Sunday, August 28, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: review

Goodreads rating: 4.03
Paperback, 470 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by HarperCollins
ISBN
0061726818 (ISBN13: 9780061726811)

Setting
Connecticut (United States)

Literary Awards:
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: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.  

5/5

This book is one of the saddest and most heart-warming stories I've read in a long time. Lauren Oliver's writing style is brilliant and it flowed easily as I read page after page; it was hard to put it down. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, because this is one of those stories where an author can totally pull it off or completely fail at it. Oliver succeeded gracefully and beautifully.

Sam (Samantha) Kingston is the definition of a mean girl, as are all three of her best friends. They're really nice to each other and perfect best friends. In fact, they act the way I do with my best friends, so Oliver hit that spot on, but they make fun of people every chance they get, and that is something I was unfamiliar with experience-wise but could understand. The only issue I had with the whole best friend thing is that it's made clear that their are some things you just don't talk about with your best friends, which is partially true. But it seemed like their were many things that they were keeping under lock and key from each other and that's not always the case with best friends. I suppose the argument is that they were popular so they had to not talk about certain things, but I guess I just didn't agree with it. As you can see, I'm being nitpicky about this because there really isn't much bad that I can say about this book. 
Most people know Lauren Oliver from her dystopian series, Delirium. But if I'm being honest, Before I Fall is way better than Delirium. You do not want to miss this stand-alone debut. I read all 480 pages in one day if that's any sort of indicator.



*SPOILERS*
Sam's growth and maturity was breathtaking for me. She went through every stage I would expect when you have seven days to relive the day you died. Some parts I thought were gross, like where she made out with the "hot" math teacher. There were parts where I wanted to cry along with her or slap Rob in the face or kiss Kent like she had or ruffle Izzie's hair. It was sad to realize at the end that nothing was going to save her; she was never coming back to live among her friends and family again, but the whole time you're hoping that somehow she's going to wake up in the hospital a changed woman and that this was all a dream. But she gave her life (sort of) for Juliet and that's when her time on Earth ended and she could be at peace.

I wanted her to be able to be with Kent. Just the way she began to feel about him gave me an ache in my own stomach like the one she was feeling, and it was hard reading it because she would wake up the next day and she would remember everything and he would remember nothing. He was the one she should have been with, not that jerk Rob. It's just too bad that she found that out near the end of the seven days. She lived and loved like she never had before, but had to give the ultimate sacrifice to save a person's life who still had the chance to live it.

At first it was hard for me to understand which day everyone else would remember. And then I realized that as long as Sam still died somehow (after realizing all the mistakes she had made in her life), then they would remember the last day she could be alive on the earth, and that was when she pushed Juliet out of the way of the van. She did the best she could to make up for everything and in the end she became a good person.

I really recommend this book to pretty much everyone. The language is a little more geared towards teens, but the story and writing is too beautiful to pass up.

1 comment:

  1. Seriously one of my most favorite books! I just reread it in April to see if I still liked it as much as the first time I read it and I do.

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