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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.

320 pages, Paperback

First published July 29, 2014

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About the author

Amber Hart

8 books181 followers
Author of:

WICKED CHARM, young adult standalone romantic thriller, Entangled Teen 2018

UNTIL YOU FIND ME, (Untamed series #1) new adult contemporary romantic thriller, Penguin Random House 2014

CAPTURED BY YOU, (Untamed series #2), Penguin Random House 2015

BEFORE YOU (Before & After series, #1), young adult contemporary romance, Kensington 2014

AFTER US (Before & After series, #2), Kensington 2014

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 204 reviews
Profile Image for Keeley.
48 reviews
July 13, 2014
I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before you is an an amazing young adult contemporary read from an outstanding new voice. Amber Hart has given us characters to fall in love with and a plot that had me hooked.

Before You is a tale of two star-crossed lovers. Everyone thinks Faith and Diego shouldn't be together, she is a respected daughter of a pastor who doesn't want to ruin the reputation of her dad and he is an ex gang member from the wrong side of the tracks, complete opposites, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

Faith is a good girl, she wears what people would expect a pastors daughter to wear, she acts the way she is expected to act and dates who other people find appropriate for her. She is living a lie, drowning in the pressure to not disappoint and to keep up appearances for the sake of her father. I like that Faith has two sides to her, the real her who is dying to break through and the fake her, the act she puts on to please everyone around her who think she should be a certain way. Faith has had troubles and has herself gone into dark place and that is why I think she connects with Diego so much, they have both been through things that have damaged them in a way.

Diego is your typical arrogant bad boy at first, he is adjusting to life in Florida after moving from Cuba, where he led a very different life inside a cartel. I loved that deep down he is so vulnerable when it comes to Faith, his feeling for her have changed him, he is a softer, more caring person. Their relationship instantly had sparks and I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop.

Before You tackles some difficult topics such as drug abuse and gangs. I found reading about gangs interesting, I think there was a lot of information about Cuba and life in Cuba for some people that I would not have known about if it wasn't for this book. I think the gang related parts of this book were done realistically and I liked reading about them.

Before You gives us love, action and some amazing characters. I loved going going on the journey with the characters in this book, and especially with Faith who has to learn to be true to herself. I really can't wait for the next installment of this series, After Us, to catch up with the characters. Before you made me laugh, cry and most of all keep turning the pages!
Profile Image for Jeraca.
2,369 reviews16 followers
June 25, 2014
I received this free eARC novel in exhange for my honest review.

Wow. This is another version of Romeo and Juliet where they are star crossed lovers not to be together because of society issues. But man does the chemistry fly off of the page. And I love Diego so much. Such a bad boy with a soft heart. And he tried to stay away from Faith so hard, but she was a persistant girl.

And Faith. Wanting to be the perfect daughter for her dad and thinking she is failing after her slip up. Honestly, even with her slip up and her thinking she has to dress a certain way because he works at the church, Faith is an angel compared to most kids her age.

That almost ending? I about started screaming. I was not a happy camper. Thankfully it changed, but I was not liking that almost ending.

Also, they added a sneak peek for the second novel and I CANNOT WAIT!!! I want it now!! Too bad I have to wait FOREVER FOR IT! Gah, the only bad things about eARC's - having to wait even LONGER for the follow up.

Loved this book. So glad I requested it through Netgalley and read it right away because I was hooked from the moment I started it! Will definitely be recommmending it to other readers and my friends who read my books!
Profile Image for Chrissy T.
67 reviews25 followers
August 8, 2014
As a Latin woman, I felt a little offended with how Latin males are portrayed in this book. I wanted to really love this story because of the cultural differences both of the MC's had; but honestly it didn't work. At all. The author tried to include Spanish words in every single dialogue scene Diego had, and it was awful! I don't think you need to be Latin in order to speak Spanish, but it was very clear the author doesn't speak the language. Not that it's a requirement in order to write about a Cuban male, but at least hire a translator to make it seem authentic, you know?

And don't even get me started on the stereotypes that Diego represents in this book.

Reading this book made me feel like I was eating at a tex-mex restaurant, such as Chevy's: You know it's supposed to be Mexican food, but it's not the real deal.
Profile Image for mythicgeek.
129 reviews37 followers
September 3, 2016
No, for real though. Read this book. I don't often like 1st person, I don't often like alternating POVs, and I almost never read straight-up contemporary romance. And yet I couldn't put this book down. Perfect for the We Need Diverse Books campaign. It's on sale on Tuesday July 29th. Make sure you get it and read it!
9 reviews
May 18, 2014
Hart's brilliant blend of moral, emotional and sexual tension made this impossible to put down. I can't wait for the sequel.
Profile Image for Aimee.
195 reviews4 followers
August 13, 2016
Faith is perfect on the outside and broken on the inside. She wears a mask to make people think that she's the predictable pastor's daughter everyone expects her to be.

Diego just moved to the US from Cuba to escape his past and to try and start a new life on the straight and narrow but trouble keeps finding him.

This book reminds me a lot of Perfect Chemistry and also another book I just read called One, Two, Three. It's the classic good girl meets bad boy concept with a twist. Faith and Diego are convinced that they're both extremely wrong for each other but as they interact more and more they realize they have more in common then they could imagine. I won't deny that it was very predictable, but it was still a good read. The twist at the end had me scratching my head a bit because I think that it was all accepted by Faith a little too easily. I think the emotions should have been running a lot higher, but I'm glad it came together in the end.

If you're looking for a quick read and a sweet love story with some twists and turns, definitely pick up this book.

*ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Mari.
170 reviews39 followers
July 26, 2014
Visit The Sirenic Codex for more!

So disappointed.

As a huge fan of Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry, I’m always on the lookout for the next best thing. When I saw Before You, I needed to have it. The synopsis was so intriguing and I loved the mysterious pasts and bi-racial relationships. Too bad the excitement waned after the first few pages.

I may have psyched myself out of this one, because there is nothing I can say except I was disappointed. My problem wasn’t with the writing, Ms. Hart is obviously talented, it was with the story, the plot and the characters.

The story is the classical West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, forbidden romance. It’s formulaic but when done right, enjoyable. That wasn’t the case with Before You. The story was lacklustre and obviously formulaic. There were so many plot conveniences that it made the story unrealistic and unrelatable.

There was also a stark resemblance to Perfect Chemistry. They both start with the beginning of senior year and the protagonists are getting dressed for their first day. Faith, like Britanny, is dance captain with a friend who is hellbent on taking her spot. Faith is also queen of her school and is dating the star quarterback and a class -A jerk. But, they are perfect for each other and have been together forever! The similarities were a little too much and they bugged me.

