Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Released: 2nd March 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 470
Buy The Book: Amazon

"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? Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day 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."

This book is a surprising, heart-wrenching mixture of Groundhog Day, The Lovely Bones and every girly teen movie you've ever seen. I wasn't sure what to expect on picking it up, and don't get me wrong, the first half wasn't exactly riveting. When it got to day three or four, the format of the novel started to get a little bit stale. Until this point, characters seem like overblown cliches of typical high school stereotypes and the plot doesn't seem to have any direction.

When the storyline really kicks in, however, and the main character, Sam, realises what she must do, the book really comes into it's own. The rest of the supporting characters become more believable as we delve into their secrets and it becomes more obvious what Sam is going to have to do to put things right and cross over into whatever afterlife she might be in for. 

Parts of the dialogue were cringeworthy, with terrible attempts at banter between the four girls, but then I realised - weren't we all like that in high school? A little bit embarrassing, trying to act older than we really were, coming out with sentences we wouldn't dream of saying now? Lauren Oliver got this down to a tee, getting right into the teenage mindset and reminding me vividly of my own school days. The last section of the book, days six and seven, really saved it from being purely average and I couldn't put it down by this point (even when experiencing extreme travel-sickness on a coach through Albania... yes, really!).

I'd like to read more of Lauren Oliver's material, maybe something aimed at an older audience. I'd recommend this book to anyone in or just leaving high school, although tissues may be required towards the end!

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