Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: Before You by Amber Hart

Title: Before You (Before & After #1)
Author: Amber Hart
Published: July 29th
Read: from July 2nd to 4th, 2014
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*An ARC was provided in exchange for my honest thoughts*
Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

It’s true! I didn’t like Perfect Chemistry that much. Sorry guys! I read it about 2-3 years ago and wasn’t a huge fan. I wish it had had a little more culture in it and was a little less about the HS drama. I read the synopsis for Before You and thought perhaps Perfect Chemistry was just not for me at the time; perhaps I’ll love this book since I love me some star-crossed romances; perhaps I’ll love it and fall in love so madly that I’ll want to re-read PC and love it too. While those things didn’t happen, I’m still glad I read Before You, because now I know that these kind of books just aren’t for me. Period.

"So many firecrackers go off inside me all at once. Because of one smile. He's stealing his way into me and I don't appreciate it. Not one bit."

Um. Ok. So this book has a serious, Sirius case of insta-love going on. Insta-attraction is most definitely there and it quickly develops into insta-love. I mean.. Why is it so hard to find a book with a nice slow-build? Yea, in HS one’s hormones are usually the reason why teenagers’ feelings develop so quickly, but still! I may understand, but it doesn’t mean that I agree, like or enjoy. And in this case, I didn’t even understand. Sorry.

My status update on Goodreads said: “It’s weird, because I don’t really feel the chemistry between them since they haven’t spoken that much and spent so little time together, but are drooling all over each other.” I stand by it. Still. Where in the world did all these feelings come from between the two MCs? They’d seen each other basically 5 times by the time I reached 40% and by then they were so into each other. They knew each other’s expressions, moods, signals. Like, whoa! Come again? *blinks* It was just frustrating, because if the romance had been more developed or slow-burn-ish, I would have maybe, just maybe, found myself enjoying this book more. Also, while Hart has potential to be a great author, I would have liked for a bit more scenery and interaction. The writing was a tad choppy here and there and the dialogue didn’t always sound natural. The potential is there though.

It wasn’t all bad though. It represents difference in YA and I love the different cultural backgrounds even if Diego’s Mexican heritage wasn’t explored that much. I loved the parts where the MCs were away from each other (though that was clearly not the part I should have liked the most since, above all, it’s a contemporary romance novel) and gave us their backstories. I like how we got Faith’s deep dark secret almost right away and didn’t have to build up anticipation and mystery for it. I also kind of adored Faith’s best friend Melissa? While I was reading, I kept thinking to myself that she may start a thing with Javi (Diego’s cousin) and I wouldn’t mind it one bit. (When I reached the end of the novel, there was a sneak peek into the sequel and I was right! *fist pump* Not sure if I’m going to read it though..)

I think this one could appeal to people who loved Perfect Chemistry and people still in HS or younger. Not to say that adults wouldn’t enjoy it! No. I bet there are a ton of adults who will devour this story and want more. It’s just that.. it’s full of HS drama, ista-love (which I was very fond of during my Twilight days, but not anymore) and more up-front dialogue than very in-depth story-writing.

Overall rating: 2.0 out of 5.0
Stars: ★★

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thank you to K-Teen and Netgalley for providing an arc. My thoughts are my own
and in no way did the review copy affect my opinion on the book.


  1. You and I are taking over the 'negative reviews' corner today, dude! WE'RE SO HARD TO PLEASE (unless the person trying to please us happens to be a member of the TW cast).

    I keep giggling at 'Sirius insta-love' BWAHAHAHA. Oh, Sirius. Okay, not giggling any more actually. Now I'm crying because SIRIUS :(

    You know, this is my pet peeve, man. How can I feel chemistry between people who have barely spoken two words to each other? I don't understand it and it pisses me off that the author expects me to ship a couple who DON'T KNOW EACH OTHER. I don't buy all these ridiculous 'instant connections' and 'deep bonds' with people who know nothing about the author person. It's just stupid and makes me want to throw cake at said author's face (you know, if I was one to waste cake. Which I'm not. Obviously.).

  2. I knew when you mentioned that you hadn't liked Perfect Chemistry that you wouldn't like this one and when I got to the end I was convinced that this book wouldn't be for you.
    It's interesting how different people see romances differently. I know you didn't see the chemistry, but I actually thought that was the best part about this book. I guess that's where the quote about everyone seeing things differently comes from. :D
    I do agree that the romance was a bit too rushed towards the end. I wasn't convinced when the L-word came out.
    And man, the drama! It was way too much for me. Did I tell you how I was laughing at that near last scene when that big brawl started? That isn't the reaction that the author was looking for in my opinion.
    I know you said you liked Melissa, but will you be reading her book?
    Lovely review, Siiri!

