You Before Anyone Else – Julie Cross and Mark Perini – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 2 August 2016
Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her “good girl” persona, so she’ll try Eddie on for size.
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.
Consider this a standing ovation. This book was a million times better than I expected. I fell totally in love with the story, with the romance, with all of the characters, but most especially with Eddie and Finley.
Okay, so there is the summary for this book and then there is what I consider to be a whole story underneath that. In the book’s summary, Finley is a model who is trying to break out of her ‘good girl’ shell. And yes, that’s true, but Finley is also the girl who loves and supports her family and who is using modelling to fund her dreams. Eddie is, at the start, portrayed as the ‘bad boy’ with plenty of deep, dark secrets. And yes, Eddie has a shady past and plenty of secrets, but he is one of the most genuine, caring male protagonists I have read. It is hard to say more without giving anything away, and I think it is better to know less about this story, but please don’t take the summary at face value. There is so much more to this story.
While I liked Halfway Perfect, it is nowhere close to how much I enjoyed reading You Before Anyone Else. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I love Finley and Eddie’s interactions. Their light, teasing banter, the deeper, halting conversations as they slowly get to know each other and begin to trust each other enough to share their secrets, and the fiery passion that sparks between them and is so hard for them to ignore.
Eddie is charming and sweet, funny and is so good with Fin’s two young brothers. Swoon. But while his secrets are pretty big reveals and there are many consequences to work out, I loved how he and Finley work things out together.
Family plays a huge part in this book. While Halfway Perfect took an exposed look at the world of modelling, this is a book about family, romance and finding that thing that makes you who you are, with modelling and New York as the perfect backdrop to that story.
I’m pushing this into the mature end of young adult fiction, even new adult, because of the content but more because of the characters’ mind sets and stages in life. That said, it is one of the best new adult books I’ve read – sensual without unnecessary details, and the perfect balance between romance and self-discovery and considering future life choices.
The alternating chapters flow together seamlessly, but provide a difference in voice between Finley and Eddie. I love Julie Cross and Mark Perini’s pairing as authors and can’t wait to read what they produce next.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Modelling, family, romance, college, self-discovery, relationships, sex and dating, siblings, fathers.
Reading age guide: Ages 15 and up.
Advisory: Implied sex scenes, sexual references. Coarse language, f***, s***, dou***. Drug and alcohol use and references.
Published: 2 August 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 400 pages.