Bright Before Sunrise
by Tiffany Schmidt
Published February 2014
When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him.
For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.
Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?
One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself
Summary and photo from Goodreads.com
SCHOOL IS ALMOST OUT FOR A LOT OF YOU HIGH SCHOOLERS! You know what is the perfect thing to do? Read Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt. Why this one specifically? It takes place one night 17 days (I think) before the last day of school. It’s told from the perspective of Brighton, who is popular, pretty, a people pleaser, and volunteer-a-holic, and Jonah, a new kid in school, angry, frustrated at life, and outsider. I will be honest, at first I wasn’t so sure about the characters. They both were on the surface seemingly ordinary, but had secret layers no one knew about. I was worried that this would end up being a feel good, campy story where the Miss Perfect Character meets the Mr. Nobody Character and they live happily ever after, but this was wayyyyy more than that. I though Schmidt did a really good job of not just peg holing Jonah, Brighton, and the supporting characters, but instead developed real characters with all of their own positives and negatives. I especially enjoyed Brighton’s story line with her dad.
I also loved that it took place in one night, and it felt like both of the characters were on the cusp of a greater change not only in their understandings of each other, but also their place in life and themselves. I’ve had plenty of magical nights not quite like this one, but where it felt like my entire world shifted. Sometimes in the morning it had. Sometimes in the morning I’d find it hadn’t. This book however is just filled with possibility and beauty and I am getting kind of sappy right now, but I can’t help it.
I think one of the reasons why I liked this story is because I felt like it so easily echoed the thoughts and feelings of my own heart, while still maintaining the unique perspectives of the characters. I noticed this especially with Jonah’s relationship with his mother and step father. You definitely see these characters through HIS eyes, and not how they might actually appear to be on a third party onlooker. I loved that this was subtly done, yet also a little noticeable just because it was done well.
If you want more books that take place in one night check out…
I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan (I haven’t read this one but it has a lot of praise!)
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (I have read this one and I say READ IT)
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (I haven’t read this, but it’s Cohn and Levithan writing so that’s reason enough)
Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Do you have any suggestions?
And of course, as always: Add Bright Before Sunrise to your to reads shelf on Goodreads.com!