacked authenticity because of it. I know that Cade has the tortured, mysterious thing going on but I also found him slightly too flawless in his interactions with Amber. I couldn’t get myself to believe in their relationship, which was the largest drawback of my reading experience.
I wanted to mention how much I completely loved Amber’s relationship with her mother, her sister, and her best friend; it was really well explored despite not being the focal point. There were letters (oh, how vague!) too that I thought were really well done and added to the suspense factor.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: contemp YA fans, fans of verse novels
8.7/10- because I really loved the writing (total fangirling here) and the small plot details, but I couldn’t connect as much with the characters as I would have hoped. The Day Before is such a beautifully written novel that explores themes and idea that makes the reader think, and calls for discussion. I’d highly recommend it.
author website / twitter / goodreads