Before You is the first book in the Before & After series by Amber Hart. It is another Romeo/Juliet type of retelling with the “good girl” and the “bad boy” from the wrong side of the tracks. I was hooked from the beginning as Faith and Diego started to fall for each other but my dedication to their characters and romance did admittedly waver by the end.
Faith is your typical good girl. She is the daughter of a pastor and she has made mistakes in the past so she is trying to make up for them now. Diego is your typical bad boy. He’s a Cuban immigrant who has a history being a gang member. On the surface, they are two characters who are not supposed to be together. And of course, that is what draws them closer together!
I initially really enjoyed the banter between Faith and Diego. They each brought a spark out in the other that wasn’t seen really seen around anyone else. Even their respective best friends, Melissa and Javier, can see what they are refusing to admit to each other. I think I would have enjoyed Before You more if the focus had remained on the developing relationship between Faith and Diego. Unfortunately, things turned in to more of a focus of gang violence which didn’t fully mesh with the tone of the beginning.
The ending of Before You was filled with a couple of twists that left my heart in my stomach. Thankfully everything was properly resolved but, for a while there it was in dangerous territory for me. Other readers may enjoy the twists and turns better than me though – this was an easy book to get invested in!
Rating: 3.5 Stars