Title: Before You
Author: Amber Hart
Series: Before & After
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Published: July 29, 2014
Genre: Mature YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher,
but that did not influence the review**

4.5 stars Sweet lawd my heart. I really loved this story and I’m still trying to recover from it.

This story started off a little slow and reminded me of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (which is a very good thing), but soon enough I was churning through the pages like it was my job and I couldn’t get enough of Diego. This was definitely it’s own book and Diego….well let’s just say he stole the show in this book.

So let’s talk more about Diego. He was divine. He was scarred inside and out. He was tough, sexy, loyal…but mostly honorable. He was so good. He was just a victim of unlucky circumstance and did the best he could. He could have been angry all the time, but he wasn’t, which is why his character went straight to my heart.

Faith was a good leading character, so good that I wanted to know more. I felt like we were only told what she wanted to share…and that was ok, but I’m a greedy reader and I really wish we had learned more about her heartache. I learned about the “whys” of it, but wanted to feel the pain of it a little more…but maybe she just wanted to move on and not dwell on it for the sake of us readers. I understood every time Diego had a slight lapse in judgement, but Faith’s life couldn’t even compare, even though to her, her pain ran so deeply. I liked her a lot, I just wanted to know her even more.

The romance was brewing, and I think that is the best way for me to describe it. It was great, and going in a great direction that had my heart fluttering and palms sweating. However, I felt ripped off at the end. I am a really greedy reader and deserved at least a really looooong kissing scene (kissing only because it’s a YA novel). The chemistry was there, but the ending was cut short (I get to that in an upcoming paragraph).

So I loved the MCs and the romance, but that’s not all…I also loved the best friends, Javier and Melissa. Oh, and loved the parents, too! All of them are reasons why Before You is such a strong book…when the supporting cast is fantastic it makes such a huge difference. I hope Melissa gets a story too!

The big surprise at the end was just that. I swear I nearly threw the kindle. I was pissed. I was seriously upset. So with this “thing” that happened that was gut-wrenching, well, there was a vague recovery followed by other stuff that just all happened too fast. What am I saying? It didn’t really work for me. The upset part could have worked if the “stuff” after the fact was prolonged and I got details. But it was glossed over. And I didn’t want glossing because I was so emotionally torn up…it was like an epilogue was thrown at me. I never got to go through the ending emotions. Basically, this book should have been longer and it would have kicked it up to that 5 star rating. Was it still amazing? Hell yes! I just wanted more.

Would I rec this? A million times yes. I can’t wait to read Javier’s story next!

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