Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

By 10:58 AM , , , , ,

Bright Before Sunrise
   by: Tiffany Schmidt

Publication Date: Feb. 18, 2014
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 288 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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.

I first discovered this book on a friend's WOW post and I was definitely intrigued by the synopsis. Contemporaries have been my preferred genre of late and I really liked the idea of two characters coming together to change their opinions and assumptions about one another. While Bright Before Sunrise was a cute read, I did have a very difficult time of connecting with the main characters.
My biggest issue with this entire book was Jonah. I spent almost the whole book hating him and wondering when he would stop being such a jerk to Brighton. I kept waiting for him to stop and think about this girl and actually take the time to get to know her. The last 20% of the book was my favorite and that is what I was actually looking to see a bit earlier on in the novel. I did enjoy that the book was set within the span of a day and while most would think insta-love, I don't think that at all. Two people realizing they have some attraction and are interested in one another does not mean they are in love. Just because kissing is involved doesn't equal love. I wanted to clear that up first and foremost, because there is a big difference between being attracted and wanting more from someone to automatically being in love with them.
With the setting only being within a day, it does make it hard for some true character development. We do get to see Jonah and Brighton realize that their assumptions about one another may have been too quickly founded and that they don't really know one another at all. However, they are more open to finding out in the end. I think this novel is a good example of how stereotyping can get you in trouble and really lead to hurt feelings. I don't like seeing my main characters emotionally rejected by one another and I felt Jonah's attitude and later actions towards Brighton were a bit hard to swallow.
Jonah is angry. He has been forced to move to perfect, rich Cross Pointe and has had to leave his entire life behind. It goes deeper than this, though. Jonah is harboring a lot of hurt over his parents' divorce and how he feels he is the one to blame for it. He longs for a time when things were normal and for the easygoing, laid back mom he used to have. Instead, his mother has adapted to her new life in Cross Pointe as well, and his step-father is pretty hard on him. I get Jonah's anger, but he makes no effort to adapt- he is content with stewing in his anger and therefore distances himself from the Cross Pointe kids before even coming face to face with them. He thinks they are shallow and superficial and knows they think he's the poor kid from Hamilton. He loathes being at school having to endure their falsity and fakeness, and even worse he abhors Brighton Waterford. He wants nothing to do with her and is quite adamant about her leaving him alone.
I felt bad for Brighton. She is a sweet character, a bit naïve, but sweet nonetheless. I don't think she purposefully tries to act the way she does. She is one of the most popular girls in school- everyone gravitates towards her and is always asking for her help or opinions. Yet, she's not one of those mean girls that goes around slandering others behind their backs. She's extremely involved in school and extra-curricular activities and is a nice person overall. Yet, Brighton lacks depth. When her and Jonah are forced to interact, he hates that her solution to everything is just to be nice. Under the surface though, Brighton is ready to crack. She is still struggling with her father's death and what all that entails, as well as the death of family traditions and overall normalcy they used to have. Her mother is all about routine and Brighton doesn't feel she can be anything less than together and perfect in front of her mother. Her sister is the wild one- Brighton is the glue that keeps everything together. Brighton mentions that her friend Amelia calls her Teflon- everything just bounces right off her and doesn't phase her, but the reality is, Brighton just doesn't let herself show outward emotion and ironically, the first time she does is in front of Jonah. While Brighton started off trying to befriend Jonah for the wrong reasons as she needs his help for a volunteer project, she genuinely does want to get to know him and understand why he's so against befriending her.
I could have tolerated Jonah's attitude towards Brighton, but the biggest issue I had was his taking her to a party in Hamilton with his old friends that he knew would rip her apart. I felt that was wrong on so many levels, especially after getting to know her a tiny bit previously that night. He does redeem himself by the end of the novel, but again that was really difficult for me to swallow even after he admits his wrongdoing.
Overall, this was a cute read and again- I finally got what I was looking for with Brighton and Jonah in the last quarter of the book, but getting there did emit some frustration and overall anger as to choices that were made.

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  1. This pretty much mirrors my feelings on this book as well. I found Jonah just way too abrasive and rude in the beginning, and while I agree that the last third of the book or so got better, by then I it was too late for me to really love this story. I did like the fact that it took place in a single night and the writing was easy and quick paced which helped. Great review!

  2. I haven't heard of this one before but it does sound interesting! I'm glad you finally got what you was hoping for towards the end of the book. Great review!

  3. Hmm...I was really looking forward to this book, but now that I know a little more about the book, I think I will move it a little further down the TBR pile. I definitely still want to read it, but I don't think it's such a priority anymore. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. I love your review, Jessica. This does sound like a fun read, but after reading your review, I think I'd have a problem connecting with and excusing some of Jonah's actions. Brighton sounds kinda amazing though. :) I'll add this to my tbr.

  5. This does sound good, though I hate that Jacob's actions caused you to not connect. Thanks for the helpful review, Jessica!


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