Bright Before Sunlight by Tiffany Schmidt is an insightful and at times amusing look into the teenage, angst filled lives of Brighton, the over-achieving, popular, prom queen of the rich school, and Jonah, the reclusive, sulky new kid from the wrong side of the tracks. These two characters are thrown together for one night and the book follows them, alternating character perspective, for the next twelve hours. These hours are filled with many different emotions and much soul searching and self-reflection, which not only help the reader understand them as individuals, but help their relationship evolve from mutual dislike to something much different.
Even though Bright Before Sunrise seems like an emotional roller coaster at times, it still comes off as a light-hearted, young adult novel. Schmidt does an excellent job writing teenage dialogue, emotions and getting you to feel, not only the angst, but the romance that the teenage years can be full of. While this is somewhat of a romance, the only thing that I felt was a drawback was the fact that the romance seemed rushed and a result of heightened emotions from other events going on–probably because the entire book takes place in twelve hours. This made the end result somewhat unfulfilling, and left me, as the reader, questioning what I had learned about the characters throughout the rest of the book. However, this book is a quick, fun read for older, young adults.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Profanity/Language: 12 religious exclamations; 43 mild obscenities; 5 scatological words; 13 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: Character bloodies toes on sidewalk; boy grabs girl by arm and threatens her; teenagers blow up a mailbox as a prank; reference to having done graffiti; vandalism done to car windshield; character bloodies hand playing catch.
Sex/Nudity: Talk about making out in the back of a car; several accounts of referring to someone as sexy; discussion between characters on how to act to attract a guy; talk about purchasing condoms and needing them; several mentions having in the past or wanting to ‘hook up’ or sleep together; a few accounts of boy wondering what kind of undergarments a girl is wearing; boy takes off shirt in a non-seductive, but wanting to impress the girl, way; many accounts of checking out the physique of the character of opposite gender; 3 page description of characters passionately kissing; allusion to teen parenthood.
Mature Subject Matter:
Divorce, marriage infidelity, death of parent.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Reference to someone being a stoner; 8 accounts of underage drinking; detailed description of party serving alcohol; one character spikes the drink of someone that doesn’t want to drink alcohol; one account of someone smoking; 3 accounts of someone being drunk; one mention of a Nyquil shooter.