Author: Amber Hart
Release Date: 29th July 2014
Find on: Goodreads
Quick Review: Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.
Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.
It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.
Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.
At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.
Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.
Detailed Review: *I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Many YA contemporary romance books I've read so far have been __________ (fill in the blank with positive adjectives)
Before You was phenomenal.
I don't think I've ever been able to read a contemporary romance with as much enthusiasm and excitement as I did Before You.
I guess I just hadn't actually stumbled upon a book with a story as good as Before You's.
Diego was one of my all-time favourite characters. I admired his strength and independence. I was really getting tired of stereotypes in books like this, where the boy is a nerd or person who people think is a freak or loser.
Amber Hart breaks all stereotypes.
I repeat, ALL stereotypes. Instead, she brings in issues to do with racism, violence, poverty, etc. into the story, which I thought was no easy task, yet Hart managed to deliver everything in one explosive debut.
Faith Watters is not the perfect girl she is either. She maintains her perfect facade, one only her best friend Melissa can see through, and Diego. She has to set an example for everyone, being the pastor's daughter and live up to everyone's expectations. She feels trapped within the image she's created for herself.
Again, the girl is the perfect one, leader of the dance team, but has a secret.
But she doesn't exactly follow the stereotype. She isn't exactly perfect. People just think she's perfect. See the difference? It's people's perception of you that contributes to your personality.
One lesson we all have to learn in the end is: people will always judge us wherever we go.
Who would have also thought that this book would have a scare factor? I cried in the last few chapters. I didn't see that coming.
This is my reaction through the last few chapters:
This book has the most beautiful and heart-breaking ending ever. Just saying.
Brief Review: You want a contemporary that packs a punch? This is the one. Amber Hart challenges society at a whole, challenges its views on racism, interracial relationships, violence, and so much more. When reading this book, expect ANYTHING. It's so easy to be caught up in her descriptive writing that goes to the heart, whether it's painful or beautiful to read. I really want to see what Hart brings up in After Us next!!!
I would have liked to say this to Faith at the beginning of the book,
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not---André Gide