Friday, 8 June 2012

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver. Website, Twitter
Published: 4 April 2010 (Hodder)
Pages: 352
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, Watersone's

Source: Received as a present

Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
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?

My Review:
Before I Fall was the first book I read by Lauren Oliver and made me absolutely fall in love with her writing style. It quickly became one of my favourite books and so I wanted to feature it as one of my reviews here on the blog.
This review is probably going to be my most ambiguous but there's a very good reason for that. When I first read this book I knew nothing about it; even the book itself didn't have a blurb to explain the story, which left me intrigued. I'd come across the title on Goodreads but I hadn't looked at any of the details about the story so I went into it completely blind, which is exactly how I'd like everyone to go into this book. But I appreciate that doesn't make for the most interesting review!

For those who want to remain as unspoiled as possible, here's what I will say. When you read the first chapter of this book you'll probably have reservations. The characters don't seem that nice, which can often be one of the most offputting things in a book. However, when you reach the second chapter you will be knocked off your seat, I promise you. As you start to become aware of where the story is going, it becomes one of the most gripping, addictive books you'll ever read. The characters will go on a bigger journey that you could possibly imagine, and the events will take your breath away. Have the tissues handy as you read this emotional, poignant story of life and death.

If you're still curious as to what actually happens and don't mind knowing a little bit more then I'll go into a bit more detail! The book tells the story of Samantha Kingston, a popular high school girl. We follow what seems to be a pretty average day for her at school until something tragic happens. And when she wakes up the next day, it's not the next day. She finds herself reliving the whole day over and over again.

As soon as I hit the second chapter of this book, my jaw dropped. I just couldn't believe what I was reading and from then on I absolutely devoured the book. It's so brilliantly done and such a fantastic idea for a novel, as well as being incredibly powerful.

Like I mentioned earlier in the review, Samantha is a pretty horrible character at the start of the book and that did make me sceptical about whether I was going to enjoy the book or not. She's pretty mean to people around her and her group of friends seem just as bad, but the fact is she's like that for a reason and she needs to be horrible for the story to work so well. Her character definitely develops and changes throughout the story.

Lauren Oliver's writing style is truly one of the most beautiful I've read. In this book she manages to sum up so many ideas about life and death whilst keeping it a fast paced, exciting story. When I first picked up this book, I didn't know it was YA, and I think it's one of those books that will appeal to a wide audience, even if the main characters are teenagers. It's a book I'll go on to recommend for a very long time because I think you have to read it yourself to see just how good it is. And I don't want to spoil it anymore! One of my favourite books and one I will go on to re-read.

Rating: 5*
What to read next: Delirium by Lauren Oliver, the first book in her Delirium series.
Books like this: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

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