Thursday, 14 July 2011

Review: Before I Fall

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Stand alone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Age restriction? Teens, 12+
Published: 2 March 2010
Recommended for: All teens, those who like contemporary YA fiction, those looking for a soul-moving read.
Buy: Before I Fall @ Amazon

An unexpectedly fabulous read with a great story and REAL characters that suck you in and won't let go. 

DESCRIPTION: 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? ...more

REVIEW:  I have to admit, I went into Before I Fall with a very "bleh" attitude. I was still on a high from reading the Vampire Academy books and I did NOT feel like some mushy, anst-ridden, "oh no, existential anxiety plus moral lesson" book.

I was pleasantly surprised, however.  I found in the prologue everything I feared the book would be: Angsty, over-written guiltfest. Ugh. I even thought about just shelving it and trying something else, but I hate leaving books unfinished, so I resolved to stick it out until at least the second chapter or the first twenty pages, whichever came first. I fully expected to have to drudge through that before being able to give up with a sigh of relief and a "at least you tried" backpat.

However, when I started with the book itself, I literally couldn't tear myself away. I didn't take any bathroom breaks, I didn't eat anything, I drank the coffee that my husband brought to me and nothing else. It's lucky for my kids I started reading this on a Saturday morning, because I was incapable of looking after them or even getting them some juice. (Luckily their dad is great, and a reader himself so he understood. Love ya!).

The character of Sam drew me in immediately. I liked her, even though she was everything (and everyone) I hated in high school and after - fake, does anything to fit in with the popular kids, quite frankly a jerkass asshat of the nth degree. I really cannot pinpoint why, exactly - she's just that well-written.

And that's the strength of the story. All the characters but especially Sam is so well written that you happily relive the same day seven times with them all, seeing how they react, how they change, discovering their secrets and their fears.

This book blew me away, although the prose was pretty purple at times and by the sixth day I was getting impatient with Sam's not-getting-it-ness. Still, a great read and one I wish every teenager going through popularity drama (either being unpopular or popular, or just struggling to be themselves in general) would read. I know it would have changed my world as a teenager, and I plan to make it required reading for my three children.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Teens. Even though there's some smoking and swearing and talk about sex, I really don't think it's anything anyone older than 12 or so wouldn't be able to handle. Also, anyone who still sometimes feel their inner teenager/child rebelling, or just plain likes reading damn good books. 

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