My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads: Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.
My take: I would suggest reading this book twice. It is written in lyrical verse, similar to Ellen Hopkins style of writing. It can be read in a relatively short amount of time. The first reading would be to gather the pieces that tell the story. The second time watch for foreshadowing and symbolism.
The Day Before is about two teens whose life lives will change irrevocably tomorrow. Both have watched over the previous couple of years as situations have developed and the crisis has hit the critical mark. Tomorrow is the day that changes the rest of their lives.
First of all, I want to clarify that this is not a book about suicide. I read the first portion of the book with dread until I realized it is ultimately about coping with life. Given, most people will not be faced with the challenges Amber and Cade face in this book, but all members of the human race ultimately grapple with the feelings they have. All people will eventually suffer in one way or another due to circumstances they did not create nor can they control. How will we handle that?
I loved the setting. The story takes place on the Oregon Coast where Cade and Amber go to Mo's and get the best clam chowder in the country. I know because I've had it. They debate whether to visit Otter Crest or the Lighthouse. They chose the lighthouse but Otter Crest happens to be one of my favorite places.
I would love to see this book used in classrooms. I can see endless possibilities for discussion points, essays, and learning experiences. I'm going to go ahead and free associate. Perhaps I'll think of something coherent while I do so. There are also questions I would love to ask the author about the symbolism.
1. Amber feels an affinity to the crashing waves and the crying gulls. She is feeling her grief acutely on this day. Feeling pounded and wanting to cry. She is feeling powerless and angry.
2. The sea animals are used to explore different parts of Cade and Amber. What are the sea animals used and what do they represent?
- Jellyfish - vulnerable
- Shark - powerful, confident, respected, but perhaps falsely so. He's still in a tank.
- Otter - playful, carefree.
- Starfish -
- Lobster, crab and other animals with a carapace or hard case made of bone or chitin that covers part of the body of an animal. Protected.
Cade's dog's name is Boo which represents a ghost or feeling haunted.
Amber's cat's name is Tiny which represents a feeling of helplessness, although the name is ironic for the large cat.
Amber will be going from the coast of Oregon and salt water to a place called Sweetwater, Texas. Is this significant?
What is the significance of the kite? The glitter? Drums? Drumsticks? Sandcastle? The penny? Treasure?
If I were running a high school book club, I might ask the students to apply some of the lessons learned to a current or past situation where they felt like victims of circumstance. I might use these questions as either discussion points or essay topics:
Amber and Cade use a penny to decide many of their decisions during the day. Cade stops Amber before making a big decision and tells her that we can't leave some decisions up to chance. This indicates that Amber does have some control/power. How do have some control over your situation?
In the restaurant both Amber and Cade perform solo acts. Do they feel alone when they are doing their solos? Who do you have in the audience giving you support?
What part does hope play?
At one point Amber and Cade discuss chance vs. Divine Intervention. Is it chance or does God know what he's doing?
Amber remembers a moment when her father told her that feelings are temporary. Recall a time when you felt like your feeling about something would never change but they have.
Imagine how you might feel about your situation in 3 months. 6 months. A year. 5 years.
Cade tells Amber that fear is normal. Just don't let it win. What does he mean by that?
What is the purpose of a lighthouse? How is this significant? Do you have a lighthouse? Who/what is it and why.
I am finished pontificating. Bottom line is that I believe this book has great potential for teens in crisis. I would love to see it used in schools.
Thanks to the illustrious Dawn at Simon & Schuster, I get to offer a Lisa Schroeder COLLECTION. Signed! Did you read my review? Did you get the idea that I might be an educator? Do you picture me with a red pencil behind my ear? Well don't. I am a school counselor which means I NURTURE.
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