Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher
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.
Bright Before Sunrise was a lovely surprise, firstly because it arrived unannounced and surprise book mail is one of my favourite things, and secondly because it was a really enjoyable read. Have you ever had one of those nights where you meet someone, or find someone you know in a different context to normal, and stay up all night talking about everything and nothing? Those nights can change the course of your life. Bright Before Sunrise beautifully captures one of those nights.
The story is told from Jonah and Brighton's alternating viewpoints. Jonah is still resentful of his mother's new husband and his forced move from Hamilton to the much posher Cross Pointe. He hasn't made an effort to fit in. What's the point with less than a year of school to go? All he wants is to finish high school and get out of home.
Brighton is popular and pretty and an over achiever. With only a few weeks left of school she's on track to equal her late father's record of having 100% of the student body volunteer at some point during the year, but Jonah has rejected every advance she's made and until he agrees to come along and help, she's stuck. 99% isn't good enough for Brighton, only 100% will do. With her father's memorial the next day, Brighton is already pretty stressed out. Jonah's refusal to help out takes her beyond frustration into rage, and she's determined to find out what makes him tick so that she can convince him to help.
All of the action in Bright Before Sunrise takes place in one day (and night). Jonah and Brighton are thrown together when Brighton ends up babysitting Jonah's baby sister and through the events that follow, their mutual disregard becomes something else all together.
Jonah discovers the Cross Pointe might have more to offer than he thought, and Brighton discovers that it's ok to not be perfect some of the time. They don't only discover each other, they discover themselves.
The chapter titles all feature a countdown, which I can understand from Brighton's viewpoint, but I was a bit confused about what exactly Jonah was counting down to.
Bright Before Sunrise is a sweet and charming story that would make a fabulous film.