“The Day Before”
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publisher: Simon Pulse.
Synopsis (taken from GoodReads): Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.
Cover impressions: I have never read a YA book written in verse before so this was a first for me. I tend to be biased towards prose and drama in my English lit studies as well but I thought it would be interesting to give this one a go to see if the choice of medium would be suitable to tell a story and how affecting it would be.
To be completely honest, I didn’t really connect to this book. The choice of verse to tell Amber’s story wasn’t completely successful in my opinion, although there are a few moments where the poetry is very effective and well done. Many times it felt like fancily rearranged sentences rather than carefully composed poetry. I can understand the choice of medium for capturing emotions rather than events but there were times where it just felt awkward, such as Amber discussing her favourite musician, Pink, and the movie guessing game she forms with Cade. The frequent shifts from verse to letter form to reveal more of Amber’s situation felt clumsy and shoved in at the last moment.
Amber’s situation is one that’s easy to sympathise with and her emotions are understandable, but no literary medium can make me interested in an instant love story with next to no development or even interaction. At one point Amber compares her and Cade’s situation to that of the wonderful movie “Before Sunrise” and it did feel as if “The Day Before” was aiming to be a poetic teenage version of that wonderful film. However, that film’s strength lay in the witty and very moving interactions between Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply to the point where even this romantic cynic was caught up in their fleeting love, something which just isn’t present in “The Day Before.” Amber is immediately taken with him and they barely speak to each other; when they do talk it’s over mundane things that have no real bearings on them as people. As such, their instant perfect connection never felt authentic and I was never emotionally invested in them as a couple.
I think one’s development of this novel will lie in how much one enjoys verse novels, but for me, this novel just didn’t click. “The Day Before” occasionally succeeds in capturing the complex emotions of its conflicted protagonist, but on the whole it felt underdeveloped and rushed, trying to live up to “Before Sunrise” (which I highly recommend). But while “Before Sunrise” made me believe two strangers could make a genuine connection over the course of one day, “The Day Before” did not. I’m definitely interested in reading more verse YA though; I want to see the medium truly rise to its potential.
“The Day Before” will be released in USA on June 28th. I received my ARC from Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.