One moment can change it all. Amber's life is spinning out of control and all she wants is to blast her music loud enough to make the world fade away. When she sneaks off to the beach to finally breathe, Amber meets Cade and she can tell that he's looking for an escape too.
Not bound by past, fear or regret, they share a perfect day together. But the more time Amber spends with Cade, the more she realises that he's not just living in the now. He's living like there is no tomorrow.
Having studied poetry for three years at university, it might seem strange that this was my first book written in verse. But, really, I've never been interested in verse books; I like to keep my prose and poetry separate. Unfortunately, reading The Day Before cemented that feeling.
I couldn't connect with this book or the characters. Amber's story didn't interest me and I didn't find it all that plausible. To avoid spoilers, let's just say that there was a custodial situation and the judge's ruling was completely ridiculous. Especially considering how old Amber's was and the effect it would have on her education.
I had similar problems with Cade's story. He didn't seem like he was living each moment like it could be his last, so when his 'big reveal' came it felt forced.
Of course, this wouldn't have all mattered so much if the characters drew me in, but, sadly, they didn't. Amber was not someone I felt connected to. Her situation was so complex and yet the narrative didn't succeed in capturing her emotions and so she felt underdeveloped and bland.
I also found her relationship with Cade to be rushed. Maybe it's because the verse structure didn't allow for their connection to develop enough or to portray their emotions adequately. Either way, I wasn't feeling it. There was no authenticity to their relationship and I was never invested in them as a couple.
As for the poetry itself? I didn't find it very poetic and it seemed more like broken up prose (which was a big no-no in my uni class). There were some moments of magic though, certain lines that really resonated and showed that Schroeder is a gifted writer. But those moments were few and far between and, unfortunately, not enough to carry the book.
This was by no means the worst thing I've ever read and the rare moments of poignancy saw me through to the end, but I did finish feeling disappointed. However, like I've said, I've never been interested in verse books, so maybe it's just my preference for prose shinning through. If you're a fan of verse, then by all means give this one a go. After all, it got some great reviews from fellow verse fans! Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me.
Favourite quote: 'Many times when I read a book, I want to savour each word, each phrase, each page, loving the prose so much, I don't want it to end. Other times the story pulls me in, and I can hardly read fast enough, the details flying by, some of them lost because all that matters is making sure the character is all right when it's over.'
Overall rating: 2/5 little birdies
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