Saturday, March 8, 2014
Review: Bright Before Sunrise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Published: February 11, 2014
Hardcover, 288 pages
5 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
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.
Jonah and Brighton couldn't be any different from each other, yet in one night they will learn about the other, protect the other, and the end the night with very different opinions of the other. One night is all it takes to show who you really are to someone, to show that you aren't the person they thought you were. In one night, I fell in love with this book, and it's lingering with me still.
Jonah had to move to Cross Pointe, resident Stepford neighbourhood with perfect boxes for houses. He doesn't belong here. He belongs in Hamilton, where he grew up, with his girlfriend and friends. And he really doesn't want to be anywhere near Brighton, resident goody girl who keeps plaguing him to volunteer at school. So when he finds her in his house one Friday night, he freaks out, thinking she's following him, and this night, this moment, sends everything into motion. Because Jonah's girlfriend thinks he's cheating on her, thinks Brighton is the reason, so he's bringing her to Hamilton to show her off, just because he can, or because he likes her? Between the moments at his house and the party in Hamilton, these two lost teenagers will find each other in a way they never thought possible. In a night that changes everything, these two learn that first appearances aren't always right.
I love both of these characters. Told from both point of views (with clever chapter title from Jonah) we get to see into each of their minds as their lives collide. Jonah used to have everything going for him, he was a big baseball star and very popular. But when he moved, he lost his motivation to do any of the things he used to love. Stuck with a new family and desperately wanting his old life back, he vows never to get involved at his new school. But Brighton, who's on the verge of the fifth anniversary of her father's death, is broken into shards. So when Jonah offers to take her out, she jumps at the opportunity to get away from her grieving family for the night. The more they talk, the more the find in the other. So much happens over the course of the night, yet the find a way back to each other and realize there's no way they want the night to end.
This book is so romantic. It's the kind of romance I crave in YA. Two people who barely know each other are quickly brought together and forced to play nice and in turn finding something in the other they can't be without. Jonah and Brighton are broken, but together they just might be able to stitch up their wounds. This book is brilliant, beautiful and swoon-worthy. It touched me so much that I immediately wanted to open it up and start it all over again. Schmidt is a wonderful author and she has the talent to make me love every character in a book (even the ones I hate) Read it, fall in love, let their night change something in yourself. Let it remind you of your own night that changed everything. And if you haven't had one, let it promise you the possibility of everything.
“He's wrong--high school isn't a pyramid with all the power clustered in a chosen few at the top--it's more of a movie theater with twenty-two screens showing simultaneously. The love story in theater three doesn't care what happens on the football field in theater twelve. Actors and audiences overlap on the screen in the hallways, but there's a place for everyone.”
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