You Before Anyone Else
New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the "good girl" stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.
Enter Eddie Wells. He's shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie's bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.
"You Before Anyone Else" builds the romantic relationship between two aspiring models, Finley and Eddie. The book is told in alternating point of views between the two. Both are working towards larger goals and modeling is a financial step towards doing so. Finley is close with her family, helping to fill the hole her mother's death left behind with her two young brothers. She wants to save up enough money to re-open her mother's ballet studio and teach ballet. Eddie is on a quest for financial independence from his wealthy parents.
Finley is tired of being the good, boring girl- she needs the big jobs that come with being edgier. Eddie needs to stay away from drugs/bad decisions and be more of a good, boring guy. Their story begins with a game of beer pong and a one-night stand. It slowly grows from there, as they seem fated to continue to run into each other.
The book has a very slow and confusing beginning. I found Eddie's secret to be quite obvious and was expecting a bigger secret/reveal from the synopsis. It was also somewhat difficult to bounce between the two as their voices seemed quite similar. Neither was in a very great place and both had a lot of anger and frustration. However, they both seemed to have no shortage of modeling jobs. Around a third of the way through the book, things came together and the plot emerged. Their relationship grew some legs and the foundation was built. Each of them gained some dimensions to their personality. The story got better from there.
My favorite characters were Finley's brothers, who gave a taste for her family and also Eddie's adorable soft side. They had some really great roles in the story and were just too cute. They also served an important function in both Finley and Eddie's lives. I liked how both Finley and Eddie were reaching towards their dreams. Eddie was all work towards it, but Finley seemed to have things fall into her lap a bit (e.g. helping her friend at a ballet-themed photoshoot and then having it go from there). That was okay for me, as I was happy it was working out for her/sometimes things happen in lucky/random-seeming ways.
I am not sure if I would consider this a YA book- maybe only for much older teens; I'd definitely classify it as a new adult book. It has a lot of intense topics such as sex, drug/alcohol abuse, etc. In summary, loved the later 2/3 of the book but wish the first third was a bit clearer/faster paced. It reads very slowly like a character study through only their interactions.
Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
You Before Anyone Else was an interesting and enlightening read that takes us into the model world. Narrated through the eyes of Finley and Eddie, this novel was fun and enjoyable. I loved the plot of the novel and the relationship between Finley and Eddie. I would recommend this novel to fans of contemporary romance.