As for the characters, I read up to halfway and I honestly couldn't appreciate them. Faith was unrelatable and frankly, a little pretentious. Her constant comments on her restricted life and messed up past didn't help me connect with her, they just made me see her as ungrateful.

Diego on the other hand, was also a very flat character. He had a bad past with the cartel and was now in America building a new life. From what I read, Diego moved to America for his safety but he didn’t act like someone who wanted to be there. Also his constant comments about the white girls he labeled as sluts were uncalled for. I don’t think all guys think like that and I don’t much like those that do.

Many the side characters like Faith's friend Melissa, her boyfriend Jason, and his mother were completely one dimensional. All Melissa wanted to do was break Faith's relationship with Jason because Faith was "restricting" herself. Jason was the perfect boyfriend until he conveniently turned into an ass after seeing Diego. His sweet Housewives of Orange County mother soon turned into a snake as well. I just could not find one character to help redeem this story, especially when things started going downhill thanks to the instalove.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I couldn’t get into it. There were so many things that bugged me upfront and it’s a shame because when done well these types of books are my favourites. Not this time.
Profile Image for Alannah Clarke.
826 reviews99 followers
June 25, 2014
Not a bad book, I just could not put the book down at all. Amber Hart manages to create brilliant and realistic characters as well tackling as tackling some very tough topics, Hart gave me some information about Cuba and gang life.

Overall, I thought it was a great book overall and I would recommend it to everyone.
Profile Image for Annaiss.
245 reviews
August 28, 2014
La reseña fue originalmente publicada en SMW Book Blog

He estado esperando por Before You desde más de año, desde que una amiga compartió la sinopsis del libro conmigo por Facebook, y desde entonces le he tenido altas expectativas. Expectativas que el libro debut de Amber Hart ha cumplido.

Before You cuenta con Faith Watters como protagonista principal. Faith es la hija del pastor de la cuidad y, por el exterior, es la chica perfecta. Faith es la capitana del equipo de baile, popular, la chica que todos los chicos quieren tener como novia y la chica más envidiada de la escuela. Pero nadie, aparte de su mejor amiga Melissa, conoce la verdadera Faith. La Faith que todos admiran y envidian es una farsa; la Faith real ha cometido errores y ha superado obstáculos de los que nadie conoce, y sobretodo, vive su vida con el fin de mantener la buena reputación de su padre. Sin embargo, todos creen que la falsa Faith es la verdadera Faith, todos menos Diego Alvarez.

“Es curioso como la botella nunca fue tan hermosa hasta que se rompió.”

Diego Alvarez ha dejado atrás a su amada Cuba y ahora vive en los Estados Unidos con su padre. Si por Diego fuera, él aún estaría viviendo en Cuba pero por circunstancias y un pasado oscuro, que le pueden costar la vida, le impiden volver. Cubierto en tatuajes y cicatrices, Diego no encaja en la secundaria. Por su apariencia ruda la mayoría de los estudiantes de Oviedo High School se mantienen alejados de él; todos excepto Faith Watters. La chica que es capaz de ver a través de él.

“Tengo un centenar de emociones, dos remordimientos y dos ojos para ver cero esperanza.”

Before You toca temas difíciles como lo son las drogas, la violencia, la adicción y, sobretodo, el prejuicio, los estereotipos y la diversidad. Pero, para mí, el mensaje principal del libro, y de la historia de Diego y Faith, es que, a pesar de los prejuicios de la gente y sin importar de lo que sea bueno y sea malo, de lo correcto e incorrecto, de lo aceptable e inaceptable, hay que mantenernos fieles a nosotros mismos. Porque en medio de lo que la sociedad dicta, la mayoría de las veces nos perdemos a nosotros mismos tratando de encajar y seguir lo que la sociedad quiere y aclama de nosotros.

“Cuando la ciudad cae en ruinas, ¿recoges los pedazos y la reconstruyes? ¿O lo dejas todo atrás? ¿Te quedas o huyes? ¿Vives o mueres?”

Después de haber terminado de leer Before You, he quedado completamente cautivada por la escritura de Amber Hart. La escritura ha sido realmente maravillosa, las metáforas han hecho que Before You sea un libro, casi, poético y que la historia de amor entre dos personas diversas sea convincente.

“Esperanza de que este mundo va a dejar de ver a la gente en cuanto al color de su piel y el tamaño de sus cheques de pago y empezar a verlos por el tamaño de su corazón y el amor que ofrecen.”

Pero no sólo quedé conquistada por la escritura de Amber Hart, también la historia de Diego y Faith me conquistó desde las primeras líneas y su historia ha resultado ser conmovedora e intensa. Dulce y áspera. Desesperanzadora y esperanzadora. Ha resultado ser la historia entre dos jóvenes de mundos diferentes y cuyo amor demuestra que el amor es suficientemente fuerte para romper los prejuicios y estándares de la sociedad. Pero sobretodo, demuestra que todos somos capaces de volar aún con alas rotas.

Para más reseñas visita SMW Book Blog

Profile Image for Celeste.
690 reviews45 followers
August 13, 2014
loved. full review very soon!

This book was originally reviewed on The Book Hookup.

**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!
Profile Image for Christy.
605 reviews246 followers
March 28, 2015
The Characters: First, I want to talk about Diego. I absolutely LOVED him. He's had a hard life, and he's seen things that no one should ever see, but especially someone his age. He's also survived things that I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't, and while I don't agree with most of the stuff in his past, I can understand why he did them. Everything he done, he done for his family, and I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing in his shoes because I would do anything for mine.

Faith was a little more difficult for me to like. I could understand why she felt that she needed to be the way that she was, but there were times when I got really aggravated with her, especially some of the ways she treated Diego. But in the end, I liked her so much better, and I'm glad that I got to see her grow as a character.

The secondary characters were also really awesome, I adored Faith's best friend, Melissa. She was an amazing friend, she knew exactly how much to push Faith, but she also stayed true to her best friend, and that is really hard to find now days. The rest of the characters, Grace, Diego's father and his cousins, and even Faith's stepmom were all really great and they all added a little something extra to the story.

My Overall Thoughts: Before You surprised me, I pretty much knew going in that I would like it, but I wasn't expecting to be blown away like I was. The characters were amazing and the story flowed perfectly, not once did it feel slow to me.

I loved the whole back story, and like I said above, Diego has been through some pretty rough stuff, but he's came out on the other side, and I could tell from the beginning that he was actually a really nice guy, despite what he tries to portray to the outside world.

