The Day Before

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Day Before Book Poster Image
Confused teens find strength in sweet soap opera confection.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This may be a bit fluffy, but it IS reading. Teens who enjoy this book may want to check out some of the other picks on this page.

Positive Messages

Amber and Cade are frightened of what the next day will bring, and they both take steps to try to help themselves get in the right frame of mind. Ultimately, they find solace in friendship and family, and appreciate that life is a mix of good and bad -- and that you can’t predict where it will take you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Amber’s parents provide loving support for their daughter in what is a trying time for them too. In return, she’s an appreciative and loving daughter. Amber is tempted to run away from her problems, but she and Cade help each other confront their fears. They demonstrate great empathy for their families.


Nothing aside from some mild kissing. The teen protagonists spend a night cuddled together, but there's no suggestion of sex.


Curse words are used occasionally and include "damn," "son-of-a-bitch," "hell," "s--t," and "a--hole."


Specific movies and musicians, in particular, are used to show two teens bonding.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There is no actual drinking, but a 15-year-old notes at one point that "me and alcohol don't mix."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the teen characters in this story are completely on their own for 24 hours or so, trying to find some peace before each faces an eventful, life-changing day. Amber leaves without her parents’ knowledge, though she does let them know what she’s up to; on the whole, she and Cade behave responsibly and maturely. In the end, there is a positive message about finding solace in friendship and family, and appreciating that life is an unpredictable mix of good and bad.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Amber slips out of her house to take a day to herself. It’s her last day before she leaves, against her will, for six months with her birth parents. She was switched at birth in the hospital, a discovery her birth parents made when the daughter they were raising fell ill and died. Amber seeks a day of solitude, but falls in with Cade, a handsome, enigmatic boy who seems just as lost and scared as she is. As they cautiously share their secrets and grow ever closer, they dread the next morning and struggle to decide whether to face it or flee.

Is it any good?

This is a trifling pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. The plot evokes soap operas and made-for-TV movies, and the central conflict in Amber’s life is revealed slowly, through verse and a series of letters between her and her family. Pervasive pop culture references -- to music, movies, and candy -- substitute for depth and serve as shorthand as Amber and Cade build their relationship. Even so, readers will likely be drawn in, and they will find Amber’s voice authentic. Teens will appreciate her ability to focus on what she needs to do to face an uncertain future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about books and movies that take place in one day. What others can you think of? Why do you think this is a popular set-up?

  • What other switched-at-birth stories can you think of (like Switched at Birth)? What is appealing about playing with this idea?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate