The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Different situations have brought Amber and Cade to the shore, but one thing is clear, they both need an escape. After meeting at an aquarium, they spend the day together, filling it up with special memories and in the end, revealing their true feelings about what lies ahead.
Initially it’s not clear what tomorrow holds for either character, which means that there are two big twists or reveals in the book. The first one I suspected early on, but the second one came as a complete surprise and I actually just really liked it. The book covers material that handled by a lesser author could be real Lifetime movie, tug your heartstrings type melodrama; a style I really don’t enjoy. But Schroeder took me past all that. See, that’s what a good book will do for you. It can get you to overlook things that would otherwise would not be your style.
The Day Before is written in verse. Verse novels can be hit or miss. I find some authors use the format to create a sense of foreboding, but even as I was anticipating tough outcomes, The Day Before never veered into the negative. The style meant that I was able to read it even faster than usual, racing through the pages until I finally finished, satisfied.
So why was I such a big fan? Admittedly, I’m a sucker for a book that takes place at the shore, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to escalate it to be another favorite in this month of one day books. Of course, their idea of a great day lined up pretty well with my own, which also played a big part in my appreciation for it. And like I said, I really did enjoy the twists even though one was something I anticipated and would normally not be into. But the most important reason why I loved this book is that regardless of the reasons that brought Amber and Cade to their one day spree, they were searching for the same things that teens are always searching for: a sense of self and a sense of their own place and value in this world. While their specific situations are not universal, the emotions that they have are very much shared by many. That’s why I liked it so much and why I think readers will connect to it as well.
Age Recommendation: I would recommend this for Grades 6 and up. There’s plenty of cursing, most of which is on the tamer side (no f-word unleashed here). The romance is reasonably chaste, sort of the right level for readers who want to dip their toes into the physical but don’t feel up to reading hot and heavy. The verse style means that many readers who are intimidated by full pages of text will be willing to give it a go and because it is good (and fun, not weighty) it may prove to be a gateway to getting skeptical readers into more, longer and denser books.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – There’s handholding. A teen puts another teen’s hand on her leg. There is a cheek kiss. There is kissing. There’s a mention of dirty magazines.
Profanity – “screwed”, “bastard”, “crap”, “damn”, “hell”, “oh God”, “ass”, “shit”, “dang”, “Thank God”, “Christ”, “goddamn”, “son-of-a-bitch”, “asshole”, “bullshit”, “Jesus”,
Death, Violence and Gore – There’s a brief discussion of death by jellyfish rather than gun or rope. A family’s child has died of leukemia. There’s some contemplation of death and mortality. A ghost story tells of a girl who disappeared leaving only a pool of blood. A teen jokes “kill me now”. Someone is awaiting a liver transplant.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – A teen mentions that she tends to drink too many when she does drink. A couch smells of cigarettes.
Frightening or Intense Things – Hey, don’t click here if you don’t want to know the twists!