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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Wow, this book really affected me, I'm kind of reeling from it at the moment and I owe a huge thanks to Jasprit who sent me the galleygrab newsletter for this. To be honest, if it wasn't a galleygrab freebie I doubt I would have ever read this beautiful, moving novel.
I was surprised to find it written in verse, my experience (generally centred around the novels of Ellen Hopkins) is that this can do wonders for a novel or send it sprawling flat on it's face. In this case, it worked so so well. Schroeder is a true poet, it flowed, was never dull and the entire effect left me needing to read more from this author.
The story is about a girl who finds out she was switched accidentally at birth. It all comes out when the baby she was switched with dies from leukemia at 15 after discovering that her supposed parents were inadequate blood donors. But at the same time another story is being told: the love story. It's an odd one, basically Amber (the protagonist) meets a boy (Cade) at the beach and they bond talking about jellyfish. This simple conversation leads to a day-long excursion, in which these two characters find something to alleviate their troubles and worries in each other's company. Something that starts out as nothing more than a cure for loneliness turns into genuine affection through subtle conservations and a mutual understanding that is so... touching.
Certain elements of this novel reminded me of If I Stay, though this one was in some ways much deeper. But they are both about finding something to live for in the smallest of pleasures: music, dancing, laughter... and jellyfish apparently. Their message is that even when your life seems to hit rock bottom, there is still always something to feel lucky for.
It's amazing that an author can create so much emotion from so few words, but this is exactly what Lisa Schroeder does in The Day Before. This is a book written entirely in verse, and is my first foray into verse literature. Although it took me a while to adjust to the sparse, minimalist writing style, I was ultimately won over by the amazing characters developed in this novel.
Amber is a girl that just wants a break from the huge decisions looming in the near future, and so takes a day-trip to a beach town where she has spent many a family holiday. Here, she meets Cade, a boy who seems to be doing exactly the same thing. The relationship between these two was so sweet. Even though the book only spanned a day, it never felt rushed or fake, instead it captured the sweetness of love in a way I hadn't read in so long.
The day was perfectly paced, enough conflict to drive the story but not so much that it got unrealistic. There were so many sweet moments, so many heart-breaking moments and so many touching moments. I loved getting to know Amber, all her struggles and triumphs. She was so great and I related to many of the things she said.
Honestly, I'm so glad The Day Before was my first verse book. It was an amazing book - I stayed up until 2 am reading it! I highly recommend this for anyone who loves contemporary novels or who is looking to challenge themselves by reading a novel in verse form.
(I received this e-book free of charge from Simon and Schuster's galley grab program. This is no way affected my review.)