Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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: 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.



When I started reading Before I Fall, I immediately took note of two things: Lauren Oliver is a talented writer and Samantha Kingston would never be a character I liked.  A few times I even felt tempted to put the book down, despite the great writing.  I can only sympathize so much with a girl I would have hated in high school.  But I had a few pretty strong recommendations (including this one) and tales of missed subway stops to urge me on.


So now I'm going to do the same.  No matter how you feel about Sam when you open Before I Fall and read that first chapter. Don't. Stop. Reading.


Not that you'll have too much of a choice once you get a few chapters in.  Before I Fall has that eerie train wreck allure where you just can't look away.  You have to keep turning pages to find out if she can redeem herself.  I even ended up missing my own subway stop to finish the last chapter.


And Kent McFuller - where have you been all my life?

13 comments:

Lenore said...

That's my advice to everyone who reads BEFORE I FALL too...don't stop after Day 1 for the LOVE of GOD!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Wow that book sounds amazing. I have a tendency to like characters who generally wouldn't be liked. I find that the least likable characters have the deepest derkest and most interesting secrets ...

Michelle said...

I loved this book & I liked Sam, even from the beginning. I didn't think she was THAT terrible. :/ Maybe it was because I'd read Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers which takes the whole "mean girl" concept really far. Now those girls, I disliked. This story would have been kind of pointless had Sam not needed to change and evolve throughout. I didn't always agree with her but I didn't hate her either.

Great review! Glad you liked this one and that you kept on reading. :D

Amy Jo said...

I read the book over the weekend, and my experience was similar to yours. I nearly put the book down during the first chapter because I disliked Samantha so much, but for each subsequent chapter, I learned to like her a little bit more. I'm glad I stuck with it. Despite my early misgivings, the writing was amazing!

suzie townsend said...

I definitely liked Sam at the end of Before I Fall better than I liked her in the beginning. But I actually still didn't like her. She never really won me over.

And I also read Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers and loved it - even those the mean girls are much meaner in Courtney's book.

I think for me, Courtney managed to walk a fine line in both Some Girls Are and Cracked Up To Be so that I loved Regina and Parker and I loved to hate some of the other people in their lives.

Faye said...

I'm really liking this one so far. glad u enjoyed it!

M. Gray said...

My protagonists always seem to hate the plastic girls who have it all (hmm, I wonder why). It sounds like Sam grew, though. I'll add this to my "to read" list. Thanks!!

Shelby Bach said...

Totally agree about Day 1 in BEFORE I FALL. If you stop there, just because Sam is annoying, you're totally missing out. :-D

elizabeth said...

I hope to read this soon! I have it sitting on my desk :)

Suzette Saxton said...

I just started this one and, one chapter in, am tempted to set it aside. I'm glad to know it's worth reading. :) Thanks for your honest opinion!

T.J. Carson said...

I REALLY enjoyed the first original book Twilight. But after that I kept feeling somewhat disappointed by the ends of the other books. They just seemed misleading, I kept expecting something more to happen and it never did. And then the end of the last book (with the big war) was just REALLy disappointing, they never fought. Yeah it had the element of surprise but no action like the first book. I probably won't buy this, might cliff note it though so I don't feel disappointed at the end.

Otherwise, love Steph's creativity and passion for her characters but prefer the first book over the others by a mile.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I never had big problems with Sam when I started reading this. Sure she wasn't a character I loved, but you're so right about her. Even if you don't like her, you still want to know her story. I cannot wait to read more from Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall made me an instant fan girl so to say of her work.

Natalie Lloyd said...

I read the first chapter of this book in the store and ended up putting it back. But based on your review, I checked it out from the library. I'm really excited to dig in now. Even from the first few pages, I knew I would love the writing ... I was just hesitant about Sam. Thanks for this post! (And for your blog. I found you through Sarah W. and now I'm hooked. Love your blog to pieces.)

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?