Now, that ending. I think the last 10% of the book, I was pretty much on edge, I can't tell you why because I don't want to take away that shock factor, but I think I literally screamed when I got to a certain part in the story. I don't really want to say much on it though because I don't want to ruin anything for anybody, so you'll just have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about.

One Line Wrap Up: An amazing journey about learning to accept yourself as you are, with a side of forbidden romance.

I Would Recommend For Fans Of: Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry series
Profile Image for Missy.
Author 4 books377 followers
December 7, 2015
Loved this story from start to finish! A unique love story, one that captured me from the beginning! After her Mom walked out, Faith tries so hard to be someone she's not to keep from hurting her Dad. I found myself relating to her so much, especially at her age.
Diego's trying to escape from his past in Cuba where he was involved in a gang. He's steamy & tattooed up, but still has a good heart. I loved the occasional use of Spanish and how very different their worlds are.

I definitely recommend to contemporary readers who love a good twist!
Profile Image for Vani.
717 reviews
March 17, 2015
Fue hermoso!! A pesar de que me dio TREMENDO ataque cardíaco en cierto momento jaja
Muy lindo el libro <3
Y Diego también, papi (?) jajaj
August 6, 2014
I've been looking forward to this book ever since I saw that gorgeous cover! The summary reminded me of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, which I love. I had high hope for Before You and while I did really enjoyed the story, the little things that bugged me started adding up. Most of the time I was reading this, I was having deja-vu moments from Perfect Chemistry. But this wasn't my main issue, because books are similar to each other all the time. My biggest issue was with Faith and her actions. I just didn't understand how or why she made some of the choices she did...

Faith is the perfect girl. She helps out with transfer students, she's the pastor's daughter, she dresses nice (like a 80 year old), she's head of the dance team, and she's dating the star football player. Surprise, surprise. But of course, Faith's life isn't as perfect as it seems. She hides behind what everyone expects from her while hiding her own dark secrets. When the new exchange student from Cuba, Diego, starts school, Faith is assigned to show him around school. Diego sees past the facade that Faith puts up for everyone else, and he does everything he can to provoke her because he loves seeing glimpses of the real Faith when she gets fired up.

The chemistry between Faith and Diego was so good! I loved seeing their friendship grow from semi-hatred, to semi-friendship, to full-blown attraction. Diego pushes Faith to start being her real self and she does, with baby steps. More like turtle steps. She dumps her boyfriend, she starts dressing like a normal teenage girl and she starts to give in to her attraction to Diego. And this is where my issues started... Faith knows that her relationship with Diego won't be accepted by her friends or the people at her church. So agrees to start dating Diego in secret. This sounds kind of romantic in a forbidden-love kind of way, but really, I thought it was just stuck up. Faith is fine with making out with Diego, but she can't be seen with him at school. When her friends or her ex start talking about Diego, she goes along with it to 'keep up appearances.' This just really rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't even understand what was the big deal with Diego and Faith being in a relationship??? I mean, we are in 2014 right? At it's not like it was set in a small town where racial prejudice like this still unfortunately exists. This was set in Miami! I'm sure Miami is full of Hispanic/Latino people. I especially didn't understand why the high school kids had such a problem with this. I get that racism still exists, but I just didn't understand why this was such a big deal to Faith...

I was also very annoyed with all the Spanglish. I'm Hispanic, my whole family is Hispanic, I learned to talk Spanish first and then had to learn English, and no one I know talks like that. It's either English or Spanish but not this crazy combo of both. It drove me crazy how Diego and his friends talked. When he said things like he was going to his aunt's casa to eat some comida, it just annoyed me. This was just a personal (and silly) pet peeve of mine. The writing was a little bit awkward at times. The story would be broken up and these really beautiful and poetic sentences would be added, but then it would switch back to the normal story. While those sentences were pretty, they felt very out of place sometimes.
My eyes are thieves, stealing glimpses, storing the evidence in my mind, making me guilty by association.

Even though I could have done without the last 20% of the book (it was a lot of unnecessary drama), and despite my (silly) complaints, I did really enjoy this book. I didn't love it like I was hoping, but the writing and the chemistry was so damn addicting, that I couldn't help but getting sucked into the story and I couldn't stop reading. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series, After Us, because it will feature Faith's best friend Melissa (who I loved!) and Diego's cousin Javier (Who I also really liked).

3.5 out of 5 stars!

Read full review & more of my reviews at Mostly YA Book Obsessed
Profile Image for Genesis Reyes (Whispering Chapters).
913 reviews275 followers
October 22, 2015
I accidentally deleted my review for this book. This review was originally published on Latte Nights Reviews.

You can also click the image below to view my reaction video:

First of all, I’ll start by saying that if you are a Simone Elkeles fan and you love her Perfect Chemistry series, then you will DIG, LOVE, ADORE, ENJOY Before You by Amber Hart! I finished this book while taking a bubble bath and I remember I sent a text to my mom, describing how I was feeling. It was in Spanish because I’m Puerto Rican (born and raised and still living here) so excuse me if my translation isn’t good (I suck at translating): “Second time I cry so much because of a book. It’s so beautiful! It broke my heart in pieces and then in tiny pieces. It tried to glue my heart together and realized the glue wasn’t a good one and so the pieces fell apart, breaking me once again until it finally found the right glue and pieced my heart together and it is so beautiful!”

Very descriptive, you see. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this book. I don’t think I have any complaints. It was hilarious. When I started reading, I couldn’t wipe off the grin on my face; it was like the Cheshire cat! Since I live in a place where Spanish is the first language, I don’t really swoon with books that have guys that speak Spanish; it’s normal for me so I don’t pay much attention to it. With Diego, is another story. I would re-read the phrases and literally swoon. That’s how I know I really liked Diego. He isn’t the bad guy you may think he is when you start reading. He is actually a very decent guy, just with a past that kind of haunts him a little and that’s okay. We all have pasts that we aren’t proud of.

“Mami, why don’t I help you loosen up a little?” Oh Diego, you can loosen me up all you want. Diego is hot…there is no question about that. I love the bad boy image he gives off and I love how he really is a sweetheart at heart.

Faith…where do I start? I don’t get the fuzz about people talking crap about her. They say she is conceited and selfish but…I never caught that in the book; quite the contrary. Faith needed to maintain the image of the perfect Christian, daughter of the Pastor of the church or people would start pointing at her and judging her for having a life. She forced herself out of having fun just so her dad would have a good image, her family wouldn’t be judged. That is NOT something we experience a lot. Yes, Faith had past that takes away the perfect image but nobody knows about that so it’s like the image hasn’t been tainted.

