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You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

Last May I read Halfway Perfect from this writing duo which surprised me with their ability to add depth and darkness to the story without becoming maudlin.  Returning to the blog with another release is Julie Cross & Mark Perini. Please read on for my review and excerpt, check out the tour stops to see what other readers thought and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win a Signed Copy of YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE & a $25.00 B&N Gift Card. AND be sure to check out the additional giveaway – details below!

You Before Anyone Else

A story that straddles the line between YA and NA – it felt more to me like a YA with characters thrown into adulthood a bit too fast, or trying to be ‘grown up’ when they weren’t quite emotionally ready for it.  Still, acceptable for the 16 and older crowd I would expect.  As in Halfway Perfect, Cross and Perini are dealing with models and modeling, and for this story- rich in family dramas, budding romance and growth, it works quite well.

Finley is a model without the ‘edge’ or experience of others: even her agency has commented on her squeaky clean reputation. In an effort to improve her marketability, she pushes her own boundaries and engages with Eddie, the prototypical devil-may-care edgy boy, for one night.

Eddie is still in the finding himself mode, but his choices have left him without family support or connection, and he’s really floundering a bit.  He likes Finley, and doesn’t want to accept her not seeing him again. So he appears. Everywhere. Friendly and mostly non-threatening. And Finley is at heart, sweet and kind, and is intrigued so their relationship starts at square one and one-half, as friends.

Dual narration takes this story into a deeper perspective as we see the characters’ true feelings and concerns, and their actual desires. Finley’s first love is dance, but her family and particularly the twins, need what help she can provide with her modeling. A series of family tragedies means that her life was never entirely simple, carefree or worry free: but she is surprisingly well-adjusted and determined to find a way to make everything work.  Eddie comes from money, but his secrets lead to the reasons for the estrangement, and just may be a deal breaker for Finley.

Characters are well developed, the twists are striking and the story is engaging, if not completely gripping. Most striking is the demonstrated insecurities and issues that Finley and Eddie deal with: both more adult situations and expected typical self-doubts and insecurities. Easy to relate to, the story is a solid afternoon read.

You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

Title: You Before Anyone Else
Author: Julie Cross, Mark Perini
Genre: Contemporary YA Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 1492604925
Published on: 2 August 2016
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 400
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with international model Mark Perini to create You Before Anyone Else, a poignant and authentic contemporary YA novel and companion to Halfway Perfect

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her "good girl" persona, so she'll try Eddie on for size.

New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the "good girl" stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.

Enter Eddie Wells. He's shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie's bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Header - Excerpt - Tasty

 

FINLEY

 

“What are you so afraid of?” Summer asks.

I take a sip of the beer Dima brought me a few minutes ago. “Oh, I don’t know, addiction, overdose, puking on some innocent victim’s shoes, random drug testing by the agency…”

Summer laughs. “Drug testing on models? Yeah, that’ll be the day.”

Okay, so maybe I just don’t want to do it. Even if I should be in my so-called experimental phase.

I wouldn’t exactly label myself a rule follower, but I guess I’m just cautious. I haven’t always been this way. Not that I’ve done drugs, but before high school, I was all about ballet. Let’s just say I had a rep for being the sassy troublemaker. My mom being my ballet teacher may have had something to do with my behavior. My fingers immediately move to the cross dangling from my neck—I’ve only removed it a couple times over the last four years. Somehow, it’s always warmer than my hands.

I debate texting my dad to ask him if he’s done coke or molly. He’d probably tell me. But I wouldn’t want to freak him out. Seems like a conversation better reserved for a weekend visit instead of late on a Friday night when I could be too far gone to help, for all he knows.

I glance around the room and finally spot someone I know: my friend Alex and his girlfriend Eve. Alex and I did a big Calvin Klein shoot last year, and Eve was the photographer’s assistant. Actually, Eve used to be a model too, another preteen/teen phenom like Elana, who headlined that CK shoot along with Alex. My part had been fairly small, and still, that was my biggest job ever.

“Have you met Alex?”

Summer shrugs, grabs two more shots of vodka, and hands me one. “Like I would remember.”

I down the shot quickly and prepare to talk to Alex and Eve. Maybe they’ve done drugs and can advise me. But my buzzing phone distracts me. I pull it out of my purse and glance at the new text.

 

JASON: Yeah, it’s so weird to be home again. But I missed it.

 

My stomach flip-flops. He replied to my text. Hours later, but still…this could mean—

“Oh lord, you’re pathetic.” Summer is leaned toward me, reading over my shoulder. “That’s probably enough for you to live off of for another six months or so, right?”

I glare at her and shove the phone back into my purse.

“No comeback? Wonder why…” She pretends to be in deep thought. “He said he missed it. Not you. Cut the fucking cord already. It’s not healthy.”

If only it were that easy. When you’re in a relationship with someone for four years, you get so comfortable with that person. It’s daunting to start all over again.

I make my way across the room to see Alex and Eve, who are leaning against the back of the couch, more absorbed in each other than anything else.

