is like the best
of both kinds
I want to cherish
each moment and yet,
I've got to know
that this character
will be okay
when this story
Sixteen year old Amber is about to have her life thrown into complete chaos. But before that officially happens, she takes a day off from her life, slips out of her house and takes a limo to the town of Newport. She brings her iPod, her phone, her drumsticks and her jelly beans. Amber's plan is to spend time at the beach, her favourite place to de-stress. Instead, her plans get altered when she meets a beautiful boy named Cade, at the aquarium. They seem to have an immediate connection through their love of movies, music and Amber also recognizes that like her, this boy is also going through some kind of life-altering experience.
Through the equisite poetry of Lisa Schroeder we follow Amber and Cade as they spend the next twenty-four hours together. They flip a "lucky penny" to determine where they will go and what they will do. Along the way they get up the courage to tell one another about what is happening in their lives and offer each other respect, love and hope. Amber knows that Cade is troubled and she genuinely wants to help him. In many ways, Cade and Amber's relationship in The Day Before is a truly poignant story, which leaves the reader with a sense of many possibilities to be discovered.
However, while I really enjoyed this book, in particular the poetry and the blossoming relationship between Cade and Amber, what I disliked strongly was the underlying premise the author used to set up Amber's trip. It was overly melodramatic and in my opinion, utterly unrealistic.
We learn that Amber was switched at birth. Her birth parents go to court to obtain custody of her and are partially successful when the judge awards shared custody. This means that Amber will spend six months with the family who raised her for the past 16 years and six months with her biological family. Based on my personal experience and my knowledge of family law, I cannot believe that any court would grant such an order involving a 15 year old girl, without her consent or any consideration of her feelings or the impact on her life. Generally speaking courts do listen carefully to the wishes of children over the age of twelve, and especially so to an older teen. Is there actually a precedence in family law in the United States for this situation? How would such a ridiculous ruling affect this young girl's education? How could Amber possibly maintain any continuity in her education? In my opinion, because of this, The Day Before, is fatally flawed. Schroeder could have retained much of the drama of the situation simply by having Amber leave for a day to in an attempt to come to terms with the knowledge that she was switched at birth and has been raised by people who are not her biological parents.
If you don't mind the ridiculous premise behind Amber's situation, ignore it and read The Day Before, enjoying the lyrical poetry and the sweet relationship between two intelligent, caring teens.
In the video below, Lisa Schroeder discusses how she puts a little bit of herself into each of her novels:
If you'd like to see what other books Lisa Schroeder has written, check out her colourful website at LisaSchroederbooks.com
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
New York: Simon Pulse 2011