There is dual point of view, alternating with each chapter and I like it because I could read and see things from different sides, different thoughts and it was nice to read it that way.

The story’s last few chapters will break you guys…keep that in mind. The Epilogue will bring you back to life and you will put your torches down and will forget about wanting to do a “friendly” visit to Amber Hart. It is very amazing and loving.

I have to address something that has been bothering me since I read a review on Goodreads. This story has people that dislike Latins. It is a story, just a story. I am pure Latin and I was never bothered by this. Why? Because it is something that happens a lot in United States. There are states that don’t like Latins, it is not something of the 18th century, like someone mentioned. I wanted to clear this up in case someone else thought that this doesn’t happens, the hate Latins get, but it still does.
Profile Image for Michelle.
585 reviews157 followers
September 8, 2014
This quick read boldly written novel, told in alternative first person narratives: "before you" is authored by Amber Hart. This coming of age story is sentimentality combined with the power of young first love, the racial/cultural differences of language, social standing, economic status, and former gang affiliation.

Faith Watter's appeared to be living a great life, she was pretty, popular, and attended Oviedo High, also her minister father's church, with her boyfriend Jason of several years. Jason was unaware of Faith's carefully covered-up truth, relating to maternal abandonment. Only her best friend Melissa knew Faith wasn't as happy she seemed to the outside world.

Faith reluctantly began to question her strong emotional pull towards Diego Alvarez, a new Latino boy at Oviedo High from Cuba. Diego, was secretly enchanted with this white "princess", as they both gradually overcame their attitudes of relating to one another, having reservations about the romantic tension that boiled between them. This was unusual, because Diego was a tough guy, tattooed, scared, former gang member, and never had anything serious with the numerous girls/women he had known/experienced before meeting Faith. Faith had her steady relationship with Jason.

There were many things that seemed clichéd/stereotypical and predictable about this novel. Diego claimed to be a fighter: (saying) "I am a weapon" and: "I am a monster"; certainly the reader realizes that not much good can come from a street wise bad-boy who can kick a** and take names. Diego just didn't seem to fit this image, perhaps if he were older? Diego was also a handsome ladies man, yet when he realized he was "too often" in the same areas/locations as Faith, the other girls he was with/dating "conveniently" faded away. Faith and Jason too casually agree to end their LTR relationship, with Diego waiting in the wings. The serious health scares, hospitalizations, the ending, just didn't seem believable.
The story line was fairly well written and the reader wanted to find out what happened next. The message of true love overcoming obstacles and adversities will always be a popular theme of the Young Adult genre.
With many thanks much appreciation Kensington Publishing Corp. for this ARC, and for sponsoring the Goodreads Giveaways where I won this book. My Rating 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Inah (Fueled By Chapters).
475 reviews115 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
November 1, 2014
*Copy received from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange of honest reviews*

I was really enticed by the cover and the blurb of this book that's why I requested the title on Netgalley. After I finished the other book that I was reading, I immediately jumped onto reading this one because I'm excited to see how the story goes.

The last book I've read with a POC as one of the protagonists was Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry Trilogy and I really loved those books. This book reminded me of Perfect Chemistry but...

I did not, even for a moment, like reading this book. It was just too cliché for me and there were plot conveniences all over. It's like a typical West Side Story. None of the characters appealed to me. If any, I spent more time cringing at their attitudes and personalities.

Also, Diego's character is very unnerving. The guy's a total asshole, to be honest. I thought this book was going to flip off stereotypes but nah, I've noticed a lot. And I really hate stereotyping.

The style of writing is trying too damn hard to be flowery and beautiful that I end up more confused and annoyed than impressed. It also makes the story unrealistic, especially the Insta-love between Faith and Diego. Seriously, I'm only a few pages in and there's already a sexual tension between the two of them? Wow. I mean, that works for some books and can be tolerated, but not in this one. If I actually show you my notes about the book, you'd probably laugh with me.

I love the idea that the book had the concept of cultural diversity, but the idea and presentation of it didn't appeal to me. Upon looking the book up at Goodreads, I've noticed that the book generally had average reviews of 3-4 stars. Readers really have different tastes when it comes to books. This book isn't really just for me.

Conclusion: DNF at 25%

Review also posted at The Bibliophile Confessions
Profile Image for Emma .
2,506 reviews351 followers
August 13, 2014
After one minor wtf moment where my brain was slow to catch the twist - I must be tired :) Before You is a poetic look at cultural stereotyping mixed with a simmering romance.

Before You is another story I can’t help but compare to Perfect Chemistry. The basic elements of the good, caucasian girl with the gang linked latino boy all add up to a compelling storyline.

While the basics are the same I have to say that Before You ups the ante in the level of gang involvement. How in some cases there is no escape, no choice, no way out. The harsh reality of living within this sort of environment makes you open your eyes and appreciate your own life that little bit more.

The characters were engaging adding that extra connection to the plot as a whole. However, I didn’t really understand Faith’s compulsion to experience the negative aspects that lead to her mother’s abandonment. It is this issue that is really the driving force behind Faith’s persona at the start of the book. Both characters have been pigeon-hole into their stereotypes by society around them. The square peg, round hole idiomatic applies. Initially embracing the facades of their stereotypes as a way to hide their true selves not only from the rest of the world but also to some extent from themselves.

Both Faith and Diego recognise this in each other and see through the facade to the heart of the other. Reaching past the surface they compliment each other in a way that makes each of them whole. While, for me, the plot twists were expected, their delivery and execution was well thought out and believable. We all know that lies and secrecy will lead to nothing except heartache.

The narrative had a poetic feel to with deep descriptions evoked within a few words. Something that always make me sit in awe of the author who has the talent to do that.

Amber Hart delivers a poignant and heart-felt romance within the pages of Before You. I, for one am looking forward to seeing what she has in store next.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,269 followers
June 21, 2014
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.)
18-year-old Faith is a pastor’s daughter, but she’s not quite as perfect as people might assume.
18-year-old Diego is from Cuba, and has also made some mistakes in his life.
Will Faith and Diego be a match made in heaven? Or will they be better off apart?

This was an okay story, but something just didn’t sit right with me.

Faith was an okay character, and it was nice that she wasn’t the stereotypical ‘good girl’ that her image suggested. I felt quite sorry for her with regards to the problems she had had following her mother’s departure from her life, but I didn’t expect her to feel the way about Diego that she did.
I felt that Diego’s character was pretty stereotypical Cuban to be honest. He carried a gun, he got in fights, and he was part of a drug cartel. Underneath it all he was nice, but not all Cuban people are like that (involved in drugs etc. I mean). I just felt like maybe this book didn’t show Cuban people in the best light? I don’t know, something just didn’t sit right with me about Diego.

