04 February 2012

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you only had 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 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times 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.

 I was told during a recommendation for this book that, "[I] will hate her in the beginning, but push through it; it's worth it in the end."  Me?  I'm a skeptic.  I thought, "Psh.  Translation: I will hate it.  Plain and simple."

So not true.

My critique partner (who recommended this so heartily to me) was right 100%.  I did hate the main character, Sam, in the beginning.  She was shallow, petty, a bully...  Her entitlement drove me insane.  I wanted to slap her or throw the book across the room or something.  But I kept my critique partner's words in mind.  I had to push through.  So I did.  And it was so worth it.

Lauren Oliver did a fantastic job pulling off Sam's character and, specifically, her development throughout the story.  To convincingly tell the story of a girl who goes from being the uber-bitch to the complete opposite takes skill.  I knew Lauren Oliver had a gift when I read her book Delirium, but this blew me away.  

There was a lot of dimension to Before I Fall.  Lauren Oliver took her time and built up the world and the characters.  She didn't pussyfoot around with the other, uglier, bitter side of the characters.  The four of them (Sam, Lindsay, Elody and Ally) really redefined the meaning of bully.  But they were 3D and each of them had their own role.  All of them came alive to me.  I loved watching each of their stories unfold.

I was most impressed by the way Lauren Oliver unfolded each day: if done wrong, it could get ugly real fast.  It was masterfully done--very gut wrenching.

But it was such a heartbreaking story.  I am not a fan of tragic endings, but you still have to love this book.  It was powerfully alluring, almost magnetic.

If you are a fan of Lauren Oliver's Delirium, or if you're new to Lauren Oliver, I highly recommend this.  Anyone can get into this story and fall in love with it.

Book Info:

  • pages - paperback, 470
  • published - January 2010
  • publisher - HarperCollins
  • genre - paranormal romance
  • received via - library :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • theme song - Last Friday Night by Katy Perry; Crazy Beautiful Life by Ke$ha