Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Review of Suzy Vitello's One Moment Before

Suzy Vitello’s The Moment Before is another YA for me.  In recent times, I have read YA’s from C. Lee McKenzie (3) and Hannah Jayne.  I have also read a middle grade fantasy from Alina Sayre.  I have liked them all.  Am I trying to regain my youth? – too late.  Am I trying to run away from the realities of the adult world? – Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that, but, no (at least I don’t think so).  I think it’s no more complicated than opportunity.  I ran into Lee at a Los Gatos Library function and met Alina at Village House of Books.  Hannah I knew from her appearances for the Underworld Detection Agency.

How did the current opportunity arise?  Well, Suzy lives in Portland, OR.  She was visiting a friend in Los Gatos, who recommended that she do a book signing at Village House of Books.  I came in to meet her, bought a book and had it signed, and then decided to read it.  There you have it.  I have become a YA (and MG) magnet.  It’s the equivalent of the Fountain of Youth for an old guy.

Did Suzy’s book measure up to the others?  You bet.  You want a synopsis?  Of course you do.  And nobody does it better than Goodreads:

"Don't get me wrong. I loved my sister. I never, not once, wished her dead."
Brady and Sabine Wilson are sisters born eleven months apart, but they couldn't be more different. Popular Sabine, the head cheerleader dating the high school hunk, seems to have all the luck, while her younger, artsy sister "Brady Brooder" is a loner who prefers the sidelines to the limelight.
After Sabine dies in a horrific cheerleading accident, grief unravels Brady and her family. Once recognized for her artistic talent, 17-year-old Brady finds herself questioning the value of everything she once held dear. Her best friend betrays her. Her parents' marriage is crumbling. And the boy everyone blames for the accident seems to be her only ally in the search for answers in the wake of her sister's death. As an unlikely friendship emerges, Brady learns more about Sabine - and love - than she bargained for.

Do all YA’s have a family member die?  It kind of seems like it.  And this is not your garden variety of death either.  A cheerleading accident?  Ouch. 

What did I like about this one?  Just about everything.  For example:

  1. Suzy writes beautifully.    She has many fairly long descriptions, which I typically find boring.  But not in this case.  Even though I like action and dialogue, I enjoyed her descriptions.
  2. Her ability to paint a picture with a short phrase also worked well for me.  She describes the result of one physical altercation as a “child services-sized bruise.” She also says:  “My sister could persuade a supermodel to gain seventy-five pounds and learn to throw shot put.”  Nice.
  3. She uses one strategy a lot that is designed to show the thin line that often exists between 2 extremes:  virgin:whore, rager:regretter.  I’ve never seen that before, but it very graphically illustrates how close 2 ends of a spectrum can actually be.
  4. She created the most unlikeliest possible relationship and made me love it (can’t tell you any more than that).

You all know (blah, blah, blah) how important it is for me to connect with at least one of the main characters.  That almost always leads to a bunch of tears.  This is a rare case where I was completely connected with many of the characters and did very little crying.  (And when I did shed a few, they were connected to Brady and her art – go figure!).  Maybe I’m maturing and gaining more control of my emotions…nah!  Whatever the reason, I just didn’t shed many tears and still loved the book.

Just like with other YA’s I’ve read, I strongly recommend this one – and not just to YA-aged readers.  Everybody will like The Moment Before.


  1. I am not a reader. But I decided to get Suzie's book. The main reason was because Suzie is a high school friend and riding buddy from back in the day. I could not put it down. I loved it. I highly recommend this book you will love it to.

    1. Thanks you guys! It always means a lot to an author to hear that a character or book resonates.

  2. This sounds like an excellent book! I love MG and YA (as well as fiction for adults). I like that you were able to connect with so many characters. I always love to meet authors- so how cool that you met Suzy. :) Thanks for sharing and best of luck to Suzy!