This book has 400 pages.
It is a YA / New Adult Romance Comtemporary novel.
This was an e-book edition that I received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published by Sourcebooks Fire.
The language I read it in was English.
It received 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.

Everything she wants. Everything he needs.

The supportive friend, the reliable daughter, the doting big-sister: Finley is used to being the glue that holds everyone together. But while her sweet demeanor makes her the perfect confidant, her wholesome look isn’t landing her the high paying modeling jobs, which are what Finley needs if she is going to reopen her mother’s dance studio.

Enter Eddie. He’s intense and driven, not to mention the life of every party, and he completely charms Finley. The last thing she wants is another commitment to stand in the way of her dreams, but when she’s with Eddie, their chemistry takes over and she can let go of her responsibilities and just be. After all, what’s so wrong about putting herself first once and a while?

Except Eddie is hiding a secret. A big secret. And when it surfaces, he and Finley are going to have to choose between their love for each other and everything else… (Goodreads)


The first sentence of the novel didn’t catch my attention at first, it seemed random. Once the story progresses and more details about the character’s lives are shared, this first sentence starts to make more sense, but not before that. The first scene creates a feel of uneasiness that the reader gets to experience in the perspective of Eddie.

I have to admit that it took me around one fifth of the novel to finally get into it to a point where I didn’t want to put it down anymore. At this point the characters really started to grow on me, they started to feel real. I believe this was when the reader was first introduced to Finley’s family. This shows that bringing a character’s family into the mix to give insight to their home and what makes them who they are does a lot for a novel.

The Characters

As I said earlier, at a certain point the characters started to feel real. This at first happened with Finley. She is a very likable character. Fin is strong and independent, very aware of her body and feeling perfectly fine with herself. This is also being emphasized by Eddie, who says this about her.

See, that’s what I love about her, none of that don’t look at me, I’m slightly imperfect shit.

Her confidence is inspiring and makes her an even more interesting character and more believable as a model. The reader does get to see her more darker moments and what makes her who she is, but at all times is she keeping her grace. Although the reader gets a sense for her family and how important they are for her, it doesn’t seem as if she has a lot of friends. Most of the time that we spend with her is either devoted to her family, Eddie or her dreams and worries, or the jobs she does. On the one hand this is great since it makes her character not feel flat and one-sided, but on the other hand the friendships she has with her roommates seems a little too artificial.

Right from the beginning, Eddie is the cool guy with wild, dark curly hair. It is his defining feature at the start of the novel. As the story progressed, more and more details came out about him and his background. Just like Finley, he did have worries, about even more things than she did. He is driven by one sole ambition and it makes his character the way he is. A big part of Eddie are his feelings for Finley that started very early on in the book.  They both are acting flirty with each other and since we can acknowledge that it certainly wasn’t any insta-love, it felt natural. In contrary to Fin, the emphasis on his (former) friends is bigger and more detailed. In a way, he is just as likable as Fin as both have their problems to overcome.

Now, something that didn’t quite fit for me in this whole story was their age and certain aspects of the story. Both characters are only 18. For around the first third of the book I was wondering about their age when finally someone in the novel said it. Their actions and emotions are mature in a way that I don’t think most 18-year-olds would behave or feel. In my opinion, this book would have been more believable if the characters had been in their early 20s. They easily could have been, without the story losing too much of its energy. Additionally, this may be a YA novel, but there were parts of the story that would have qualified it easily for a New Adult story.


At first, the plot was going in a very clear direction. As more and more secrets came out, it ended up being a bit confusing. Only a small portion of what ended up happening in the end was predictable, since the story kept playing with all possibilities to keep it vague. As I already stated, both characters had their own problems to solve, in a way where they were still being independent from each other but on the other hand were supporting each other dearly. At the end, I felt as if the solution to their problems wasn’t built up enough. It felt too lucky to be the actual outcome. But who knows? Sometimes people do get lucky. Even though a lot of tension was built up during the conflict Eddie had to face, the conclusion for it was not as reasonable as it could have been. This was also due to the fact that the novel kept repeating what the ideal outcome would be. Overall, the plot moved fast enough to keep my attention closely. I wouldn’t say at all times, but certainly during the later half of the book.


The writing was indeed very contemporary. Mentions of Facebook and Instagram, text messages with typical abbreviations did make this novel interesting to me, as it showed that the authors took time to create the environment of young adult models. The reader switched between the POV of Eddie and Finley, creating different perspectives of different situations to further the story. At certain points their views weren’t from different situations, but from different aspects of the same situation. In general, the writing was kept light-hearted and modern.

Favorite Quotes

And the world becomes this kiss, and this kiss becomes two kisses and then three.

The number of stairs between her floor and mine: 82
The number of jobs I’ve done without her: 9
The number of times I’ve “bumped” into her: 7
The number of times that was accidental: 1

Recommended for

► everyone 15+. Although this does fall into a YA genre, it also shows parts of the New Adult genre. Certain things are perhaps not deemed suitable for readers under that age, even though the scenes are kept quite vague.

► everyone looking for a lovely romance and is willing to invest their feelings in the problems they face.


As you can already tell from my rating, this novel deservedly gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me. I loved so many aspects about it. The characters were amazing and teamed up even more lovable. It dealt with sexuality and drugs in a very mature way, in which no shame was involved. The story and its mysteries were keeping me at the edge of my seat to finally be found out. And it was descriptive yet modern in a way that it is very well suitable for readers my age. A lovely romance, setting you up for a variety of feelings.


One thought on “You Before Anyone Else – Julie Cross & Mark Perini

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