Friday, June 18, 2010

Free Fridays: Before I Fall



Every Friday we review a new book and give a copy of the book away. To get the book, it's simple: just be the first to comment on the review and be sure to tell us which library you'd like to pick up your new book at. We'll take care of the rest!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Halfway through chapter one of Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver's debut novel about the last day in the life of high school senior Samantha Kingston, I wondered if I should bother to finish the book. The main characters are self-centered, cruel and crude--not unlike the popular girls described in Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes (basis for the movie Mean Girls).

It's hard to like Sam and her clique: Lindsay--self-appointed leader of this shallow crew; Elody--oversexed naughty girl; and Ally--seemingly sweet follower. I just can't muster any sympathy for Samantha. Maybe the car accident that takes her life is the logical consequence of a badly lived life. Karma, anyone? But I kept reading and found myself being pulled along into this fantastical story.

Every morning for seven days, Sam awakens on Friday the 12th of February also known as "Cupid Day" at school. Only she knows that she should be dead. Finding herself in this inexplicable limbo is frightening and confusing. Without consciously doing so, Sam grieves for her own death. She experiences denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally an acceptance of sorts. Yet, each new day she changes her approach to the inevitable in hope of changing her fate.

My favorite day is the one when Sam decides to stay home from school. The time she spends with her much younger sister Izzy is precious. I also enjoyed watching her relationships with boyfriend Rob and oldest friend Kent change as she realizes who truly loves and cares for her.

We live in an age when vampires, werewolves, and all manner of paranormal creatures predominate the YA book scene. More than ever, it's refreshing to read a book that, while outside the realm of possibility, is grounded in the real issues we face; not only teenage issues but the greater existential questions. Why am I here? What is my purpose? How should I best live my life? Guest review by Evelina  

Get Before I Fall for free--just be the first to leave a comment! Don't forget to tell us which Fresno County library branch you want to pick it up at. 

5 comments:

Shei said...

This really looks very interesting!

Connie said...

It's all yours, Shei. Which library do you want it sent to?

Shei said...

clovis branch please! Thank you!

Faythe said...

Thanks Shei! I'll send the book out today.

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This book teaches us a little something about life . It is never too late to change. I admire the author for her creativity. An amazing story that brought the readers on an emotional roller coaster. It was amazing!