Last year, after reading Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder, I declared it to be my favorite book of hers to date. But I think she has outdone herself once again. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder is nothing short of perfect.
The book (written in verse, like Lisa’s three other YA novels), tells the story of Amber, who escapes from her family and friends for a day all to herself at the beach. Her life is spiraling out of control, and she needs just one day alone; to live for herself and no one else. While there, she meets Cade — who seems in search of his own day. Together, they agree to spend 24 hours, living in the moment — no questions asked. But the more time Amber spends with Cade (and the more their connection seems to grow), the more she feels the need to know exactly what’s wrong in his life and how she can help. If she can help.
Amber and Cade are two of my new favorite characters in fiction Amber, with her dyed-hair, jelly bean obsession and rock girl attitude — and Cade, with his skinny jeans, and oh-so-adorable references to movies like “Say Anything.” And while Amber and Cade carry the story, they are not the only ones worth loving in The Day Before. Amber’s parents each have small moments to shine, as does her sister and her best friend. A brief appearance by Cade’s friends give you a tiny glimpse into his world beyond this single day.
As always, Lisa’s writing is beautiful. She chooses her words so carefully, and it comes across in each beautiful verse of the novel. On each page, Lisa beautifully captures the emotions and feelings of her characters — anger, melancholy, the tingles of first love. Likewise, her descriptions will whisk you away to the Oregon coast. Reading The Day Before made me wish I was there, with the sand and the gray ocean and the cloudy skies and the saltwater taffy that makes a day on the Oregon coast oh-so-perfect. In small ways, The Day Before is almost a little love letter to these perfect places.
But I think what I loved most about The Day Before was seeing the whole story come together as pieces of the mystery are revealed. Lisa peels back the layers of her story so delicately — giving you just enough to satisfy, yet not quite enough so that you simply must keep reading. What’s even more, is that Lisa manages to avoid becoming predictable. Even if you think you know where the story is going, you’ll find yourself surprised.
What’s more is, The Day Before will leave you filled up with hope and happiness. It’s a story about accepting one’s fears, and moving on even when that fear remains.
The Day Before is in stores now. Do yourself a favor, and go pick up a copy today.