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.
Bright Before SunriseFeatured
I really enjoyed the dual POV and how both of these characters were almost extreme versions of themselves in the beginning. Their experiences have caused them to shut down emotionally but it manifests itself in different ways.
Jonah is a jerk, lashing out at everyone and everything around him. Totally understandable. Divorce is hard on a kid regardless of age. Throw in a move, a neurotic girlfriend and a bunch of other changes and life can kind of suck. Big time. The only bright spot in his life seems to be his baby sister and ohmyfeels...the scenes where he is caring her are so stinking sweet!
Brighton's perpetual positivity is merely a survival mechanism. Neither of her parents are emotionally available to her and thanks to her sister's carefree (and often hilarious) attitude, Brighton is the one tasked with taking care of their mom. But Caretaker is a role Brighton feels the safest in despite the fact that it's slowly eating away at her.
When their night begins, both Jonah and Brighton have preconceived notions about one another as well as agendas. Over the course of a few hours, words are spoken, feelings are hurt, and connections made, leaving them both to face the reality that maybe they really aren't all that different after all. Maybe too, they're the only other person who has a clue as to what the other is dealing with. Maybe, just maybe, Jonah and Brighton are exactly what each other needs.
Not tying up all of the loose ends is just one of the things that makes this story unique. But the reader isn't left feeling frustrated or angry about all of the "what happens now" questions. What the reader IS left with is hope and belief that it really does only take one night to change your life for the better.
What Left Me Wanting More: Nothing. However, if Tiffany Schmidt would like to write another book about what DOES happen next, I'll be first in line to read it. With cupcakes. ;)
Final Verdict: Engaging, thought-provoking look at how we not only see others, but how we see ourselves too. Read it!
Favorite Quote(s): "Mom keeps a bail fund for me---for you, she only has college money."
"Go get my purse' does not give you permission to go in my purse," when all I'd wanted was a piece of gum for my baseball game." (One of the first "rules" I taught my boys. LOL!)
"Pity for the loser with undersized man-parts."
"In one car ride she's gone from pensive to half-asleep, and now she looks like she's snorted coffee beans."
What I loved: Tiffany Schmidt takes readers on a one night, life-changing journey of Brighton and Jonah. The chapters alternate between them. Sometimes that can bog a story down and readers can get caught up in the alternating view points....but not in this case. The flip-flop between Brighton and Jonah highlights both of their insecurities and their very different ways of dealing with their issues. I loved reading how their thoughts and actions changed throughout the course of the night.
This story happens in one night so don't expect an intense romance. Instead, enjoy Brighton and Jonah's journey of friendship, self-discovery, and a few smooches along the way.
What left me wanting more: Nothing. I loved it all!
Final Verdict: You won't want to miss out on this one. Prepare to pick it up and read it in one night.