“I heard Elana’s back from France?” Alex asks me, keeping his voice low.

“Yep, her and her mom. I think her mom is driving her crazy, but that’s to be expected. French Mama is driving me crazy too.”

They both laugh at the mention of French Mama, but I can’t take credit for that title. Summer made it up.

“I can’t believe her parents let her come back to New York,” Eve says.

Alex smiles at her. “You’re just upset that they’re here and not in France where we can hit them up for lodging.”

My gaze travels back and forth between the two of them. “You guys are going to France? Are you going for Fashion Week?”

Eve shakes her head. “Nope. I did the Prada shoot, and I’m done for good. Got tuition for next year covered.”

Even though Eve had supposedly quit modeling a few years ago, she pulled a one-last-job stunt last spring to cover her tuition at Columbia. She’s a photography student with a lot of experience under her belt.

“We’re doing the cheap travel, backpacking in Europe but without actual backpacks thing,” Alex explains.

Across the room, another beer pong player is being requested. This could possibly be the most adventurous thing I’m willing to do here. I turn to Alex and Eve again. “Well, good luck in Europe. I’m gonna go play beer pong.”

“Hey.” I grab Dima’s shirt sleeve. “You need another player?”

He looks me over, deliberating. “Sure. Be the new guy’s partner.”

“The new guy?” I glance around. What does that even mean? New to the party, like he just walked in? I’ve been here fifteen minutes.

“He’s new to the agency,” Dima says. “First casting, and he books some big job.”

“So we hate him then, right?” I joke. I turn around to head toward the game table and run right into a guy about my age with wild, dark curly hair and designer jeans.

“This guy,” Dima says to me and then turns to the new guy. “Got you a partner. Finley. She lives in the agency apartment downstairs.”

They exchange a look that says I’ve been mentioned before. I’m not liking that too much, but usually, I don’t come to these parties. Instead, I bang on the door at two in the morning to tell them to

stop thumping around like elephants. Maybe I got a bad rep.

While we wait for Dima to find a partner, I snatch two beers from a nearby cooler and offer one up to New Guy. “So, Dima said you’re new, but he didn’t say where you’re from.”

“Uh…the Midwest.”

“The Midwest.” Okay. Someone doesn’t want to get personal. “Like Wisconsin or like Chicago?”

“Chicago…well, not in Chicago, but around it, you know?” he says.

“Right.” I pop open my can and take a drink. “What’s your name? I’m sorry, I don’t think Dima said…”

“Eddie.” He lifts his gaze again. “Eddie Wells. And you’re Finley Belton, the girl who lives downstairs.”

Summer breezes past me but stops when she spots me holding the beer pong ball. “Beer pong? Oh, you wild animal…grrrr.” She holds up her tiger paws and growls at me.

I give her the finger and then turn back to Eddie. “I’m one of the girls who live downstairs.”

“One is too bitchy, one is too underage, and one is nice,” he recites, most likely quoting Dima.

This is exactly what I’m trying to escape tonight. “Dima called me the baby bear?” I’m secretly hoping he catches my reference to Goldilocks.

“No,” Eddie says. “He called you Finley Belton, but I added the nice part, because you brought me a beer. And it is just right, not to mention you’re talking to me instead of staring and whispering to other people about me.”

Points for his fairy tale knowledge, and I’m sure the whispering is the result of whatever big job he’s landed. Too many models at this party.

Eve tries to be Dima’s partner, but he refuses and tells Alex to play with him. Eve opens her mouth to protest, but Dima holds up a hand. “Don’t even. I know your type. You’ll engineer some fancy trick shots. No Ivy League players showing me up. I got a rep to protect.”

“Fine,” Eve snaps. “I’ll just stand here and look pretty. And I’m definitely rooting for Fin and…” She gestures toward the new guy.

“Eddie,” I fill in for her. “Eddie from Chicago.”

“Eddie from Chicago,” Eve repeats. “Good luck.”

Summer returns and stands beside Eve, both leaning against the back of the love seat.

“Fin makes a great partner,” Summer says to Eddie. “She knits. Lots of finger dexterity.”

I shoot her a glare and will my face not to heat up. So not cool.

 

 

 

Giveaway - Tasty

 

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Additional Giveaway!

CrossPerini-YBAE_Giveaway

 Julie Cross and Mark Perini, along with Tasty Book Tours, are celebrating those who have taken the steps to Break the Mold on society’s expectations, like Finley, the heroine from YOU BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! We are looking for anyone who would like to share their story and be entered to win a 2017 Erin Condren Life Planner!

Head over to Tasty Book Tours and leave a comment with your story. Feel free to share picture of your journey and use #breakingthemold at the end of your comment!

About Julie Cross

Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press).

She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA.

She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

About Mark Perini

Mark Perini is a New York City-based author whose debut YA novel, Halfway Perfect, released in 2015. Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.

Mark began his career as an international fashion model ten years ago, while simultaneously obtaining a business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven wonders of the ancient world before he's thirty. Four down, three to go.

 

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