Tuesday

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined. [via GoodReads]

"They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me. "

It's February 12, Cupid Day at school and the day that Samantha Kingston plans on doing the deed with her boyfriend Rob. The day starts off like any other - she drives to school with her three BFF's. The four of them rule the school. They are the most popular, the one's with the hottest boyfriends, and the one's that every girl in school wants to be like. They're not very nice girls - actually to be quite honest, I thought Sam was a bitch and her friends were even worse than she was. At the end of the night they attend a house party where they mercilessly taunt the school outcast, get inebriated on alcohol and eventually get into a car accident that ends Sam's life... and that's just the end of the first chapter.

The story is told in seven chapters each representing the same day (a la Groundhog Day - you know the one with Bill Murray) . Sam goes through all sorts of emotions... denial, anger, frustration, until she eventually uses these daily opportunities to try and right some of the wrongs that she has done.

Of course at first, I absolutely despised Sam and her friends. They were bitchy, shallow, mean and they were just downright hateful. At the end of the first day, my thought was, well you got what you deserved. How terrible is that? And that's really the beauty of this book. It makes you go through a roller coaster of emotions.

I have to admit that the first 200 pages or so were not my favorite. This first half of the book dragged on for me. But the second half, maybe around day three or four, it really picked up. Here is where you really start getting a feel for the characters. You begin to really understand who they are, why they are this way, their fears, insecurities, vulnerabilities. My favorite moments being those where she spends time with her sister Izzy, getting to know Anna in a school bathroom and, of course, Kent (sighs).

Ms. Oliver's writing is flawless, almost lyrical even. She really mastered a way of making this unlikeable heroine, grow on you to the point where you cared what happened to her.

This is the type of book that you won't forget once you put it down. It leaves you thinking about the things we generally take for granted in life. What exactly it is that you leave behind? What are your "greatest hits"? I found it very thought provoking. I'll mention the ending only because I've read several reviews where they comment on it being too tidy or disappointing. I truly enjoyed it. It is bittersweet and poignant and, no matter how it is interpreted, it is not a happy story, but I found that it left me feeling hopeful.

Although it is a YA book, it definitely has crossover appeal for adults as well. All in all, Before I Fall is a very unique story with stunning writing and not-your-average type characters that I found unforgettable.

8 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fantastic review.

La Coccinelle said...

Very nice review! Thanks. :)

The Bookish Type said...

This is a wonderful review. I've been hearing a lot of buzz about this novel, and I found the premise intriguing, but this is the first review that's really made me want to pick it up. Your comments about the ending definitely piqued my interest. Great review!

Hannah said...

looks good! maybe I'll read it...

Book ♥ Soulmates said...

Great review my friend!! I'll be borrowing this one from the library sometime :)

♥Isalys

Nina said...

Great review. I have this on my tbr list. There are so many positive reviews for this book that I can't wait to read it. Although the beginning is slow, I think I will enjoy it.

Alison's Book Marks said...

I need to read this book already! Great review!

Nichole said...

Very nice review! Thanks. :)

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