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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver



Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Release Date: Harper Collins (March 2, 2010)
Pages: 480
Rating: * * * * */5
Summary: 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.

*************

I've put off my review of Before I Fall for a few days because I didn't have words to describe how much I loved it. Is it too early to declare this as my favorite book as 2010?

First off, the characters. They were horrible at first, and kind of hard toconnect with for me- I guess it's because I'm a geek and am nothing like people like the mean, pretty girl Sam and her friends were. But that quickly changed- I quickly felt more and more connected to them, despite how horrible they were, and kept hoping Sam could realize what terrible creatures he and her friends were, and could save herself, her friends- and Juliet. I liked Sam, not because she was a good person by any means, but because she told the truth, in a tone full of almost unsettling candidness. They were all very well-crafted, with plenty of detail- something you don't often see in a debut novel.

As to the plot, it was exciting, heart-racing and heart-breaking. It had something for everyone in it- romance, mystery, friendship and family, mystery, and teenage angst, all wrapped up in beautiful prose and tinged with fantasy and an almost supernatural element, with a satisfying, if heart-breaking, ending.

Speaking of the writing, it impressed me as well- unsettlingly and candidly, in a perfectly believable voice and tone, Sam reflected back in an almost wistful tone, with a slight sigh of regret to it, on her short life, her mistakes and regrets, on that final day- until, suddenly, we reach her death... and start all over the next morning. I loved seeing the choices Sam made each day she started over, seeing how the tiniest things, such as not being late- totally changed what was supposed to happen. Again, the writing was much more skilled that many debut novels.

"Before I Fall" is a haunting, heart-breaking, exciting and utterly worth reading new novel- buy it, I promise you won't regret it!

Many thanks to Lauren Oliver herself for giving me a complimentary review copy.

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