March 8, 2014

Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Title: Bright Before Sunrise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Page Count: 288
Source: eARC from Netgalley
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.)

First Reaction: I feel all of the swoons and am 100% ready to re-read this one immediately.
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 3pm, but how will he feel at 3am?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

[Summary Source: Tiffany Schmidt's Website]

When Jonah's mom remarries, he's forced to move to the wealthy side of town, where he's forced to attend a new school for his senior year. Needless to say, he's reluctant to try to make friends and pretty much clings to his old life (which includes his girlfriend who's a jealous wreck). And then there's Brighton, who, even before her father passed away, had to be the perfect daughter, the people pleaser. Her goal is to get everyone in the school to volunteer, just as her father did when he went to the very same high school. But Jonah doesn't want to cooperate, so Brighton shoves herself into his life in order to figure out why he won't cooperate and they end up spending just one night together, learning so many things about each other and themselves. Things that change everything.

Let's break this down:

Oh goodness. This book. I think my only complaint about this book is that I want to know what happens after the night ends. I know that's not the point, but I never wanted Jonah and Brighton's story to end, so my brain is still kind of throwing a hissy fit.

Complaint aside, can we please talk about how perfect this book is?

First there's Jonah, who's just so angry. He's angry at his mom, his step-dad, his girlfriend, and even himself. It's almost like his anger's consumed him and he doesn't even know how to not be angry anymore. He just walks around thinking angry things that allow him to remain angry and it's easy to follow him deep into his rage - because it's not entirely unfounded.

Then there's Brighton, who, despite many, many infuriating people in her life, manages to keep it together - at least externally. She's the people pleaser. She's the first people everyone runs to for help. She walks down the hall and everyone calls out to her. She's the one who can't ever seem sad or get agitated or freak out. Her mom leans hard and her sister pushes her out of her comfort zone - which is mostly just her keeping the status quo and doing whatever it is people expect her to do.

So, basically, these two characters, whom I love, are total opposites. And they wouldn't have anything to do with each other if Brighton's goal was to get everyone in school to volunteer. The way these two come together is brilliant. They're so different and yet their perspectives on life somehow seem to mash together and make each other better. Honestly, as much as I don't love the idea of opposites attract, it's so wonderful to see how Jonah and Brighton come together to make each other better. Not "better" as in they were "bad" or "wrong" before, but freer. Each provides the other with someone they couldn't understand and actualize before. And it all happens over the course of one night.

A side note: I loved all the secondary characters in this book. The small glimpses we see of them make you feel one way about them at the beginning and totally change your mind about them by the end - and a lot of that has to do with the way Jonah and Brighton's view them. Their changing perceptions over the course of the book are stunning and fluid and really alter the way you think in such a short amount of time.

As for that one night: the timing was brilliant, the encounters were excellent, and the misunderstanding were hilarious and authentic. Tiffany Schmidt manages to pick just the right events and thoughts of the night to make you believe Jonah and Brighton could have really had these adventures and developed such a relationship. I love the words, the events, the characters, the emotions... honestly, like I said at the beginning of this review, the only thing I didn't love was the fact that it ends.

The long and short of it?

Plot: This book takes place in less than 24 hours. It's dual POV with an angry boy and a sad girl. Give it to me. Give it to me now.
World Building: The timing is perfect, just like everything else in this book.
Character Development: Jonah and Brighton's voices were so authentic and the way they affected each other over the course of the night was totally logical and just perfect.
Prose: Edible. As in, I totally devoured this book all of the words were just so perfectly edible, like a red velvet cupcake.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This book is for lovers of realistic fiction, books that take place in one night, and anyone who loves a good boy-girl dual POV book. Also, you, whoever you are reading this right now, should just read this book, okay?

Have you read this book yet? If not, why not? Let's talk about it in the comments below!