Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher-Walker Childrens
Released-Feb 18th 2014
Pre-Order- Amazon / B & N

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 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?
One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

My Thoughts:
Brighton Waterford is the most popular girl in school. Everyone goes to her for advice or for her opinion and is known for her natural leadership, volunteer work and community giving, easily winning the hearts of the entire school. But underneath all that perfection is a girl who is still mourning the death of her father, five years later. Determined to follow in his footsteps to make the world a better place, Brighton’s latest mission is to try to get the new guy, Jonah Prentiss, to be more involved with the school, but no matter how much she tries to befriend him, he doesn’t seem to care and wants nothing to do with her.
Jonah Prentiss is angry, he’s bitter and he hates everything about his new life. He hates that his parents got divorced and his mother ended up falling in love with his physical therapist, having a new baby and then ultimately moving from Hamilton to Cross Pointe where he’s surrounded by the rich and pretentious. The only person he looks forward to seeing is his girlfriend, Carly, that is, till she breaks-up with him.
Bright Before Sunrise, follows the story of Brighton and Jonah, two very different people who come together one unexpected night and learn that there is more to the other then they realized and maybe even more to themselves.

Hmm, I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I’m kinda conflicted. On one hand this is a very engaging story and I had a hard time putting this down, but I think it was only out of sheer morbid curiosity and the fact that it’s hard to look away from a promising disaster waiting to happen. See, Jonah is, well, he’s pretty much an ass. No other way to say it really. He’s absolutely miserable with his new life and he doesn't have a problem making everyone know it. I get that he’s wounded about the divorce, the step-dad and the move, but the way he treated Brighton was ridiculously rude and dame ignorant. As soon as he asked her to the party in Hamilton to make Carly jealous, I knew this was so not a good freaken idea, and yet, Brighton agrees.
Brighton is a very lost person who needs the approval and acceptances of everyone around her simply because she believes it’s what her father would have wanted. Some may say she’s a rather weak character, and I would probably agree with them, but I think it’s more then that. When she lost her dad, she became a version of him and lost herself in the process and Jonah is the only person calling out the fact that she uses kindness as a weapon instead of growing a spine and being who she wants to be.
Jonah and Brighton are messy and flawed characters, but together they somehow balance each other out as they help the other realize what’s missing in their lives and connecting in ways that were surprising and sweet.

I may not have liked the way Jonah acted throughout most of this novel, but his thoughts betrayed him now and then and the guilt and remorse looked better on him then all the attitude and snark. I never really had a problem with Brighton, my heart actually goes out to her. She’s young and confused about the role in her own life but I love the fact that she uses her popularity in a positive force rather then the overly played mean girl approach that I easily get annoyed with in other reads. I was also impressed with the way she handled herself at the party.
This is the kind of love story I like to refer to as a rage-to-romance type situation, but it was mostly Jonah with the rage while Brighton kinda just sat there and took it. The situation itself is believable enough but I’m still not entirely sold on the idea of Jonah and Brighton as an actual couple. They have a lot of hang-ups and baggage with each other and with their own issues throughout the entire novel where it felt hard to believe that it’s something they can just let go of so easily. Still, there were also heartfelt moments that felt genuine that made me smile and by the end of the book I found myself rooting for them both.

I also really liked the writing. Tiffany Schmidt manages to write a very realistic and convincing story about a night where two people who don’t particular like each other come together and have significant eye-opening moments about each other and question their own life choices. It was believable and easy to connect with. I’m also one of those readers who can appreciate a really good argument scene and this book is chalked full of witty dialog and mean zingers.

All in all, I thought this was a decent read. The writing is well done, the characters were frustrating but intriguing and the story-line is absorbing enough where I was invested from start to finish. This reads like a standalone, but I would love to see a sequel. We’re left with a lot of hope for our duo but it still feels like a very uncertain and shaky beginning to a relationship that’s either doomed before it really begins or grows with the moments that have been captured in this book. I guess only time will tell.

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                                3.5 Snowflakes

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