The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello
A Young Adult Novel published January 14th 2014 by Diversion Books
Popular Sabine and Broody Brady are Irish twins, born 11 months apart. After Sabine dies, Brady is thrust from her sister’s shadow into a world full of drama, complication, and lies. Brady must find out what really happened to her sister before she died and Brady discovers more about herself along the way.
Teens, Drama, Death, Popularity, Complicated, Angst, Daughters, Irish Twins, Family, Drugs and Alcohol, Finding Yourself, Grief
This may be a young adult fiction novel but it is not your typical angsty teen book. Though there are sex, drugs, alcohol, and death, they are dealt with in an adult and masterful way. It is almost as if this is not a work of fiction but an atypical and insightful diary-esque book. I felt, immediately, in touch with the main character as she narrated.
Vitello has such a way of bending a sentence into a beautiful structure that is almost, but not quite, out of reach for understanding. Phrases seem thrown together, such as “Into the growing awkward I say…” (page 50) but they blow me away with their tight structure. Even the dialogue is spot on, “That’s not fair for me, I realize. You have to make mistakes in order to grow. But I’m begging you. Pleading with you. Do not fall in that murky well right now. Now now.” (page 185). Vitello is able to tell me exactly what the main character is feeling and seeing. Her descriptions pack a punch that stays true to each of the characters, defining their complexities: “Mom called her my manic-panic girl. Me? Brady-brooder.” (page 14).
It was refreshing to have the plot thrown in my face in the first few pages so I knew exactly what I was getting into, but I couldn’t just sit tight for the ride because there were layers to the plot that the author expertly revealed in pits and pats.
I absolutely fell in love with Brady’s voice. “The tickle of this feels like a secret I’m sharing with my sister, like back when we were little girls sneaking into each other’s rooms at night to munch on candy under the blankets.” (page 15). Most of the time the author utilizes abrupt and short sentences that feel halting at first but then begin to worm their way into the voice of the character. She is a teenager with a teenager’s voice. But she is not just any teen. She is insightful and charismatic. She is real and emotional. She connects to her unseen audience through her fears and realizations. I love how Brady describes other people around her. “Why am I even friends with this girl? The way she glows with satisfaction when the world matches up to her sense of order and the way things should be.” (page 187) These are the same flaws I saw in Martha and Brady was able to voice them with such eloquence. I could listen to Brady all day.
Who wouldn’t like a book that mentions bacon maple bars?.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys movies with the environment of Clueless or the clever dialogue in the movie Brick.
This novel was published by Diversion Books on 1/14/14 and is available on Amazon here.
TLDR Star Rating: 4.75
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