Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
HarperCollins, 470 Pages
Released: March 2, 2010
Challenges: Completely Contemp Challenge
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 wonder idly how long I can go without sleep before I flip my shit and start running down the street in my underwear, hallucinating purple spiders."
This is a very odd review for me, because it was just...I'm a bit mixed about the book, to be honest. I'd heard some great things, and I did think there were some great things - but I also had a few issues with it.
First though, I really, really loved Lauren Oliver's writing. It's fabulous. It's lyrical and humorous and filled with imagery and elicits emotions in your chest as you're reading. I felt like I could hear Sam's hummingbird heart when she was in the car with Kent; and could smell Rob's boozy breathe; and was flung into group hugs with Elody, Ally and Lindz; and my heart was in my throat tearing after Juliet, too.
I was also really caught up in the story. It's an interesting concept in itself, and it makes you think about how you live and what your life looks like and the motivations behind actions. It examines friendships and how much you can really know a person, and what you are to other people - negative or positive.
My main issue was with Samantha; I just didn't like her very much. At the beginning I found her to be a horrible, weak, mean girl who takes advantage of her status and doesn't care about the aftermath. I actually didn't really feel bad when she died (not to be cruel, of course) - it's unfortunate, but it happens to the best of us, and she wasn't even the best! As she went through each repeat day, I just didn't feel like she improved much. She was still selfish, she was still only trying to save herself, she was still just all about her.
I took into consideration that maybe the reader isn't supposed to like Sam in the beginning so her inevitable learning and "turn-around" mean that much more, but it just never happened for me. Yes, she actually turned out to be a decent girl in the end, doing what was right but it was very...lacklaster. It didn't wow me, I guess.
Somehow, I believed in all the supporting characters much more. They were strong in what they were and what they did and represented in the novel. I'm also a little in love with Kent, but that is because he's framed to be a quiet knight. I'm totally sold on him.
Even though I felt a little detached and slightly underwhelmed, the writing and story itself are entirely worth the read. A very solid
3.5 stars / 5