06 December 2011

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2nd March 2010
Source: Own Kindle Copy

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. -From Goodreads

I picked this up as it was my first Lauren Oliver book and it had a story that interested me, a sort of Groundhog day where the main character knows that each day she relives ends with her death. I really wanted to like this book and went into it with an open mind. Unfortunately something did not click for me.
Sam is a privileged teenager who has a sweet life. Hot boyfriend and a powerful group of friends who rule the school with Sam at the middle of it. After a party one night there is an accident which kills Sam, but this is not the end of her story as she gets the chance to come back time and time again to change her actions on the day of the accident.

Maybe I am too different from Sam, but I did not care for her and in all honesty did not care if she learned the valuable life lessons of repeating the same day over and over again. I found her to be quite fake at the start of the book, and thought that she had not grown at the end of her journey. I think this instant dislike of the main character meant that I never really invested in the book.

I have always thought that there could be a lot of mileage in the repeating days story, I mean I am a fan of Groundhog Day! For some reason in this book I found the storyline to be slightly dull and predictable. There was a real focus on certain things on the first day which you knew would be changed or manipulated later on during one of the repeating days. I like a bit of unpredictability in my stories. Once it was obvious that this was what was happening I felt there was little point in finishing the book (I did though as I hate leaving books unfinished!).

Following on from that, I was hoping for a really interesting ending, and while there were details in the ending that made me go "oh, that's how it fits together", I still felt the ending was very unsatisfying. I was left with a slight feeling of disappointment. I have not read any of Lauren Oliver's other books, but I will be giving Delirium a try as I do think that potentially the only reason I did not like this book was because I could not gel with the main character and that made the rest of the story fall apart for me.

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