Saturday, May 18, 2013

[Review] Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Young Adult Contemporary.
Published: March 2nd, 2010 by Harper Collins

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.

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My thoughts
I read this book over two weeks ago and I'm still trying to gather my thoughts about it in order to write a coherent review. 

The thing is... I liked this book, it was meaningfull and heart-breaking and overall a really beautiful story. But I couldn't make myself love it as much as I wanted to.

I've read Delirium by the same author and just loved it, so after seeing so many good reviews for this one, I thought it was time to give it a try. So, I must say that my expectations were pretty high and maybe that's what prevented me to find it as amazing as everyone else did.

The story begins when Samantha -one of the most popular girls in Thomas Jefferson High School- wakes up late for class on Cupid Day. We follow her around the entire day: to class, to cutting class, to a friend's house, to a party and finally to the car accident that causes her death. During that time, we are shown that she's a mean girl, a bully. The type of girl who would make fun of others and humilliate them without a second thought. She's shallow and selfish and so are her friends. They think they are superior and therefore they should be treated as such. 

Everyone around them seems to admire them like they were celebrities, but it's pretty obvious that everyone secretly hates them, because there is nothing to admire, not really. 

After the car accident, Sam knows she's dead, but somehow she wakes up next morning and find out that is February 12th, AGAIN! She obviously freaks out but doesn't tell anyone what's happening to her, because... the world would literally end if anyone thought she was crazy. So she lives her day again. And again. And? Yes, AGAIN x 7 times! 

Each time she relives the same day, she seems to learn a bit more about consequences, she starts to understand the influence that such a small action -like taking a certain parking space- could have in the life of someone else. That's what I liked most about this book, because it made me think that everything could be conected in a way and what you do actually matters, not just for you, but for other people, even if we don't realize it. 

The other thing I loved about this book was Kent! He was so authentic and nice to everyone even when some people (Sam and company) treated him like crap. I found him pretty odd the first two days, but that was mostly because I was seeing him through Sam's mean eyes. But then, I couldn't help falling for him, he was just too adorable.

The first two or three days were really tough for me, because I didn't like Sam one bit and I was starting to give up on the book since nothing seemed to change that much between days. I was bored and couldn't relate with the main characters. But then, Sam learns that Juliet -the girl she and her friends bully the most- is somehow involved in the accident and from that point, the days start to change a lot. Sam's intentions change too, she is no longer completely focussed on saving herself and she realizes she has made mistakes and is trying to "make up" for them. But even then, I didn't see that she was actually changing that much, she still was trying to justify her behavior by saying "other people do worst things" until the very last day.

Seeing the whole bullying issue from the abuser's perspective rather than the abused's was interesting, but even when the author tries to somehow explain why the bullies became that way, I just can't relate, can't find the reasons good enough for what those girls did, especially Lindsey -the major bully. And I think that's the reason why I couldn't love this book, because I felt like there were a lot of excuses, like the author was trying to make me feel sorry for the abusers.

Anyway, Before I Fall is overall a good read, heart-breaking and mostly entertaining. I had some issues with it, but they weren't bad enough to prevent me from reading other things written by this author.


About the author

Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.

She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.

She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

And here are a few places you can hang out with her!
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  1. Great review, I will look out for this one :)

    1. I'm glad it helped :) Thanks for stopping by!