Moths and Sacrificial Boobs

The Moment Before - Suzy Vitello

WARNING: Lots of Annoying Questions from Me 

Because I am still confused what just happened back there. Yeah, reading this book was like having a profound conversation with someone who's high while you're sober. In that there are snippets of lucidity, moments of depth, that make little sense when you connect one point with the other. 

Brady and Sabine Wilson are sisters who despite traveling different social circles in high school have maintained a tight bond with each other. Brady is an introverted artist while Sabine is a competitive cheerleader, their school's Queen Bee. They come from an imperfect family that unravels further when Sabine dies in a freak cheerleading accident that eventually sends Brady at a loss: traitorous friends, school politics and secrets her sister never told her coming to fore thru Connor, the boy who was supposedly baked when he didn't catch her sister. 

This actually started off well, there are overlapping themes between this book, Saving June and The Summer of Letting Go, with a twist in that instead of the death being the cause of its dysfunction, this features a family who's already dysfunctional to begin with dealing with that tragedy. I find Vitello's take on young adult contemporary different form the standard fare in that there's a more frank portrayal of drug use, parental infidelity, sex and religion. Early on, she incorporates vivid imagery and a knack for ridiculing what should be obvious in the eyes of someone like Brady.

They strung a banner across the hot food line - a poster-sized photo of Sabine doing her winning high-splits pyramid stunt. It sounds almost pornographic; the idea of students lining up under her crotch for their burritos, but, my sister transcended that sort of typecasting.

Cute, right?

Yeah then the guy has to come along and ruin everything. Because one look at the broad chest and muscled arms and pow! the brooding and sardonic Brady just went pfft, the family storyline forgotten until further notice. It would've been easier to take if there was some more dimension to Connor's character beyond what this book doled out. What's up with the weed habit? Is mowing lawns really something he always wanted to do? Why did he leave wrestling for cheering? Doesn't that amount to some social backlash in high school?

I know I tend to over think certain stories but this one, no matter how hard I try to configure refuses to make any credible sense in my mind. The dying interest towards the arts, Brady's family struggling to forge on despite Sabine's loss, the secrets, Martha, Nick… what are you trying to tell me Suzy Vitello? How do they all tie together? 

Case in point, I was laughing out loud over that final confrontation scene between Nick, Connor and Brady but then I had to pause and think… why was there even a confrontation scene? Why did Nick react that way to Martha's actions when she found out the truth about Sabine? Why was Martha acting that way at all when she found out about Sabine? Why did Brady even HAVE to tell Martha Sabine's secret? It was such a bizarre turn of events, which is coming off trying to be edgy and realistic but ends up making a mess out of everything.

What is the point of the moths? Or Saint Agatha and her sacrificial boobs? Was it supposed to mirror Brady's newfound independence from men? Because Connor-wise, that wasn't what I gathered here.

Trying to make sense of this book is giving me enough headache as it is. Because on the surface the story is attractive, and the writing and the delivery leads you to believe the finer points deserve a closer look, some moment of introspection.

It just sucks that when you do, you just end up hurting your brain.

ARC provided by Diversion Books thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Quotes may not appear in the final edition.