The storyline in this was quite predictable I felt, and strangely enough Faith’s best friend made some predictions at the start of the book which were pretty accurate. There was some romance, and it was supposed to be the main part of the book, but I just didn’t fall for it. Again, it was predictable, and it just didn’t sit right with me, I tried to like it, but I just didn’t feel it. I also didn’t enjoy the number of trips to the hospital there seemed to be in this book.

There was a twist at the end of this story which I really didn’t like. Talk about putting the person you’re supposed to love through absolute hell, and then expecting forgiveness. Things did work out okay in the end, but again, I just didn’t really enjoy this all that much.
Overall; okay story, but something just didn’t sit right with me,
6 out of 10.
Profile Image for Emily.
189 reviews8 followers
May 6, 2016
Before You is the story of Faith, the respectable daughter of a pastor, who doesn’t want to ruin the reputation of her father, and Diego, an ex-drug mule who has come to escape his past.
This story was okay – It was an easy read, and the writing was good, but the story didn’t grip me. I found the main story line predictable, it was the character’s backgrounds that interested me.
Faith was portrayed to be the stereotypical ‘good girl’, a dance captain and dating the star quarterback, but as the book continues we realise she is putting on this image to protect her family’s reputation. Her year abroad was really her getting over a drug addiction.
I felt that Diego’s character was a pretty stereotypical Cuban. He carried a gun, he got into fights, and he was a drugs mule. However, it was obvious he cared for Faith.
What frustrated me most about this book, was the ending. As I said, the main story was predictable, so when an event happened at the end, the twist excited me, as I didn’t foresee it. Then it went back on itself, creating an unrealistic, fan pleaser. I hate fan pleasers.
For this review, and others like it, see: https://tumblingintowonderlandbooks.w...
175 reviews6 followers
July 1, 2014
I loved this book! The alternating perspectives in chapters allows the reader to invest in both characters deeply. The characters are complicated have depth and genuine likable traits that hook the rader from page one until the very last page in the book. Fans of Katie. McGarry's books will love this book! I look forward to more stories in this world and more books from this author! Read it.....you will not be disappointed!
March 8, 2015

I don't remember where I first saw this book but I was really excited to read it.  Before You is the first book in the Before and After series by Amber Hart (see the reading order below).  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed by this book.  There were things that I liked in this book but unfortunately, I disliked more things than I liked.

Before You is told in dual points of view, every chapter alternating back and forth between the hero and heroine's points-of-view. Our heroine is Faith Waters, who is the stereotypical good girl.  Though, her good girl image is just a façade. She desperately tries to hide the real Faith underneath to keep up appearances and to appease her pastor father.  Her mother abandoned her and her father at a young age for drugs, leaving Faith with serious abandonment issues.  These problems led her down the path of alcohol and drugs, but no one knows about this except her family.

My favorite thing about this book was Diego, our hero.  He's the new guy in school and Faith is in charge of showing him around.  But he'd rather just be left alone.  He and his father fled to Florida to escape his dangerous life in Cuba and his ties with the drug cartel.  At first, he is annoyed by Faith and her squeaky clean image.  The more Faith and Diego hang around one another the more they both realize that they're similar.
We're alike, Faith and I. And we are both messed up in different ways.
Different but the same.

Diego and Faith dance around their feelings for one another. When they can no longer deny their feelings, the two start to see one another. But they keep their relationship secret for fear of what people who think of Faith dating a Cuban boy (more on that in a second).

There were a couple scenes that I actually really enjoyed. Those scenes were addictive and drove me to keep reading. However, they were not enough to make me really fall in love with the characters or the book as a whole.  I really liked Diego and the fact that he called Faith, "Mami." That made me want to melt into the floor.

I wanted to really like this book and it sucks that I didn't.  Sometimes I'm in the mood for a young adult read that has a bit of an edge to it. This one seemed promising, but the writing style, the lack of character development and the minuscule relationship development was problematic for me.  I felt like the author was telling me how I should feel and think instead of showing me and making me feel the characters' emotions.  Several times throughout the book, the author would drop these sentences with the narrative that were profound and poetic amidst plain narrative.  For example:
They're worried about mugs hen there are a hundred lights, two fryers, two grills, two flattops? And zero consciousness.
I have a hundred emotions, two regrets, two eyes to see zero hope.
"Seriously?" I ask.
"Yep," she says, grabbing a paper cup for me. "Which one?"

Those snippets felt out of place, like they should have gone in a separate, more introspective part of the narrative.  The characters lacked depth to me and the characteristics they were given seemed cliche.  Diego and Faith's attraction to one another seemed rush. I don't always have a problem with instalust, but for me to believe the attraction I need the author to set the stage and make me feel it.  Here, I didn't really feel a connection between the two of them until later and even then I wasn't fully-invested in their relationship.

I had a hard time believing the reason given as to why Diego and Faith kept their relationship a secret: the color of their skin.  The book takes place in Oviedo, Florida, where some of the population is Hispanic. I didn't find it believable that people in the community would be opposed to an interracial relationship or that this would be a hot topic among Faith's friends and family.  I really needed that the race issue to be fleshed out a bit more to make it believable instead of just telling me that race was an issue and leaving it at that.

You might like this book if you're able to overlook certain things like the race issue and the character development.  Unfortunately, I couldn't.

2 stars

* I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Here's what others are saying about Before You:
Raquel from Bittersweet Book Love — 4 stars
"Before You really is a powerful story with prominent issues at hand; most of all, though, this story is painstakingly real. You’ll laugh, you’ll ache, you’ll cry, you’ll probably get mad, but trust me when I say: it will all be worth it in the end."

Book Angel Emma — 4 stars
Amber Hart delivers a poignant and heart-felt romance within the pages of Before You. I, for one am looking forward to seeing what she has in store next.


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Profile Image for Audrey Graser.
473 reviews27 followers
November 6, 2015
Title: Before You

Author: Amber Hart

Genre: YA/NA Contemporary Romance

Publisher: K-Teen

Length: 320 pages

Original Publishing Date: July 29th, 2014

Series: Before and After #1

Where I got it: Netgalley

Main characters: 3.5/5

Faith starts off as a "good girl"; the preacher's daughter who is so very concerned with appearances and reputation. I personally couldn't relate to her concerns about reputation so much, but the idea that Faith felt that she was trapped in this "fake" life seems like it's a feeling that all of us can relate to at one point or another. I liked that her interactions with Diego changed her and allowed her to see that she didn't have to put on this front. The thing that she made into this big deal actually ended up being her own self standing in her way, which might be realistic for some, but was incredibly frustrating to read.

