Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
The dynamic duo Julie Cross and Mark Perini have done it again! I was a big fan of their first novel, Halfway Perfect, before it even hit the shelves and thrilled when I learned that they were working on a companion novel. Halfway Perfect is one of those stories that not only has fantastic main characters, but also secondary characters that you wonder about in the back of your mind and find yourself creating stories about them in your own mind. Luckily, Julie and Mark must of had the same idea because they wrote a book around Finley, who you meet briefly in Halfway Perfect.
You Before Anyone Else takes place in the same modeling world as its companion novel. We get to revisit old friends and make some new ones, including charming and mysterious, Eddie Wells. I knew he must have had a heavy weight on his shoulders from the moment he was introduced on the page, but I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. I enjoyed that though and found myself getting caught up in the playful relationship between him and Finley that I forgot about what he could possibly be hiding. And when those secrets become uncovered, I found myself fully invested in how it would play a part in their new, budding relationship.
Finley carries her own weight on her shoulders and with “good girl” stamped across her forehead, she thinks getting involved with Eddie will help land her the modeling gigs she’s been trying for so long to book. However, it turns out getting involved with Eddie helps bring out the girl she’s been so desperate to hide. Eddie and Finley, two young adults living in NYC, both with weights bigger than themselves eating away at them. And if I have to be honest, I don’t give Eddie all the credit for Finley finding herself once again. He played a part in it, but Finley, the strong and independent girl that she is, only needed the extra nudge to get back to herself.
What I liked…
The dual POVs that the story is written in will always be one of my favorite features. I love any story that allows an inside look at both main characters. I feel as if I personally know them and that I am having a conversation with each of them, learning about who they are and getting an inside look at their inner-most thoughts.
Finley’s dad and the relationship that they share. What an awesome dad! It’s so obvious his love for his daughter, but it is also obvious how he encourages her to make her own choices and to live her own life, all while making sure she knows he is there and she can always talk to him.
Finley’s crazy, yet fun (to me) apartment lifestyle. There is such an array of characters living in one apartment in the modeling world, Finley’s especially. I particularly loved French Mama with her motherly touch and oh so critical facial expressions that even through the written descriptions of them, I could picture perfectly. Also, I wouldn’t mind French Mama cooking/baking for me.
You could feel Finley and Eddie’s personal weights as you got to know them individually, but as they grew closer and more involved, it felt as if they helped balance each other out and brought the best out of one another. I loved seeing their relationship grow and develop despite the challenges, Eddie’s especially, that tried to get in-between them. Eddie’s selflessness is by far one of my favorite characteristics of him.
Perhaps it has to do with how awesome Julie and Mark are as people, but they are able to create the most realistic and interesting characters that I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. I truly hope they continue writing together and creating the stories in which I grown to love so much.