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You Before Anyone Else Paperback – August 2, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Finley Belton is modeling to earn money to reopen her mother's dance studio. It's during this time that she meets fellow model Eddie Wells, who seems mysterious yet much like the superficial, good-looking rich kids whom she encounters on a daily basis. Finley is nothing like that, with her wholesome demeanor and maturity beyond her years, having had to be the glue that holds her family together. However, as she gets to know Eddie, she realizes that he is not at all as he first appeared, and sparks ignite between them. As they grow closer, Eddie must decide how much to reveal about a secret he keeps in fear that he will lose Finley, the one person who loves and believes in him. Written in alternating first-person points of view, this novel provides readers with an in-depth look into Finley's and Eddie's thoughts, allowing a true fondness to develop for the characters. What starts off as a simple romance becomes a story addressing serious teen issues. Finley and Eddie are well-developed, and through their interactions, Cross and Perini address such themes as familial angst, teen pregnancy, and the consequences of our choices. Overall, this is a well-written selection that teens will relate to and enjoy. VERDICT A great summer read that will be popular among those who love realistic romance.—Bernice La Porta, Susan E. Wagner High School, Staten Island, NY
"YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE has incredible character development of the supporting characters. This book really represents the fine line between adolescence and adulthood..." - TeenReads
"Can Eddie escape his past and find a future with Finley? Can Finley make the right decision about her career? Using the same alternating-narration format as in predecessor Halfway Perfect (2015), Cross and Perini hit all the buttons for the chick-lit crowd." - Kirkus Reviews
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Top customer reviews
But if you can get past the silliness that a model can somehow get booked for jobs by hooking up with a stranger, there's a lot to like about this book. Both Finley and Eddie wind up being likable, if sometimes a bit bland, characters. Eddie lacks some serious edge for being the "bad boy." I was worried when "the twist" materialized, because we live in a culture that increasingly romanticizes this sort of situation. The ending of this book could have gone very wrong, but it wound up surprising me by striking the exact right note. I was worried I wouldn't be able to relate to a romance about models, but that wasn't a problem.
This book exceeded my expectations in many ways, but there were places where it still struggled. The dialogue tagging is a bit dodgy, the writing very average, and the plot movement a bit turbulent. Finley's story lacked the conflict and depth that Eddie's did, and everything worked out for her a little too well to be interesting.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I normally give a young adult age-range, but You Before Anyone Else is hanging out in a gray area between young adult and new adult- not young enough to be YA, but not mature enough to be NA.
You before Anyone Else is narrated by Eddie & Finley. Now, I'm going to make a total fool of myself, but when I started the book, I thought Eddie's narration was a girl. Truly, I did. So when I started reading Finley's narrative, my mind spun, wondering if I'd signed up for an FF book (not that I don't read FF, I just didn't expect this one to be) It wasn't. It was me. Somehow, I read the first chapter as female. I don't know why, and it took me until like chapter 3 or 4 to get it sorted out.
Okay, embarrassing admission out of the way, on to the review.
Eddie is edgy, running from something, and is propositioned the first day in the city, right off the sidewalk- he has exactly what the modeling agency was looking for and was offered a job right off the bat- his first job. He just moved to the city, has no place to live yet, so he offers up another model's address as his own, which he only had after an invite to a party.
Finley has that girl-next-door look, which isn't popular at the moment, and is having a hard time getting chosen. Needing to be more adventurous, Finley goes to her upstairs neighbor, fellow model's party. She's the 'nice' one, and she's out to prove that isn't true.
Eddie and Finley meet, and I can't say sparks fly, or that I felt any connection between them, as I was just learning who they were as characters. Quickly they hook up, and I lost interest, because I'm a reader who needs to be wooed, seduced, who wants the characters to earn it. So the fade-to-black between-the-sheets action in the very beginning of the book wasn't my thing whatsoever.