I liked Diego. Where do I start with him? I guess my negative is that Diego has his own melodramatic train of thought going on, which was shoved down my throat a little too much. He's convinced that he's a "monster". Yeah, whatever. Sure, he's the typical bad boy, but Diego's story reflected a boy who was loyal to his family and just tried to do what was best for them. I liked his prickly side because it made his vulnerable and sweet side even better. However, while I saw Faith grow a lot in their relationship, I don't know if I saw the same amount of growth in Diego. It seems like Faith was the one doing the most self-discovery.

Secondary characters: 3/5

Melissa was the great best friend that I want. She challenged Faith in a lot of different ways. I like how she and Faith offset each other, but still work well. Some parts were a little convenient, like the fact that Melissa was used to lure Faith toward Diego. Faith gets frustrated but just says, "Oh, Melissa wants the best for me". Ok... but I would still be pissed if my best friend tried to break up my relationship.

Faith's family was great to read about. We get a really different idea of them based on what Faith thinks and what they actually do, which I personally can relate to based on my teenage years. I'm sure I portrayed my parents in a negative light sometimes when all they really wanted was what was best.

I wish that we had gotten more in depth glimpses at Javier and the rest of the cousins, as well as Diego's dad. I know we'll be seeing more of Javier in the sequel, but I think learning more about Diego's dad would have given Diego more character depth and background.

Writing style: 4/5

I had a couple problems with the writing style. Like a few other Contemporary Romances that I've read lately, this book sometimes attempts to force emotion down your throat. Instead of showing us things, Hart sometimes tries to tell us instead, without letting us get to know the characters on our own. On top of that, the writing can sometimes sound like a soap-opera. Exhibit #1: "He stares at me with hard eyes, eyes that have seen unspeakable misery." Sorry, what?

But beyond these relatively minor frustrations, I really liked the alternating first person narratives and I liked how short the chapters were. I can sometimes have a short attention span and the quick chapters were just what I needed to stay paying attention the whole time and hooked.

I also really enjoyed the pacing of the novel. Hart wove the plot events together seamlessly and in a way that kept me reading voraciously. The way that she wrote the plot action was short, to-the-point, and packed a punch. Her sentences became shorter and quicker, just like the action.

Finally, the dialogue was realistic and illustrated the personality of the speaker.

Plot: 3.5/5

The first thing that I noticed about the plot was that I loved the setting in Florida and the Cuban immigrant aspect. It's a situation that it very relevant today and very realistic. The same thing with the secrets that both Faith and Diego have- they are very realistic and applicable to today's readers, even if they have never experienced those things themselves.

However, Faith's "big secret" in particular was this big waiting game like, "oh what is it?" and then suddenly (about 1/6 of the way in) we suddenly know what it is in this huge information-dump. I would have preferred the information scattered throughout the story or told up front. The info-dump came in a weird spot and was too much at once.

While I liked the idea of the conflict dealing with Faith and her need to uphold her reputation, I found it to be a little weak. The fact that Faith was letting all of this dictate her life made her seem like a weak character, someone who is a follower to what other people want. And it got to be frustrating to hear her complain about how restricted she was.

For the most part, the storyline itself was pretty predictable, but I felt swept away in their love story, which I think is a combination of the writing and the construction of the plot elements.

Ending: 3/5

Okay, whaaaatttttt?

I think that's all I can say without spoilers. Maybe I should have seen it coming but it took me on a roller-coaster ride. I think I liked it, but it also felt very gimmicky. So, I guess I'm neutral?

Best scene: The one at the beach

Reminded Me Of: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Positives: Realistic and well-developed main characters, most of the writing style and pacing, the secondary characters, the realistic quality of the conflict and characters (I felt like these could be my friends)

Negatives: Some weak conflict, characters who annoyingly trapped themselves into boxes, overdramatic descriptions, the ending,

Cover: I love the font on the cover, but I'm pretty lukewarm about the almost-kiss. It's a theme that I've seen done a lot before and I don't like how they're shadowy and animated looking.

Verdict: The few hiccups didn't stop me from being swept away with this forbidden romance

Rating: 6.8 / 10 (4 stars)

Profile Image for Genesis pimentel.
62 reviews2 followers
December 7, 2014
As Published on : http://sparklingbooks.wordpress.com/

Tittle: Before you (Before and After #1)

Author: Amber Hart
Length: 320 Pages

Publisher: K-Teen ( Kensington Publisher)

Release Date: July 29Th

Gender: Romance, young Adult, contemporary,fiction.

Rating:★★★★ (4 OUT OF 5)

How I got it?: Netgalley

Pre-Order it on:




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

My thoughts:

I kindly received this book for review from Netgalley in exchange for a review and it was amazing

“I want to join the clouds, to bounce on nothingness for one infinite second. I want to be airy and made of fluff. I want to be free to show my emotions. I want a relase, an outlet, a vent. Because even clouds can cry.”

Lets just start off by saying that if you liked the Perfect Chemistry trilogy by Simone Elkeles you will love this like I did. Faith waters is the daughter of the town pastor and as such she has to be perfect, for her dad , her church, her boyfriend since the day her mom decided to leave them and almost wrecked everything her dad had built for them, so she took matters in her own hands and decided that she will never let anyone down and never be abandoned by anyone. Now at 17 she embodies that. perfection. But its all a facade, one that is threatening to crumble down at any moment. especially after she meets, tattoo, cocky Diego Alvarez.

” I have a hundred emotions, two regrets, two eyes to see zero hope”

Diego Alvarez just wants to move on from his past, but he knows that is nearly impossible with MS-13 at his back and the constant fear of being found. but from the moment he sees Faith he dares to hope that life can be more, that they can be more.But is he Willing to exposed her, the girl he should have never noticed but wants anyhow, to his world? Can their love be strong enough to withstand regret, loss, danger, expectations, racism, life?

“I am fire and ice and fuel and water.”

To say that i loved this book is putting it mildly I fell in love with all the characters in this books. I was amazed at Faiths Characters growth from the first chapter to the last one; We had this goody two shoes who deep down had faced and done so many things she regretted, things she never told anyone, except Melissa , and then we have the strong Faith who is fighting for what she wants and who she wants. Then we have Diego, that from day one is secure in himself, I love how though out the books he realized that life could be more and should be more for him.

“She doesn’t have to be that girl anymore.”

