23 February 2017

Review #591: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good. Each should have its own reward.”

----George R.R. Martin

Lauren Oliver, the New York Times bestselling author, has composed a heart wrenching young adult fantasy fiction in her novel, Before I Fall which is soon going to release as a major motion picture, starring, Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller and so many incredible stars. The story revolves around four teenage female high school besties among whom the central character has a perfect life with a perfect boyfriend, perfect set of best friends, perfect looks and all, but her perfect life comes to an end on the Cupid Day when she along with her friends die, little did the girl knew that she would get to wake up for the next seven days to relive the Cupid Day all over again.


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.

Samantha Kingston, a popular high schooler, along with her three best friends, Lindsay, Elody and Ally, die on the night of Cupid's Day on a car accident while returning back from a party. Unfortunately for Sam, she again wakes up on the very same morning after the tragic crash, and she does wakes up for the next seven days, until she figures out the reason behind her dying. Sam is the perfect mean girl in her high school with perfect hair and clothes and with perfect group of peers and with the right boy around her. And when Sam dies and wakes up again on the very same day, she guesses it correctly that she needs to save herself by walking on the path to redemption and that can only happen by making her wrongs to rights, beginning with her speech disorder little sister, her parents, her equally nasty best friends, her peers, her non-so-thoughtful teachers, her boyfriend and all those whom she has hurt both intentionally and unintentionally throughout her lifetime. But can Sam save herself from this loop of death?

What surprises me after reading this book, that the concept of the story is little "been-there-done-that" kind yet the author has penned it with so much honesty and intensity of emotions that the readers will be left bewitched all through out the story line. Such a predictable story, composed with utmost intelligence and poignancy, is bound to become a page turning and highly absorbing drama that while reading I found myself holding my breath the entire length of the novel. The author has also touched some disgusting teenage social stigmas from our society, like bullying, name-blaming, slut-shaming, insulting, and other such issues, and has projected them with sensitivity among the readers, make the readers comprehend with the brutal honesty of the situation. The author has managed to project a strong message through this book.

The author's writing style is articulate and is laced well with evocative emotions that will drown the readers into its depth. Along with a lyrical prose and free-flowing yet thoughtful narrative, the story is spell binding and thoroughly gripping till the turn of the very last page. There are lots of emotional moments which are either going to shatter the hearts of the readers or going to elevate them with happiness as well as anger. The pace is smooth as the tightly packed plot sways smoothly amidst of some twists and turns, thereby making the tale one hell of an enthralling ride.

The characters are tastefully spun with authenticity and realism in their demeanor, and that they will leave an imprint in the minds of the readers long after the story has come to an end. The main character, Sam, is projected as someone who is rude to every one around her and is extremely selfish about herself and her choices. For Sam, the main priority is herself and she has this constant urge to stay in the limelight, no matter how bad or good her decisions are. In the beginning of the story, the first time Sam dies, the author has instantly made her look bad in the eyes of the readers but somewhere deep between the lines of this story, there lies extreme sympathy that will hit the readers and will not make them hate her even for a single moment, because Sam is constantly growing through her challenges and empathizing with her upside-down life. Along with Sam and through Sam's perspectives, the supporting characters from Juliet to Lindsay to Kent to Rob to Elody to Ally, all are drawn with utmost depth and back ground story that will make the readers easily contemplate with their choices too.

There are lots of teenage themes covered in this YA fiction from the dynamics of teenage friendships to romantic relationships to the shaky relationship among a parent or a teacher and a teenager. The author has captured the voice of a high school teenager vividly and that will make the readers look into the genuine version of such a teenager who is mean to the very core, minus the predictable traits in her behavior. (Forget Mean Girls, Sam is way realistic than Cady, Regina or Karen)

In a nutshell, this is must read teenage YA fiction that does not only need to be read just for the sake of reading but also for the sake of making one self better. Along with Oliver's emphatic style of story-telling, this book is a rare gem in the world of young adult fantasy fiction.

Verdict: Grab a copy of this intriguing book, before the movie adaption of this book hits the screens near you.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of content development company Paper Lantern Lit. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren's bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by AwesomenessTV; a major motion picture adaptation of Before I Fall was announced by Open Road Films in 2016. Her novels for middle grade readers include The Spindlers, Liesl & Po, and the Curiosity House series, co-written with H. C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms.
A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver divides her time between New York, Connecticut, and a variety of airport lounges.
Visit her here

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