Saturday, September 24, 2016

YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE BY JULIE CROSS & MARK PERINI - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark Perini. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Going into this book, I didn't really know what to expect.

Basically, this story follows two characters, Finley and Eddie. Finley is your typical good girl. She cares too much for her ex, and after her mother died, she took over as big sister/mother for her twin little brothers. She has just gotten into modelling to save up some money to re-open her mother's dance studio and fill her dream of teaching ballet. However, this good girl look only gets her so far in the modelling world, so she tries to become more 'edgy.' Eddie is trying his hand at modelling, because he's going to need the money. He's got some secrets, although one is bigger than the rest. The two meet at a party and one thing leads to another. Fin is happy to shed her cute image, so she's declaring it a one night stand, but when the agency moves Eddie into Fin's building, they end up bumping into each other a bit more than she would have liked.

According to my status update, I figured out Eddie's secret 23 pages in. At least, I thought I did. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, to make things a little more obvious, but I caught on. Still, it didn't detract from the storyline, because you don't find out exactly what's going on until a lot closer to the end of the book. But it kind of just stays in the back of your mind.

Both main characters were great, as well as the more background characters. You get Fin's roommates Summer and Elana, as well as Elana's mother, known only as French Mama. While the dynamic in the house was strained at times, I enjoyed their interactions and ability to support one another. There are also cameos of Alex and Eve, who are apparently from another book these two authors wrote, Halfway Perfect. I haven't read that book, so I can't really speak too much to it, but I will say that if you haven't read that book, you can still definitely read this one. They are just cameo characters, there's no real need to have their backstory, and they're not companion novels by any means.

I also loved the family dynamic for Fin especially. Her little brothers are adorable and I really loved seeing Eddie interact with the family. His family leaves a lot to be desired, but Ruby does show a bit more support in the end.

I won't talk specifically about Eddie's secret, although, if you've read the book, you'll get what I'm saying. I really liked how everything was handled. I can only imagine the unbelievable difficulty it was for Eddie and Caroline. I think this book dealt with this element very tactfully, and in an interesting way. Stereotypically, you get these roles reversed in situations like this one and I am very pleased with how the authors wrote it. A lot of times, this issue gets to be one sided, one camp divided and against another, typically with one being loud, and I think it was very brave of both characters involved to make their decisions. Anyways, that's all too vague, but you'll get it if you read it.

I am also classifying this book as NA, even though the characters are eighteen. It's kind of on that line where it could be YA but it could be NA. I just thought that some of the themes made it a bit more mature, even though there isn't anything explicit. I also really enjoyed how it was NA without being carried by the romance, especially the physical aspects. A lot of times, NA is just one steamy scene after another, and while that might be okay for a little bit, the storyline itself can get lost. This book, however, achieved the perfect balance of romance and character.

I will say that I didn't love the ending. I mean everything worked out, but I just felt like it worked out a little too well. I don't know if that would be a realistic ending, especially in those circumstances, although I suppose I would have been disappointed not knowing what happened.

Overall, a very good book that deals with a serious topic, definitely check this one out!