Melissa and Javier were the best friends anyone could ask for, strong , lively, funny but most importantly Loyal. Melissa is that friend who you can tell anything at all and still stand next to you, the one who knows you so much that knows how you will react to any situation and wants you to be the best you can be even thought she pushes you too hard. Javier was Loyal, the best cousin and friends Diego could have asked for. He always had his back and it didn’t matter what he was always there. And lets not forget about Grace, she was the most beautiful and most wonderful child ever, Faith’s relationship with Grace was beautiful and it made me want a little sister so bad! In general you felt something from every single character in this story.

“I cannot lose Diego. I finally found a love that ignites every part of me, a love that lives in the soul.”

This book made my heart so happy at moments that couldn’t stop grinning for the most part, but let me tell you there are moments that you will cry and be in shock. Faith’s and Diego’s relationship wasn’t easy, it was complicated and even when they accepted it, it was still a struggle and dangerous. definitely Awesome though. I am so happy I read this book, and I would recommend it to everyone!

“Foe the first time, I truly understand sacrifice”

Also my god, i like to put quotes on my reviews and its fairly simple, most of the time 3-4 quotes stand out to me. Man, was it hard for me to pick quotes, there were so many that i had a hard time picking some!
Profile Image for Holly .
1,348 reviews292 followers
July 28, 2014
*eARC kindly provided by Kensington Books via NetGalley*
*Full review can be found at Part of that World.

What first put this book on my radar was K.A. Tucker telling everyone that they'll want to read it (or something of that variety). I love YA contemporaries, so when I read the synopsis I knew I had to have it. And I was so excited when K-Teen approved my NG request! Also, I adore that cover!

Rating: 4 Stars!

Before You is told in dual, first person POVs. And can I just say how much I love both characters having a perspective? It makes things more real and the characters feel three-dimensional. I really liked Faith's and Diego's POVs, and I thought it was easy to tell them apart. Their voices were distinctive and made it easy to get lost in their story, which I loved!

Faith Watters is living a lie. She wears a mask around everyone because she thinks people won't like the real her. The one who loves life, enjoys dancing at clubs, and dresses how she wants. But she's constantly surrounded by people who expect nothing less than perfection, who expect her to behave a certain way. And it suffocates Faith, makes her feel like she's drowning in a life she doesn't want but can't escape from. She does what she's told and no one suspects a thing. She's good at lying. She's good at pretending. It's better for her this way, to keep people out and not show any weaknesses. If people knew, they'd just exploit them and judge her. But Faith is tired of living this way, tired of constantly being aware of her actions and choices. She only wants to be herself, and with the help of Diego and her best friend, she just might find the confidence she needs to let out the real Faith.

Diego Alvarez is a tatted up bad boy with an edge to him. It's what attracts Faith at first. But underneath his tough exterior is just a guy who wants to survive in a world that he's having a hard time navigating. It's hard for him to let go of his past and move on; it's hard for him to believe in happiness. But he can't stop thinking about Faith, about her goodness and carefree ways. Yet, he knows that underneath is a fierce girl who puts him through his paces. His walls don't stand a chance against her, and it takes him less time than Faith to admit that he wants her. But he also doesn't want to hurt her or put her in the way of a past that's fighting to catch up with him. I think Diego was more complex than Faith, and therefore, more interesting as a character. His need to do the right thing, his love for his family, and his desire to protect Faith lead him to making some tough choices. And I'm glad that they paid off in the end.

I loved their relationship; it was sweet and a little bit steamy! The chemistry between them was there from the start, and the tension was played up nicely. I liked how they both brought out the best in each other, even if it took them a long time (mostly on Faith's part) to admit that they wanted each other. I thought it was believable that they would have hardships because of the fact that they're of a different race, and I felt that the hangups they had were real. Both of them had a hard time letting go of their pasts and showing people their true selves. But with each other, they didn't have to pretend.

The secondary characters were great as well! I loved Melissa, Faith's best friend. She is definitely someone I'd like to know more about because I think there's more to her than we know. I also enjoyed the interactions between Diego and his family, his father and Javier especially. I just wish there'd been more of them. :)

The plot was very fast-paced, and it didn't take me long to finish the book! I liked where the story headed, because I don't know how the author could have ended their story happily without some part of Diego's past showing up. It was a little unbelievable and unrealistic, but I've since learned that it'll be more explained in the sequel. And like I said, I don't know how she could have ended it any differently so Faith and Diego would be able to live happily with each other without looking over their shoulders.

Before You was a sweet, romantic novel about two characters who were going through life like they had no say in who they were as a person. But they ended up finding each other and discovering a love that tests the bounds of family and society. And I can't wait to read Melissa's and Javier's story.
Profile Image for Southern Belle Book Blog.
259 reviews19 followers
August 18, 2014
Amber Hart. You don’t even realize it because we’ve never spoken, but I just went through an entire relationship with you. Ups and downs, falling and hitting hard, convinced I’m breaking up with you, and then suddenly I love you again. Geez, I’m tired just from reading a book, but it was worth it. You’ve officially shot onto my new favorite list.

Okay so super short summary – You’ve got Faith, who lives a lie. She’s fake and only shows the side of herself that she feels the church and community thinks she should be. She has to appear perfect when she’s actually very far from perfection. The things she’s done and the places she’s been haunt her, but it also pushes herself forward. She meets Diego, who also has a past that he’s trying to leave behind. Coming from Cuba and having a rough life before moving to the states, he’s trying to start anew. When the two meet, it’s sparks from the get go. They help one another overcome their demons. They show one another how to look to the future, while also coming to terms with their pasts.

This book grabbed me from the very first page. There’s something always exciting about starting a new book, because you don’t know how the pacing will be, it’s all new, and you’re going in blind. This one started out perfectly, and didn’t stop. The pacing was just right. It never felt like it was dragging, and it kept me excited to read Faith and Diego’s story on every single page. Although you cover a lot of ground with both of their stories and point of views, it all just fit so well together. Hart has a quirky way of writing also, which made it even more fun to read. Dare I say, she even reminds me of a certain author that just released a book this week about an ugly sort of love, with her off the wall descriptions that work beautifully when all laid out. She’s eloquent and so much fun. Where one author may have used a phrase to describe something and you’d “get” it, she takes it above and beyond. You don’t only “get” the picture she’s trying to build, but you feel it, breathe it, and live in it.