Yes, Eddie and Finley do connect, still it felt more like friends to me, yet I felt disconnected. I'm going to sound like a prude- but the early sex, especially with what the main premise involves, seemed premature and out of character for a terrified Eddie. It was irresponsible on Finley's part, which did lend to her wanting an edge and be adventurous. But, if you read the book, you'll see what I mean about how it seemed out of place for Eddie to want sex. At all, especially without commitment, with a total stranger, on a whim, while drinking. No amount of condoms and promises of taking birth control should have gotten Eddie to hookup with Finley after meeting her an hour before. That didn't fit, and it's not like it was even an alcohol-fueled, lust-at-first-sight situation responsible for bad decision making. It was more like, "Okay- let's do this." I didn't see how that made her edgier- Finley still looked like the girl-next-door, even if she did a random hookup. How would 'that' get her a modeling job?
For the first half and beyond, I connected with the Eddie and Finley, finding Eddie charismatic and engaging enough to draw Finley out of her shell- she was definitely 'nice', patient, and could roll with anything without having any conflict of her own. It was sweet and intimate. But, after hooking Finley, Eddie drops the angst of the story- that type of gut-twisting feeling I usually adore. I love it when an author shreds my emotions. But this was difficult for me, because of how long it took Eddie to admit the truth, after Finley was attached to him, so she couldn't make a decision before love was brought into it. It felt selfish to wait, even though I understand not wanting to dump it too early to a stranger.
60-70% in, after a casual, light, heartwarming yet funny contemporary romance with little to no conflict, the tide shifts, as if the authors didn't know what direction to take the story, or felt it needed to be longer by adding the missing conflict the beginning was missing. Angst, crisis, and heart-ache are introduced to the mix. It was too late in the book for me, making it feel out of place without being fully rooted earlier on.
It's not that I didn't like the depth of the added conflict, just that it felt like a new book without any basis earlier on. The first half did read very slowly because of the lack of conflict- the last part too quickly, to the point it felt rushed, like it needed to be fleshed out more. But, for me, the two halves didn't marry well together.
I think some of the issue for me, as this was written by two authors, was the fact that it wasn't seamless. The disconnect I felt may have been in part due to the fact that I could sense that it was written by two authors, if that makes any sense. Something was off, or maybe missing, but it didn't match up to me.
Overall, I do recommend this title, but some of the plot points just weren't to my tastes.
Finley wants to take care of everyone she loves. She is always there for her twin brothers and her father. After the death of her mother she helped her father as much as she could, but it's time for her to have some adventures of her own. Eddie's never had someone who took care of him like that and he's drawn to Finley's loving nature. He's keeping a big secret though, one that could change his entire future. Will Finley and Eddie have a chance or is his secret bad enough to ruin his chances?
You Before Anyone Else is a special and surprising story. When I read the blurb I had no idea the story would have so many deep and meaningful twists and turns. Finley and Eddie are good for each other, but they both have a lot of baggage. They had to grow up quickly and they have a lot more on their mind than most other people who are in their late teens. Finley is a sweet and kindhearted girl who easily loves and trusts. She's wonderful to everyone and I liked that very much about her. Eddie's good at making friends and it's easy for people to warm up to him. He's cute, creative and he's good with kids, which is ideal as Finley has two little brothers. I immediately loved reading about both of them and couldn't wait to find out where their story would lead.
What I enjoyed most about You Before Anyone Else is the two amazing distinctive voices. They are equally good and work really well together. I loved the vivid descriptions of the modelling and Finley's dancing. I also loved reading about Finley's brothers, they're adorable. The story has a great natural flow, which is a fantastic achievement when there are two authors. Finley and Eddie are going through a lot and there are many intriguing emotional layers. Eddie's secret made me curious straight away and when I found out what it was I loved reading about him even more. The ending is unexpected and moving and it's fitting at the same time. I loved this beautiful story and highly recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
Everything about You Before Anyone Else screamed cliché.Read more