Today, I'm thrilled to review Tiffany Schmidt's Bright Before Sunrise. I fell madly in book love with her fabulous debut novel Send Me a Sign, so I've been DYING to read this.
Fortunately for me, Bloomsbury kindly granted me access to an ARC!
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: February 18th 2014 by Walker Childrens
For Jonah, every aspect of his new life reminds him of what he has had to give up. All he wants is to be left alone. Brighton is popular, pretty, and always there to help anyone . . . but has no idea of what she wants for herself. Her seemingly perfect life is marred only by Jonah, the one person who won't give her the time of day, but also makes her feel, well, something. So when they are repeatedly thrown together over the course of one night, anything can—and does—happen. Told in alternating chapters, this poignant, beautiful novel's energy and tension, amidst the humor and romance, builds to a new beginning of self-acceptance and hope.
I absolutely fell in love with her debut novel Send Me a Sign, and have been eagerly waiting for her to write a second novel. And when I read the synopsis and saw the cover for Bright Before Sunrise, I was sold.
Luckily for me, Lizzie at Bloomsbury completely understood my massive fangirl adoration of all things Schmidt, and granted me access to an e-ARC. (Thanks, Lizzie!)
Things that worked:
I've read a lot of books recently with dual narrations, but nothing that caught my attention quite as quickly Brighton and Jonah.
Schmidt does a beautiful job of showing both Brighton and Jonah's personalities from the onset, and how they have essentially settled into the types of public personalities, where they hide their truest feelings, fears and thoughts.
But as much as Schmidt establishes the emotional wall around both Brighton and Jonah, she also does a beautiful job of showing the key facets of Brighton and Jonah's personality which slowly begins breaking through both respective walls.
I fell in love with both Brighton and Jonah throughout the course of this book, and felt like I was living out their evening right alongside them.
The writing/world building
One of the biggest problems I've had with dual narration books is when the alternating voices sound exactly alike. Totally not a problem in this case. Brighton and Jonah had very distinctive voices, different worlds, and even different world views.
The tougher issues
Schmidt covers a lot of tough issues throughout Bright Before Sunrise, from the personal problems that Jonah and Brighton are experiencing at home, to the issues that they undergo with friends and in their school lives during this twenty-four hours.
I thought Schmidt did a great job of covering a wide range of issues that readers will absolutely respond and relate to.
If you're looking for a book where the main characters actually take the time to get to know each other, and actually evaluate what they like and don't like about each other, this is the book for you.
Without giving any spoilers away, Schmidt does a great job of showing just how two people can build on a dynamic, to the point where they start forming the bonds that will likely eventually lead down a different path. It was so clearly thought out, I felt like I could almost predict where Brighton and Jonah would be in one week's time, one month's time and one year's time.
The ending was perfect. Schmidt knows how to bring a story from beginning to end, that is both immensely readable, and realistic. The ending made me feel like I had seen both Brighton and Jonah come full circle, while also feeling excited for what they both have on their horizon.
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
Through Brighton and Jonah's burgeoning relationship, Schmidt also does a fantastic job of reminding readers to look beyond a person's exterior, and to find that genuine heart underneath. There's an underlying message of not judging a book by its coverand to also remember that people are often more alike than one may realize, and Schmidt pulls that off without sounding too preachy.
I recommend this book for all fans of contemporary YA fiction, but also for fans who like books that really emphasize the possibility that a single day can make. Tiffany Schmidt's lovely novel will remind you what's like to hope, and what it's like to remember that the world is still yours to conquer: minutes, hours and single days at a time.
As for me, this book pretty much solidifies my love of all things Schmidt. Tiffany's books are going on my auto-buy list after this, and I think that if you read this book, you'll want to do that too.
Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of Bright Before Sunrise from Bloomsbury, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
About the author:
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. You can find out more about her and her books at: TiffanySchmidt.com, TiffanySchmidtWrites.Tumblr.com or by following her on Twitter @TiffanySchmidt.