<b>I received this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter this review.</b>
This definitely wasn't what I expected, not in the least. Before You had some surprisingly compelling narratives and I hardly wanted to put it down.
Diego and Faith have made mistakes in the their lives and they're busy trying to run from their pasts, especially Faith. Diego doesn't really care about what other people think of him, so although he has some (I would say) bigger issues, he comes to terms with them and his life much faster than Faith. This entire novel was about them learning to stop running from their mistakes.
Faith is desperately trying to exude an image that everyone around her expects from a pastor's daughter. Their unreasonable expectations were slowly killing her inside. She'd started living for everyone else and was sacrificing way too much of herself just so she would seem to be the person everyone thought she should be. The moment she stepped out of that mold, they persecuted her. It was quite sad and made me a little mad.
I think the part that frustrated me the most though was that a lot of people judged Diego by the color of his skin and not by the content of his character. This judgment was therefore passed onto Faith because she was dating him. It just really bothered me that people who professed to be Christians judged these two characters so harshly in every aspect of their lives, and were personally offended when Faith decided to be herself.
Melissa is probably one of the best friends Faith could have ever made. She saw her friend slipping away and intervened. Melissa was fun and sassy as she kept pushing Faith towards Diego. She didn't let Faith lie to her or herself. And, for that matter, Diego didn't let her either. They held Faith accountable, which was something she really needed. I did find Diego to be a bit possessive but I felt like he toned down towards the end, most likely because he was growing right alongside Faith.
I didn't see the ending coming but it didn't come out of left field. Honestly, it was completely satisfactory. I enjoyed Before You but I don't think I'll be picking up the sequel.