I’m in love with these characters. Completely in love. I feel like there could be a never-ending series about these two, and I would never get tired of reading it. They’re broken, but seeing how much they help one another was beautiful. Although their story isn’t necessarily overly realistic, it still feels like it could be. I really felt like I knew the characters. No detail is left untouched, and because of that, you really feel for them individually as well as their relationship. Faith is…bless her heart. She doesn’t want to be who she portrays, and seeing her slowly give up her “fake” life and show her true colors was amazing. And Diego. All he wants is to start fresh and have a full honest life, but his past keeps dragging him down. They’re both so strong and determined, and I love that about them. Together, they’re perfect. The storyline as a whole isn’t all light and fluffy, but it still stays fresh and easy to read.

Also, we all have those moments in certain books that devastate you. Those completely and utterly ruin you, throw your Kindle across the room and don’t regret it, can’t breathe moments. Be ready for 93%. Heart, meet hammer. That’s all I’m saying.

Overall, this book is a roller coaster. It has so many up’s and down’s, but I enjoyed every second of it. The romance between these two characters will have you swooning, but you’ll find yourself so very frustrated that the world can’t just leave them be. It’s an emotional tale that will leave you reeling. It’s sweet, heartbreaking, exciting, and absolutely magical. It’s got a very Romeo & Juliet/Perfect Chemistry feel to it, so if you loved those, then this one is for you. I can’t say it enough – Go grab this one.

<3 Erin
Profile Image for Siiri (Little Pieces of Imagination).
532 reviews107 followers
February 29, 2016
It’s true! I didn’t like Perfect Chemistry that much. Sorry guys! I read it about 2-3 years ago and wasn’t a huge fan. I wish it had had a little more culture in it and was a little less about the HS drama. I read the synopsis for Before You and thought perhaps Perfect Chemistry was just not for me at the time; perhaps I’ll love this book since I love me some star-crossed romances; perhaps I’ll love it and fall in love so madly that I’ll want to re-read PC and love it too. While those things didn’t happen, I’m still glad I read Before You, because now I know that these kind of books just aren’t for me. Period.

"So many firecrackers go off inside me all at once. Because of one smile. He's stealing his way into me and I don't appreciate it. Not one bit."

Um. Ok. So this book has a serious, Sirius case of insta-love going on. Insta-attraction is most definitely there and it quickly develops into insta-love. I mean.. Why is it so hard to find a book with a nice slow-build? Yea, in HS one’s hormones are usually the reason why teenagers’ feelings develop so quickly, but still! I may understand, but it doesn’t mean that I agree, like or enjoy. And in this case, I didn’t even understand. Sorry.

My status update on Goodreads said: “It’s weird, because I don’t really feel the chemistry between them since they haven’t spoken that much and spent so little time together, but are drooling all over each other.” I stand by it. Still. Where in the world did all these feelings come from between the two MCs? They’d seen each other basically 5 times by the time I reached 40% and by then they were so into each other. They knew each other’s expressions, moods, signals. Like, whoa! Come again? *blinks* It was just frustrating, because if the romance had been more developed or slow-burn-ish, I would have maybe, just maybe, found myself enjoying this book more. Also, while Hart has potential to be a great author, I would have liked for a bit more scenery and interaction. The writing was a tad choppy here and there and the dialogue didn’t always sound natural. The potential is there though.

It wasn’t all bad though. It represents difference in YA and I love the different cultural backgrounds even if Diego’s Mexican heritage wasn’t explored that much. I loved the parts where the MCs were away from each other (though that was clearly not the part I should have liked the most since, above all, it’s a contemporary romance novel) and gave us their backstories. I like how we got Faith’s deep dark secret almost right away and didn’t have to build up anticipation and mystery for it. I also kind of adored Faith’s best friend Melissa? While I was reading, I kept thinking to myself that she may start a thing with Javi (Diego’s cousin) and I wouldn’t mind it one bit. (When I reached the end of the novel, there was a sneak peek into the sequel and I was right! *fist pump* Not sure if I’m going to read it though..)

I think this one could appeal to people who loved Perfect Chemistry and people still in HS or younger. Not to say that adults wouldn’t enjoy it! No. I bet there are a ton of adults who will devour this story and want more. It’s just that.. it’s full of HS drama, ista-love (which I was very fond of during my Twilight days, but not anymore) and more up-front dialogue than very in-depth story-writing.

Overall rating: 2.0 out of 5.0

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to K-Teen and Netgalley for the ARC.

More of my reviews can be found on my blog.
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2,435 reviews377 followers
July 27, 2014
Oh it's difficult for me to put my thoughts about this one into words. I liked the book. Portions of it really held my attention, but at other times I found myself almost skimming because things were moving too slowly for my liking. I read it in an evening, though, so kit definitely engaged me to some amount.

On the surface, I liked the characters and the storyline. Faith was strong and relatively likable. She was tired of all the pressure of being perfect, and who can't relate to that on some level? Diego was a bit of a jerk on the surface, but there was more to him underneath. I did enjoy the dynamic between the two. They were both pretty spunky and their banter in the beginning was fun. Yeah, there was a bit of instalove... Ok, it was really more hate to instalove, but still. It worked in this book, somehow. Faith and Diego had chemistry. It was apparent from their first meeting. They were from two different worlds, but each holding a secret that definitely impacted the way they behaved in present day. The big secrets were revealed pretty early on in the book and I found Faith's far more believable than Diego's. The romance between them was good and passionate. I really liked them together and, overall, thought they were good for each other, even if others had a difficult time seeing it because of their differences. Faith helped him realize there are people worth fighting for and Diego helped pull her out of her shell so she could find herself again.

I felt like the race relations and impact on the characters in the book were portrayed pretty realistically, for the most part. It's 2014 and people are more open-minded, but that doesn't always mean interracial relationships are always accepted. Diego's current struggles felt very real, even if some of his backstory was a bit far-fetched for me. While I'll admit I didn't love the characters in the beginning, I grew to love them as I watched them face their pasts and struggle to make a better future for themselves and each other. There was a moment towards the end I was pretty sure I was going to have to throw this book out the window out of sheer frustration and disappointment, but it turned around quickly. Thank goodness. Because if it had gone THERE, I would have been one seriously angry person. So it is safe to say I connected with the story and the characters on some level if I was that distraught and emotional.

Yes, this book had flaws, but so did the characters. We all do. The book was a little too prose-y for me at times and the dialogue made me roll my eyes at times because I couldn't possibly imagine kids their age speaking that way. But all in all, it was a good book. It kept me guessing as to what would happen next. Because of the star-crossed lovers vibe it was giving off, I was unable to ever get truly comfortable and confident these characters would find a happily ever after. Faith and Diego's story might be over for now, but I'm very much looking forward to reading the sequel, After Us. I need to know more about Melissa and Javier's story!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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