Recent Reviews...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Playing Catch Up! Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Playing Catch Up has really been helping me through my ever growing TBR list. I'd like to welcome all other blogs to participate too! If you do, be sure to post your links in the comments section. I'd love to see your Playing Catch U
p Reviews, and I'm sure others would too!! *wink*

Want to know more about Playing Catch Up? I'll tell you all about it here!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver  
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary/Romance)
Date Published: October 25, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book, but days later, I'm still thinking about it so that has to mean something, right? I've been meaning to read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver for a very long time, and it finally took seeing the movie trailer to light a fire under my butt and get it done. It looked like a movie I'd want to see, soooo naturally, I HAD to read the book first. This book was oddly good. I say "oddly" because the characters, especially the main character, aren't people I liked at all. They were selfish, superficial, and self absorbed. I spent so much time annoyed or mad at Sam.. it was crazy. Sam is pretty dense, and it takes her a long time to learn lessons. It's like she has no idea how to be a good person anymore. Her friends are the same, so they were unlikable in every way. With that all being said, if Sam and her friends were good people, we wouldn't have a story. So, if characters like these bother you as much as they do me, just hold on. There is a point to it all or rather a few points, but I'm not going to tell you what they are.

Pretty much the only redeeming character was Kent, and I absolutely hate the turn of events that happen for him, and that whole situation taints the entire book for me. In fact, I'm still on the line between love and hate for this book because of him.

There's a pattern to each day Sam relives, and like a puzzle, they start to piece together more and more until you get to the ending. I loved it, and I hated it. It was beautiful, and it was ugly. The words "oddly good" come into play again, because that's just the best two words I can think of to describe this book as a whole. There was an epilogue, but it was more of a continuation of the actual ending. I really wish the epilogue would have given us a look at the future of the characters instead, and it wouldn't even have to be far in the future. A week later, a day, even an hour or so... just to see what the characters took away from everything that took place. Was it all worth it? Maybe. Maybe not. Anyway, that would have been very a nice(and I feel necessary) thing to know.

And just a little personal side note. In what world is riding horses considered uncool? Does one even exist? I'm glad that's not my world. That's all I have to say about that.

Anyway, back to my review. I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. I really don't know what else so say. So, I'll just end here by saying... it was oddly good.

They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me.

To be honest, I'd always thought the whole final-moment, mental life-scan-thing sounded pretty awful. Some things are better left buried and forgotten, as my mom would say. I'd be happy to forget all of fifth grade, for example (the glasses-and-pink-braces period), and does anybody want to relive the first day of middle school? Add in all of the boring family vacations, pointless algebra classes, period cramps and bad kisses I barely lived through the first time around...

The truth is, though, I wouldn't have minded reliving my greatest hits: when Rob Cokran and I first hooked up in the middle of the dance floor at homecoming, so everyone saw and knew we were together; when Lindsay, Elody, Ally and I got drunk and tried to make snow angels in May, leaving person-sized imprints in Ally's lawn; my sweet sixteenth party, when we set out a hundred tea lights and we all danced on the table in the backyard; the time Lindsay and I pranked Clara Seuse on Halloween, got chased down by the cops, and laughed so hard we almost threw up. The things I wanted to remember; the things I wanted to be remembered for.

But before I died I didn't think of Rob, or any other guy. I didn't think of all the outrageous things I'd done with my friends. I didn't even think of my family, or the way the morning light turns the walls in my bedroom the color of cream, or the way the azaleas outside of my window smell in July, a mixture of honey and cinnamon.

Instead, I thought of Vicky Hallinan.

Specifically, I thought of the time in 4th grade when Lindsay announced in front of the whole gym class that she wouldn't have Vicky on her dodgeball team. "She's too fat," Lindsay blurted out. "You could hit her with your eyes closed." I wasn't friends with Lindsay yet, but even then she had this way of saying things that made them hilarious, and I laughed along with everyone else while Vicky's face turned as purple as the wrinkled underside of a storm cloud. That's what I remembered in that before-death instant, when I was supposed to be having some big revelation about my past: the smell of varnish and the squeak of our sneakers on the polished floor; the tightness of my polyester shorts; the laughter echoing around the big empty space like there were way more than twenty-five people in the gym.

And Vicky's face.

The weird thing is that I hadn't thought about that in forever. It was one of those memories I didn't even know I remembered, if you know what I mean. It's not like Vicky was traumatized or anything. That's just the kind of thing that kids do to each other. It's no big deal. There's always going to be a person laughing and somebody getting laughed at. It happens every day, in every school, in every town in America--probably the world, for all I know. The whole point of growing up is learning to stay on the laughing side.

Vicky wasn't very fat to begin with--just some baby weight on her face and stomach--and before high school she'd lost that and grown three inches. She even became friends with Lindsay. They played field hockey together and said hi in the halls. One time Vicky brought it up at a party our freshman year--we were all pretty tipsy--and we laughed and laughed, Vicky most of all, until her face turned almost as purple as it had all those years ago in the gym. That was weird thing number one. Even weirder than that was the fact that we'd all just been talking about it--how it would be just before you died, I mean. I don't remember exactly how it came up except that Elody was complaining that I always get shotgun and refusing to wear her seatbelt and kept leaning forward into the front seat to scroll through Lindsay's iPod, even though I was supposed to have deejay privileges. I was trying to explain my "greatest hits" theory of death and we were all picking out what those would be. Lindsay picked finding out that she got into Princeton, obviously, and Ally--who was complaining of the cold, as usual, and threatening to drop dead right there of pneumonia--participated long enough to say she wished she could relive her first hook-up with Matt Wilde forever, which surprised no one. Lindsay and Elody were smoking, and freezing rain was coming in through the cracked windows. The road was narrow and winding, and on either side of us the dark stripped branches of trees lashed back and forth, like the wind had set them dancing.

Elody put on "With or Without You" to piss Ally off, maybe because she was sick of her whining. It was Ally's song with Matt, who had dumped her in September. Ally called her a bitch and unbuckled her seatbelt, leaning forward and trying to grab the iPod. Lindsay complained that someone was elbowing her in the neck. The cigarette dropped from her mouth and landed between her thighs. She started cursing and trying to brush the embers out from the seat cushion and Elody and Ally were still fighting and I was trying to talk over them, reminding them all of the time we'd made snow angels in May. The tires skidded a little on the wet road and the car was full of cigarette smoke, little wisps rising like phantoms in the air.Then all of a sudden there was a flash of white in front of the car. Lindsay yelled something--words I couldn't make out, something like Sit, or Shit, or Sight--and suddenly the car was flipping off of the road and into the black mouth of the woods. I heard a horrible, screeching sound--metal on metal, glass shattering, a car folding in two--and smelled fire. I had time to wonder whether Lindsay had put her cigarette out.

Then Vicky Hallinan's face came rising out of the past. I heard laughter echoing and rolling all around me, swelling into a scream.

Then nothing.


Be sure to check out more books by Lauren Oliver!

Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.

She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.

She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

To learn more about Lauren Oliver and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsTwitter, and Facebook.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank your for stopping by. Please comment! I'd love to hear from you!