I honestly didn't think I could read an entire novel written in verse, but by the second or third page I'd completely forgotten about the style and was engrossed in Lisa Schroeder's tale. It's amazing how much detail and emotion can be conveyed in such few words, but Schroeder's careful word choice makes her sparse verse as vivid as the wordiest prose. The writing is innovative and fast, and piques readers' curiosity about what terrible thing is going to happen to this girl we feel like we've known our whole lives.
Amber finds herself in an impossible situation. At first, the desperation is felt even if the cause is unclear, but Schroeder doesn't make the reader wait too long to understand the circumstances -- revealed through flashbacks in the form of letters sprinkled throughout the text. Amber is utterly sympathetic -- finally a heroine who isn't the beautiful but unnoticed underdog. She is a short and stocky rocker chick with killer taste in music. She has her quirks (like a jelly bean obsession), and a great best friend and loving little sister, who make their presence felt even if they aren't all that present in the narrative action.
Cade's pain is even more of a mystery than Amber's, but he combines it with a wry wit that it utterly beguiling. Their determination to have one last day free of sorrow and full of the little things in life -- chosen by fate and the toss of a coin -- is romantic, if bittersweet. Though their relationship is built over the course of a single day, in this story it works. They are both living the same day -- the day before everything changes -- in the same way, and it binds them in a way they can't even fully express.
This tale has an almost haunted air, the lightness tainted by their somber secrets. As readers get to know these two beautiful people, marred by circumstances beyond their control, through the lyrical lens of Schroeder's verse, their hearts will soar and break and hope and despair right alongside the two teens who just want to live life on their own terms, free from responsibility and obligation -- for just one more day.
Disclosure: I received an advance galley from the publisher for an honest review.
This novel hits shelves today! Click here to purchase The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder.
Head over to my author interview with Lisa Schroeder and enter to win a SIGNED copy of The Day Before, plus a cute sand dollar necklace like the one Amber has in the book! Ends 8/5.