Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Trade paperback
Released: March 4th, 2010
Grade rating: A+


Amazon summary:

They say that when you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me. Sam Kingston is dead. Except she isn't. On a rainy February night, eighteen-year-old Sam is killed in a horrific car crash. But then the impossible happens: she wakes up in her own bed, on the morning of the day that she died. Forced to live over and over the last day of her life the drive to school, skipping class, the fateful party she desperately struggles to alter the outcome, but every morning she wakes up on the day of the crash. This is a story of a girl who dies young, but in the process learns how to live. And who falls in love... a little too late.

Review:

I've been trying to write this review for weeks, but have had a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I could just say that Before I Fall is amazing, fantastic, a groundbreaking debut. It's all of these things, yet so much more. You know when you read a book, and you're left speechless at the end, like you're in sensory overload? That was what happened to me when I read Before I Fall. I was a complete mess, left reeling like Sam's end had been my end, like her thoughts and feelings had been my own. It's a powerful feeling, though completely unprecedented.

Before I Fall made me wish I was a writer. It made me wish I could arrange sentences that would mean something to people, and maybe even change how they live their life. Not many books do that for me, but when they do, they cast their spell on me and stay in my head forever. Sam's story did more than that -- it made me realise that life is precious, and that every single choice we make has an effect. We might not see it, but it's there. Our decisions have the ability to alter someone's path, or someone's self perception. We have to think about what we do, how we treat others and what one wrong turn can lead to.

Sam's whole journey is filled with regrets and what ifs. Her story is tragic, yes, but it's also redeeming. How many of us wish we could relive a day, maybe do something differently, or take something back? It's a dream we'll never experience, but for Sam it's her reality, even her nightmare. She has a second chance, and she has to use it to fix the trouble she caused, and the people she hurt along the way. I didn't like Sam at first; I thought she was horrible, stuck-up, and not someone I'd ever want to know. Lauren Oliver warned me of this before I started the book, so I was prepared to hate her. What I wasn't prepared for was how much she'd change, and how much she'd speak to me and my way of life.

I'm a naturally shy, quiet person: I don't take risks, I don't try many new things, and I worry about situations I have no control over. Lauren has shown me that life's too short to worry about what might happen in the future, and that once it's gone, it's gone. I've made a conscious effort to live a little, and not focus on the negatives of everything. For that I owe her a huge thanks, because it's something I've struggled with for a long time. On a personal level, this book is everything I've needed, and I hope sharing my thoughts can make someone like me open their eyes to new experiences.

To put it simply, just buy this book. Meet Sam, cry with Sam, and live with Sam. Then go out and do something new. Even if you only say hi to someone outside your circle, or drive a different way to work, it's a step in the right direction.

25 comments:

Sab H. said...

OMG You review is awesome!!! What are you talking about? You ARE a writer!!
I'm so glad this book impacted you in such a great way. I'm the total opposite but I see what you mean.
This book will absolutely be one of this year's best books all over! Yay for Lauren!! ;D

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Fantastic review! Seriously this is the best one I've read. This book really hit home for me and has become an instant favorite!

Shweta said...

WOW!! Just WOW. For a review this good. I could just buy the book without blinking twice. I am sure to read this book soon.

Book Monster said...

Beautifully written review :) I was going to buy this today, but didn't bought a different book. But I've heard many, many good things about this book. Brilliant review!! Awesome Job!!

Ladybug said...

Fantastic review, Jenny! I think I NEED to read this book even though I really don't want to.

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Brilliant review! I struggled to put my feelings into words too, I just found myself gushing about this book because it was just SO good!

The Book Bug said...

Wow, thats one hell of a review. Now I want to read it even more!! I.Need.This.Book.

Lenore said...

The sentences in your review meant something to me! I adore this novel, so I am thrilled that so many others do too.

Kate Evangelista said...

So, it's a Groundhog Day meets Tuesdays with Morri. Interesting, and quite a touching review. Thanks.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Wow, what a wonderful review! Thank you!

I Want To Read That said...

Awesome review:) I really loved the book too.

Bee said...

Wow..this is fantastic. I actually 'felt' the review, which is very unsual, really.
I have to get this book!

Melissa said...

Your review said exactly what I've been thinking and said it much better than I. I'm so glad this book is catching on!!!

sharonlovescats said...

OH I love this review and would like to have its' children. It is that good. :D

I'm so glad that others are reacting to and enjoying BIF as much as I did.

Becky said...

Brilliant review! It sunds like this book really made a difference to you. Can't wait to read it.

Maria the Bookworm said...

This is one of the best reviews I've read on this book! :)

Daisy Whitney said...

I'm reading this book now and I love it!

Lauren said...

That's a beautiful review, and I agree with everything you've said. I have such a huge TBR pile but Before I Fall is a book that I want to read again.

I also want to say that I received the book tour copy of Before I Fall right after you, and what you'd written in the book meant a lot to me. It made me tear up before even reading the book, and I felt instantly that I was part of something. I love how Lauren Oliver's book has inspired so much feeling in so many of us.

Chelsea said...

You rock. Before I Fall is SUCH a fantastic book.

dArLyN said...

hi..i know the book is really interesting. read a lot of good reviews about it =p

btw, i have an award to share with you at my blog!

http://darlynandbooks.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-awards-10-sugar-doll-blogger.html

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic review, Jen! I'm shy and quiet too, so I completely know what you mean about this book making you reach out a bit more.

LovesSam said...

*sobs* you know how I feel about this review and the book dude

Anonymous said...

I loved the book but i was a little confused about what happened in the ending? Is Sam dead or not and it never fully explains why she kept reliving the last day over and over.

Elleira said...

This review almost brought tears to my eyes!
I haven't read the book yet, but I have it sitting on one of my bookshelves just waiting for me (studying for uni, it seems, is such a waste of time). I can't wait til the holidays again so I can read and read and read!
I have Delirium as well that I am so looking forward to read.
This review is one of my faves, keep up the amazing blog! It's definitely one of my favourite lit blogs to read. :)

xx Arielle

Edward Dowdell said...

Nice cover....Pretty good post, this is one of the best books that I have ever read!
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