Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder: An Unexpected Treasure

When 16-year-old Amber sneaks out early on a rare spring-like morning, she's hoping to have one perfect day. One day where she can escape the pressures of family and friends. One day that's just for her before her world is turned upside down. When she meets Cade, they form an instant connection. Cade has also come to the beach also looking for an escape, but for a very different reason. Neither of them know what tomorrow will bring, but whatever happens, they are determined to make the most of every minute of the day before.

There is a bit of a story behind how I came to read this book. I was going through my Simon & Schuster catalogue choosing the YA novels I want to stock & promote this fall and the book caught my attention. After reading a few positive blog reviews about it, I decided that it looked like something I'd be interested in reading and I went rummaging through my books to find an ARC. I really wasn't planning on reading it that day. I'd already started reading something else, and had several more in the to-be-read stack behind me, but something compelled me to open it up. I did, and after just three pages I was hooked and decided I had to read it immediately.

Told in verse through Amber's eyes, readers gradually discover the reasons why both Amber and Cade have come to the beach. Tomorrow is a day that both are dreading, and that neither want to arrive. Tomorrow is a day full of unknowns. All they know is that tomorrow is when their lives will irrevocably change, and it scares the heck out of both of them.

As you have probably already figured out from the title of this post, I absolutely loved this book! It's such a compelling and beautiful story, and it ended up being completely different than what I was expecting. This is not a book about a great love story, or even a tragic one. It is about two people that find something unexpected in each other, and give each other the courage to face whatever happens tomorrow.

I loved Amber's character. Amber loves music and movies, and even loves to drum. Though her parents are divorced, she sees her father regularly, has a loving and supportive mother, and a good relationship with her younger sister. I love how they leave each other notes when there is something they just can't express by talking. Amber's world is about to change, and she's confused and scared. All she wants is some time to herself to block everything out, and that's what her day is all about.

When Amber meets Cade, they just seem to understand each other, and it's easy between them. No  obligation, no questions, no promises. Amber senses that Cade is hiding something, but she leaves it to him to reveal it in his own time and own way- if he wants to. The jacket copy implies that there is a darkness about him, but I didn't really see that. I don't think you could even call it brooding. His tomorrow is also something major, and he just wants this day to live it as fully as he can.

I love the impulsiveness of the day, and the magic that they find in simple things like throwing glitter into the air, flying a kite and flipping a coin. Days like that are so special and rare, and the author does a phenomenal job of drawing the reader so completely that while you're reading it everything else disappears.

The language is absolutely beautiful and there were so many passages that I wanted to highlight and quote, but there was one that particularly stood out for me (as it did for many others judging by the number of times it's referenced on Goodreads.)

when I read a book, 
I want to savor 
each word, 
each phrase, 
each page, 
loving the prose 
so much, 
I don't want it 
to end. 

Other times 
the story pulls me in, 
and I can hardly 
read fast enough, 
the details flying by, 
some of them lost 
because all that matters 
is making sure 
the character 
is all right 
when it's over.” 

This book was both of these things for me. It was a story that I could hardly read fast enough and yet I didn't want to finish it. I wanted to linger over it and save it, and savour it, and I didn't want it to end. It's a book that will stay with you once you've finished reading, and like the seashells in the sand, is an absolute treasure. 

Highly recommended for Grade 6 and up.