Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 28, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.
The day before her life will change forever, Amber decides to run away and spend the time alone, not thinking about anything more than the moment. Not long after she arrives at the beach, she meets Cade, a boy who’s come there for the same reason – he has his own life-altering path to take the next day and he’d like to spend this day just pretending nothing else exists. The two spend the entire day together at the beach, discovering how many things they have in common and as they gradually reveal their secrets to each other, falling in love.
I found myself really struggling to get through this despite its remarkably short length. The entire book is written in free-form verse style, interspersed with short letters to and from Amber. I was reading this on my Nook and with each double-spaced short line taking up an average of half of the screen – there were 320 total pages – I was able to read this in about an hour or so. It may be physically easier to read in paperback form because you won’t be flipping pages so often, but that’s only one of the problems I had.
I don’t have anything against stories told in verse form. I think when written well they can be emotionally stirring, evocative and memorable. I give credit to the author for trying to tell her stories in such a unique way (her three earlier books, Far From You, Chasing Brooklyn, and I Heart You, You Haunt Me are also told in verse) and there’s a dreamy disconnected feeling to this that seems to suit Amber’s mood. That disconnect extends to the story though – the verse isn’t linear long enough to ever delve that deeply into anything. Rather than feeling like a strong, brave way to tell the story, the use of verse felt more like a way to write the story without having to do the dirty work of going all the way to the bones of the characters.
At this point it’s probably a bit like piling on, but while I really was irritated with the style of writing and was thinking often that I’d wished the author would have taken some time and written this like a novel, I probably still wouldn’t have loved it although I’d have had less to gripe about. Amber’s situation that she was running from was one of those “ripped from the headlines” type. You’d think that would be enough for one story but Cade’s was one suitable for a made for television movie. Toss in their insta-love, a romantic day at the beach, constant lyric and movie references and comparisons to their situations – are you imagining a soundtrack yet? I love happily-ever-afters and romance but this was over the top even for me. What teenage guy in 2011 knows about the scenes from a John Cusak movie from the 80’s that I’m pretty sure isn’t a cult classic?
My Summary: This book was fraught with problems for me from its style to the overabundance of drama in a relatively shallow story. I kept seeing flashes of good things that made me wish for more – a lovely turn of phrase, a hint of a story twist – but then I’d turn the page and it would vanish. At the end, this felt more like the outline of a script for an ABC Family movie of the week than a book.
My Rating: D+