  3. While I actually did enjoy Perfect Chemistry, I think the insta-love in this one sounds incredibly frustrating. I can 100% get behind insta-lust and insta-crushes, those two things are believable to me, but the insta-love drives me crazy. Like you, I'm all about the slow build - I like lots of tension between characters and want to be on the edge of my seat waiting for one of them to finally make a move:) Sorry this wasn't the book for you Siiri, I hope the next one you pick up is a 5 star read:)

  4. I can't stand high school drama; it's a major pet peeve on mine in this genre. Insta-love is another trope that I'm not big on; I can deal with it in certain situations (like werewolf mates), but otherwise I need more relationship development in order for the romance to be believable. Oh well, better luck next time!

  5. Sorry to hear that the chemistry just wasn't doing in for you and too much drama

  6. Okaay, I completely understand why you didn't like it really. I mean, that seems like a completely problematic case of insta-love! PROBLEMATIC. I'm sure I won't enjoy this book either so thanks for the honesty in this review. Honesty is the best. Also, I'm surprised you're not a fan of perfect chemistry. lol. I guess it's okay since it's not necessarily my favorite thing either. I prefer a relationship like Phoebe and Cole in Charmed. ;)

  7. This really irons my opinion on these types of books - I don't think I'm a fan either. I just think the whole romance is kind of cliche especially the insta-love and I'm more about rolling my eyes than shipping the romances then. High school drama can get pretty annoying, although it was a great insight how you said the hormones probably made them attracted quicker. Lovely review Siiri, at least you know now that these books aren't for you!

  8. When I read the synopsis, it really sounded like Perfect Chemistry. I am so surprised you didn't like it because I remember devouring the book. I think that was a time where I could still handle angst and all that. Haha! But really instalove can make me turn my back on a book real fast and it really looked like the chemistry here was faulty, which is a shame because this book is a romance book. I think what went wrong was really the execution. But hey, I liked Perfect Chemisty but I'm not really sure I'd like this one. xD Thanks for the honest review, Siiri!

  9. Meh! I find those kind of romances absolutely weird and bizarre as well. I just don't get insta-love... especially an insta-love in which everyone's drooling over each other like dogs in heat! Seriously, you don't really know their moods, signals and whatsoever by that time... I mean, maybe if you've been together for a long time, but seeing each other 5 times only?! ONLY?! That's highly unrealistic! :/

    Faye at The Social Potato

  10. I read like 2 pages of Perfect Chemistry and had to put it down because it just wasn't working for me. I don't hate insta-love, but if it's to the point of unbelievability...then nope. I just can't take these characters seriously if they've only met each other a couple of times but seem to know EVERYTHING about their supposed 'soul-mate'. I definitely think I've grown out of liking these insta-romances, and prefer something more substantial and realistic. OMG I make myself sound so old hahaha eeep!

  11. BOO. I know we disagree about love triangles, but I am on the exact same page with you about insta-love. Siriusly (HA), insta-love is insta-crap. IM humble O (<-----also HA!) Anyhoots, yeah, this definitely sounds too high school for me, so THANKS for the heads-up. Great and honest review, Siiri!

  12. We ALL know that insta-love based on insta-attraction never works out. Or if it does, it's definitely not for me. And Sirusly how do people who've barely met a handful of times suddenly fall in love?? It's one thing I'll NEVER be able to understand.

    And what you said about culture?? That would have definitely made this book a HELLA lot more interesting. Especially since Diego was from Cuba. But to be honest, star crossed romances like these don't focus on the culture (and with PC it was about the stereotypical culture which is just depressing)... they are more about the angst and drama. Like I love me a good starcrossed romance but... I usually stay away from the high schooly stuff.

    I am sorry you didn't enjoy this more, Siiri :( But hey, at least you saved me the trouble of succumbing to temptation and reading this :P

    Lovely review, hon <3

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  13. I haven't read any of these books, but thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I'll know not to add this one to my list because I'm not one for insta-love and HS drama either. Oh, and your review is so well written! I don't think I could have been as nice :) And (at the risk of getting cake thrown at my face ;)) who is this Sirius? The only Sirius I know is from HP and I have a feeling he's not the one being referred to here.

  14. Um yeah, not going to read this one. I was hesitant about it at first. But after seeing your review and a couple others, I've decided that this one just isn't for me. Can't love 'em all, right? :) Great honest review!

  15. SADNESS! I am a huge believer in insta-attraction, but love takes time to build, and I'm always sad when authors don't give the readers an opportunity to feel the tension rising. I liked Perfect Chemistry when I read it, but I'm not a huge fan of the read-alikes. Plus I'm not sure I'd love it as much if I started it today. Too bad this wasn't a win for you. Hope the next one is.

  16. I'm finally catching up with all my blog posts, great new lay-out by the way, and I'm a 100% sure this book isn't for me. I didn't like the sound from it in the first place and I've had enough insta-love books for now.