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You Before Anyone Else


You Before Anyone Else

To start, this book was really a stunner! After reading the blurb of YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE, I was expecting a regular, run-of-the-mill romance novel with a few elements of “instalove” and general romantic comfort. The setting of the story really fed into this initial first impression, as both of the main characters are models. However, what I received was an incredible love story! This book really captivated my attention and I couldn’t put it down.

This book was co-written by two incredible authors, Julie Cross and Mark Perini. Julie Cross is a New York Times bestselling author as well as a USA Today bestselling author of new and young adult fiction. She has written amazing books such as the Tempest series, the Letters to Nowhere series, WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU and THIRD DEGREE. Mark Perini is also a talented author who has been featured in the new adult anthology, FIFTY FIRST TIMES. The two authors have also collaborated on contemporary young adult novel, HALFWAY PERFECT, which also explores romance in the modeling world.

"YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE has incredible character development of the supporting characters. This book really represents the fine line between adolescence and adulthood...."

YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE starts with us meeting the main characters Finley and Eddie. Finley is a charming and kind girl who moves to New York City to make her dreams come true through modeling. Unfortunately, she’s too charming. Too kind. She’s unable to book a high-caliber modeling gig as most of the high-paying companies book models who are more rebellious and edgy. Enter Eddie, an adventurous young model who leaves his life of luxury to start another life of his own. In an attempt to make herself more edgy and rebellious, Finley has a fling with Eddie after meeting at a party. This becomes the catalyst for the inevitably intense chemistry between the two.

Despite my initial skepticism of this book’s plotline, I really did enjoy the overall story once I got past my apprehension. The first portion of this book is a sweet and charming love story. While some may see it as sappy or mushy, to me there’s something about watching young love blossom that never gets old. Both of the characters interact with each other well and push the plot forward without too many empty scenes. Eagle-eyed readers will notice quite a bit of foreshadowing leading up to the huge plot twist. After this plot twist, the pace of the book slows down a bit and the characters’ decisions began to get a bit questionable. Overall, however, the book has a great plotline and is well-paced.

One of the finer qualities of this book is the character development. Typically in YA romances, we see the main leads really developed and fleshed out while the other characters are shoved into the dark background. Because this book seems to be aimed at the older of the YA crowd, in between the YA and NA genres, YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE has incredible character development of the supporting characters. We get to meet Finley’s family, her supportive father and her adorable twin brothers, all of whom are very developed and have backstories.

The two main characters are also incredibly well developed. At first, Finley and Eddie seem very shallow. However, after a few pages we really get to see that even though these characters appear open and carefree with each other, they are carrying heavy emotional baggage. This book really represents the fine line between adolescence and adulthood as we see these young teenagers struggle with acting their age and staying carefree while dealing with some very adult problems.

The only negative I could see with the characters is that Finley seems a bit too perfect, almost unrealistically perfect. She is a wonderful daughter, friend, big sister and, on top of all of that, she’s a model. Eddie seems a little too cocky and overconfident at first, almost arrogant. However, these initial impressions help to spotlight the incredible character development in the book, paradigms really do shift. With the plot, the only negative I could spot initially was that Finley’s decision to be with Eddie in an effort to seem more “rebellious” seemed a bit questionable to me. After the plot twist, Eddie’s decisions especially get a bit questionable. Other than these negatives, the YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE has a great plot and character development.

I would recommend this book to older or more mature teens, around 16-18 years of age. This is because the book has mentions of very adult problems and sexual references. Also, the target demographic for this book seems to be the older YA crowd, almost NA. Overall, this was a great book and I will definitely be reading it again!

Reviewed by Vaishnavi S., Teen Board Member on August 11, 2016

You Before Anyone Else
by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

  • Publication Date: August 2, 2016
  • Genres: Dating, Romance, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • ISBN-10: 1492604925
  • ISBN-13: 9781492604921