Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

brightbeforeWhen 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.

-synopsis via Goodreads

Well, on the surface, this book seems like it would be a winner: boy meets girl, boy hates girl, boy and girl spend 12 hours together, judgment and anger and hilarity and romance ensue, boy and girl have a bright future together.

And there were definitely elements that I really liked.  I think both Brighton and Jonah suffer from issues that are typical of the teenage experience-Brighton feels pressure to be nice to everyone and liked by everyone, and basically do it all, while Jonah moves to a new school and feels like he really doesn’t fit in anywhere.  I think readers will really be able to relate to both Brighton and Jonah.

I also have to say that I was definitely able to get wrapped up in the plot-the story moved along quickly, and I enjoyed the interactions between many of the characters.  I loved Jonah’s relationship with Carly’s siblings, and Brighton’s conversation with Jonah’s Hamilton friends at the pizza place.  I thought Jonah’s tenderness with his baby sister and, eventually, with Brighton, showed us a softer side of him.

I guess my main issue with this book is that Jonah and Brighton went from dislike to infatuation in such an abrupt manner.  I really think that over time, they would have been able to see past their differences, get to know one another better, and gradually become more than friends.  But to me, it seemed like Jonah went from abject hatred to love with hardly any transition time-that part of the story seemed a little unrealistic to me, especially considering he had JUST ended another relationship.

While this wasn’t my favorite book ever, it was an easy, light read with a fun romantic element and a few heartwarming moments.  I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to get swept up in a whirlwind romance, or who loves to root for a happy ending.

Copy received from Bloomsbury via NetGalley.  Bright Before Sunrise will be published on February 18, 2014.

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