Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, "miserable" doesn't even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother's first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him.
For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she's really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She's determined to change his mind, and when they're stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.
Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?
One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.
I'm a sucker for a book whose events transpire over the course of one day or night. I also like books where the two main characters start out as enemies...or at least on unfriendly terms and have to work to get into each other's good graces. Also, if I'm being completely honest here, I like books told from dual perspectives...but only when the voices sound different and unique enough to actually warrant two point-of-views.
Bright Before Sunrise has all of those things. It's also a really honest and relatable story, much like Schmidt's debut. As I said, the book is told from both Jonah and Brighton's perspectives, and each voice definitely lends something to the story, whether its Jonah's brutal honesty and cynicism or Brighton's ability to see the best and be the best in any situation. Each character just felt so genuine and conjured up images of people I knew in high school myself. They are realistic and so are their emotions and reactions. And they find themselves in situations that real teenagers would.
Aside from just being real, I also loved how opposite these two characters were, and how utterly different their lives are, though neither exactly has it easy. In the beginning, Jonah finds it difficult to tolerate Brighton and what she stands for, or what he thinks Brighton is all about anyway. And Brighton's only interest in Jonah is to get him to complete a service project so that she can win an award that her deceased father once received. Thus begins a whirlwind of a night that ends full of possibilities.
I know that falling hard for someone after only one night together would normally be considered insta-love by my own standards, but in this book, it feels more like a slow burn. Remember, these kids don't even really like each other when the story begins, but throughout a night full of normal teenage circumstances, they slowly become friends, confidantes, and something a little more. The growth these characters face, what they discover about themselves and each other...that's what those formative teenage years are for. I love how the author uses the course of one night to express how perceptions can be altered and shaped in a second, if one truly gives themselves over to it.
Everything about this novel just felt so authentic to the teenage experience, right down to the worry about getting home late at the end of the night. (Or actually, probably early morning, but you get what I'm saying.) The connection that was forged between these two characters was just beautiful and sweet, and I loved where the story ended, leaving the reader full of hope and a little wonder at what the future holds. After two solid, clever stories about real teens with real problems and real lives, I'm pretty sure I'll be reading everything Tiffany Schmidt writes for the foreseeable future. I can't wait to get my hands on Hold Me Like a Breath!
GIF it to me straight:
About the author:
Tiffany Schmidt lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. She's not at all superstitious... at least that's what she tells herself every Friday the thirteenth.
SEND ME A SIGN is her first novel. BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE will follow in Winter 2014. The ONCE UPON A CRIME FAMILY series begins with HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH in 2015.
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