Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver

Forgive me for the rambling nature of this review. I'm writing this late at night, only an hour or so after finishing BEFORE I FALL, and there's still a lot buzzing through my head right now.

Basically, BEFORE I FALL is about Samantha, a senior in high school who, on February 12th, dies. But instead of going on to Heaven or Hell or whatever exists after one dies, she repeats that last day in her life . . . . seven times. Gradually, Sam begins to peice together the events of that fateful night, discovering things that she never knew about herself, her friends, and the people she has always ignored. With the ultimate question remaining - How would you spend your last day on Earth if you had the chance?

I have heard many people say good things about this book. My friend Kristin Miller reviewed it on YA Highway a while back. And fellow YA Rebel, Victoria Schwab, spoke so highly of it. Also, my amazing, adorable, smart editor - whose taste I have learned to trust without question - raved about this book. So, of course, I had to read it.

BEFORE I FALL wasn't what I expected. Samantha Kingston was not what I expected. I can't say I liked her really, especially not at first, but I understood her. I haven't seen so much character development in a book in forever! This girl has 17 years of memories and fears and hopes and stories. I felt like I got to know her, like hse was real. Even when I didn't love her, I never doubted her actions or words. Never.

And Sam isn't the only well drawn character. Kent, an odd but undeniably loveable boy, and Juliet, a troubled and mysterious girl, and Izzy, Sam's adorable little sister, and Anna, the girl known as a slut who is really so much more . . . they were all so real to me. Even Sam's popular, often shallow best friends managed to stand apart from the stereotypes. I wanted to hate them, but no matter how mean they were, I couldn't. Because even the mean girls have souls.

Shocker, I know, but it's a fact.

Oliver has managed to paint a realistic and heartwrenching picture for the reader. Sam's voice will make you want to laugh and cry. Even when you want to slap her, you won't be able to get her out of your head.

She won't be leaving me any time soon.

Definitely a five-star book, I think.


Remilda Graystone said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this book as well. It's been on my book list for a while, but I think I'll have to move it up a few slots, if only to see how developed characters are written.

Thanks for the review.

Rachele Alpine said...

I LOVED this book!!! Loved, loved, loved. Hey, did I mention that I loved it?! :)

Laura Marcella said...

Someone else reviewed this in the blogosphere (I can't remember who) so I added it to my reading list a little while ago. Now I'm looking forward to reading it even more! The story's concept sounds so intriguing. Thanks for a great review!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I loved the book. The ending was a shocker, and I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first. Others said the same thing on my review, so at least I'm not alone on that.

Great review!

Medical Librarian said...

This book seems to be everywhere right now, and I admit that I didn't have any interest in actually reading this one before seeing your post. Now I'll definitely read the book. Thanks!

Loretta Nyhan said...

This looks fantastic. And I'm all about the character development. Guess I know what I'm going to buy with my Borders coupon.

Crystal said...

First I wanted to say thanks for the blog comment :-)

I loved Before I Fall and I felt the same way you did about wanting to hate the mean girls but I found myself feeling bad for them and wanting to hug them..a sign of great writing

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