Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall

 

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 have extremely mixed feelings about this book. I both loved and hated it. It made me happy, sad, confused, concerned, angry, and so many more emotions. I very highly recommend it to some people, and very highly do not recommend it to other people.

Why I loved it

The construction of this book was so unique. Instead of normal chapters, the book was split into 7 sections, each one taking place over the course of a whole day. Each of these sections was divided into shorter sections. This was such a unique structure which suited the story very well.

The writing was really powerful. It felt realistic and suited the story perfectly. I think I prefered Oliver’s writing in a contemporary setting (even though I see Delirium as an alternate reality as opposed to futuristic dystopian) because it just feels more comfortable.

The secondary characters were all great. Not Sam’s friends, but everyone else was amazing. I was especially intrigued by Juliet. She was a mysterious, beautifully written character. The other characters that Sam gets to know throughout the week are also very interesting to learn more about. They’re just background characters, pulled into the spotlight for a moment as we learn more about them and how they affect Sam’s life in the smallest ways.

Why I hated it

Oh my flipping goodness! There was so much crap in this book! Every. Single. Page. Had something my parent’s would smack me over the head for doing! There was a despicable amount of swearing, talk of sex, drinking, and just being mean spirited for no reason. I was uncomfortable a lot, and was tempted to stop it a lot, but kept at it because I heard it was all worth it in the end.

I couldn’t understand why Sam kept her friends. They were rude and inconsiderate. They didn’t care about Sam’s opinions and didn’t respect her. Somewhere near the end Sam lists 3 reasons she loves each of her friends. The reasons were all pretty stupid in my opinion. I was hoping she’d just drop her friends for people worth hanging with.

The ending was so powerful. It left me crying and thinking about random deep philosophy for hours despite it being the middle of the night. And yet, it wasn’t satisfying. I hate when an ending isn’t satisfying, because I’m left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth.

I felt very conflicted about what rating I should give this book. I was originally going to give it one star, then I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. Now I’m settling on 2 stars. Like I said, I love and hated this book. I look forward to reading much more by Lauren Oliver. This is why you should look at more than just the star rating, because based on my star ratings, you could easily say I hate Lauren Oliver’s books, but based on my reviews you’d learn so much more.

stars

3 comments:

  1. I pretty much agree. I thought the book was well-written and interesting, and it did offer some things to think about. But Sam is mean. There's no way around that. I think she's still mean even at the end of the book, even if it's to a lesser degree.

    And I absolutely cannot agree with her excusing her friends' cruelty, which has not changed, under the assumption that one day in the far future they'll grow out of it. [Spoiler ahead.] I thought we all saw that their actions could lead others to suicide. Apparently Sam thinks that because she saved one person, her friends' cattiness won't hurt anyone else to such an extent.

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    Replies
    1. *SPOILERS* I still don't see how sacrificing herself did anyone much good. Everything she did was for her personal gain, and she didn't care about the consequences others would have to face because of it.

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  2. I can see how it seems like a love/hate book. I have this on my tbr list because while I really enjoyed Oliver's writing style in Delirium, I felt like something was a little off. Like you, I felt that maybe dystopian really isn't her best genre. I want to try out Before I Fall for comparison's sake. And it does sound like a really interesting premise. And I'd love to read something that makes me philosophize and wonder about the big questions in life - and this sounds perfect for that!

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