Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall
Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication date: October 25th 2011
by HarperCollins

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
-This novel was listened to via audiobook-
Having heard numerous incredible reviews on this novel, I have finally jumped the this bandwagon and checked out what it was all about. Not disappointed in the least, this is one (rare) instance where my expectations has lived up to the hype. Before I Fall is a moving story of a girl who died, but she gets a second chance to make things right.

Samantha Kingston is the type of girl you either hate, or you're jealous of, in high school. She's pretty, popular, dating the hottest guy in school, and seems to be living the perfect life all around--until she isn't that is. After the accident that takes her life, Samantha wakes up the very same morning, again, and again… and again. Reliving the same day over and over is not a plot that hasn't been done before, but it's the one that harbours the most emotion I've encountered. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. The 5 stages of grief is something very real that Samantha goes through in this novel. And as much as this book surrounds her death, I believe it's actually about someone else's death. A someone she comes to know through these relivings, who she's slowly beginning to understand, to grieve for, and who, in the end, changes her completely. I loved how every day, a day that is essentially the exact same, something completely different comes about. It's a new experience every time where we see a new perspective of the same story, a different side of people Sam thought she knew. Changing just one little thing can alter so much, it was really an incredible journey; complex and all-consuming.

The writing is what makes this novel so potent. It's truly flawless, the way the characters are crafted into real people with real emotions that sucks you in and never lets go. It's amazing how every single relationship in this novel, be it between friends, sisters, mother daughter, or even two people you would never expect, is filled with love. It makes you grieve even more for the people she's leaving behind. Every giggle tore at my heart, every kiss came with never-ending longing. If there was ever a novel to call bittersweet, this would be the one. How often do you experience new love in a book that makes you thoroughly happy, giddy, butterflies and all, while at the same time you want to burst into tears? How a writer can create such powerful dynamics, can put into words such timeless messages while at it, is something worthy of praise. Her words are palpable, the emotions vivid, and as sad as it is, you will come out of this novel with nothing more than a feeling of fulfillment. Samantha, in death, learns to be a better person, learns that it's never too late to make things right; in death, she learns to live!

A ticking time-bomb of a book that lingers in your heart for a very long time, Before I Fall is a masterpiece in words. Brimming with meaning and depth, I urge you to pick this one up! Just pick it up, and never look back!
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