DNF Review: Before You

Author: Amber Hart
Date of Publication: July 29, 2014
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley - Thank you!

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.


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.



  1. It doesn't seem all that remarkable, to be honest. If you're going to write something that would sound too much of another book by a brilliant author, make sure yours is better. Otherwise, all you'll be known for would be a copy cat. Sigh.

    1. I'm sure Ms.Hart meant to make this her own and I know that the plot does differ but the resemblance was there.


  2. The summary just reminds me of so many other books that I really never felt the need to pick this one up. Other than an intriguing cover this book doesn't seem like it has much going for it. I'll pass.

    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms.

  3. Oh no! I loved the cover and synopsis when I first saw this book, but now I'm not interested!
    Too bad you didn't liked it.
    Thanks for the review!
    Lis @ The reader lines

    1. Me too, I was waiting and hoping to be approved for it. I guess there is always next time.


  4. when i saw the cover of this, i was like "Woah! I think I'm going to enjoy that." And then I read your review. I too enjoyed Perfect Chemistry and the things you said bothered you will most likely bother me too, especially faith's constant complaining about her situation. I can't stand characters that constantly complained about their parents, life, situation--they're so annoying.

    1. It's really to bad. Faith was really unrelateable for me, the more she explained why she was miserable the farther I went from her.



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