Faith and Diego are from completely different worlds. Faith is the all-American princess; dance captain; student helper and daughter of the local pastor. She is considered to be one of the good girls; the girl who won’t let you down. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Underneath the long skirts and good deeds lies Faith’s deepest darkest secret; a secret she cannot let anyone know otherwise her world will come crumbling down around her.
Tattooed and buff, Diego is the living perception of a gang member. He has, however, left his gang lifestyle both in Cuba (where he is originally from) and in his past. The past has a funny way of creeping up on you though and whilst he battles everyday with trying to make a life for himself in America he is also battling with a local gang who are trying to recruit him as a member. Throughout all of this he is haunted by the memory of what happened to him and his family in Cuba and what made him and his father run away to America to begin with.
Beside their social differences both Diego and Faith have more in common than they originally thought and it is no surprise that they are attracted to each other. Can they be together or will their differences drive them apart?
Before You is a classic Romeo and Juliet-esque romance; the two young lovers torn apart by outside influences. You could dismiss this book and say that you have read it all before but you would be foolish to do so.
The reason that Before You is so different from all the rest is due to the verisimilitude of the storyline. Gang culture is a fervent issue in America – especially among American youths – so the setting instantly draws you in. The storyline being set among high school students reminds you how difficult being young and in love can be, the pressures that you face – from your peers, teachers and parents – add on to that the instability of knowing who you are or who you are meant to be just adds another layer of intrigue to this story.
Besides all that, you really root for these characters to make it. There are some truly heart-stopping moments in this novel and Hart really manages to toy with your emotions but that is what makes it great.
I loved Before You. It is a good (an at times heartbreaking) novel of the power of love. You should read it and if you don’t…well more fool you.
Before You by Amber Hart is available from July 29th 2014