This is going to be extremely hard to review this book without wandering into spoiler territory. But let’s do it!
To sum up the plot, Finley is a model who is trying to be more “edgy.” Eddie has a secret; actually he has a few secrets. The two meet at a party. There’s some alcohol involved, and they have a one-night-stand. I don’t want to go into too many more details, but yes, of course they form a friendship and slowly start falling for each other.
This is an overused plot in NA, however, if done well it can be highly intriguing and leave an everlasting impact on the reader. I read this book yesterday, and as I write this review I am having a hard time remembering character’s names and arcs in this book. It wasn’t highly memorable for me. Granted, I do remember the -gasps- huge reveal but only because it frustrated me. You Before Anyone Else was frankly okay and just another book to add to the shelf.
I really don’t want to spoil the book, so I’ll vaguely talk about the big secret. I’m not a of fan this type of storyline. I have yet to read a book that does this topic justice. I feel like sometimes it is used to add unnecessary drama and keep the main leads apart. The emotional impact isn’t really explored.
This book started off strong, but as it progressed it sort of lost its momentum. The first half and second half of the book felt like two different books. The first half focused more on Eddie and Finley bonding and being open with each other. It was cute, and I was beginning to see some real developments in their relationship. However, the second half got a little messy with the big reveal. There was so much legal drama, and it just got boring.
This story probably could have been wrapped up in 200 pages. But instead it dragged on and the total page count was around 400.
Both Finley and Eddie’s narrative was written the same which made it hard to tell between the two. Other than that, the writing wasn’t bad.
This book had two likable main characters, however, they were just a tad dull.
Finley was overly sweet. I didn’t have a problem with that. The issue I had was that I didn’t understand the character. Her motive and reasons for somethings did not make any sense. For example, why was she so against her and Eddie entering a relationship? He had already told her his first secret and there was no hint of the bigger secret yet. He was extremely sweet to both her and her family. I think this goes back to the idea that the characters were a little dull and not very flushed out.
I do like how at the end she found her dream. Not her mother’s or father’s dream, but hers. I was content with how her arc wrapped up.
I wouldn’t classify Eddie as the “bad boy.” He made some mistakes as a teen, but that does not mean he’s a bad boy. He was sweet, and he was trying to grow up and take some responsibility. Unlike Finley, I was a little confused about why he made his end decision. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support a decision like this.
But with the material given, it felt sort of out of nowhere for him to reach that conclusion. He was so dead set on this goal and in a few thoughts he completely changed his decision. Maybe I just felt that if this type of storyline was going to be introduced the payoff should have had a more emotional and impactful ending. Instead it felt flat and the moved on with a nine month time jump.
The romance was cute, and they worked well together. It was a healthy relationship and the two benefited nicely from having each other.
In the beginning, I thought that it was paced nicely, but as the second half rolled around, it lost its wonder. I found myself questioning whether Finley should end with Eddie. It was not him, just the situation.
Although I believe it was cute, I felt like it was missing something. I always say this and what I’m referring to is that I believe that it needed an extra spark. Something that makes me smile like an idiot when I read about the two or a wondrous word that comes to mind when I think about them.
When I think about Finley and Eddie, I can’t really think of words to describe them. Like mentioned so many words ago, the book is not memorable, and neither is the romance.
You Before Anyone Else started off strong, however, as the pages increased the potential decreased. The characters are lacking a few three dimensional elements, but the romance is cute.