Wednesday, June 30, 2010

5-Minute Book Club

This month we have chosen Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Here is Lauren's web-site which has some great character profiles.

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: 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.


It’s hard to sit down and think about where to start when giving my two cents for Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. So many different, enjoyable aspects weave into this story, it’s hard to just narrow it down to my favorite points. For me, it was one of those books where I closed it and sat in deep contemplation for a solid 20 minutes, reflecting. The change in the main character in just seven eye-opening days is beautifully written with perfect transition—doesn’t happen too fast, doesn’t happen too slow—and there’s an interesting twist with the Five Stages of Grief coming from the dead main character’s perspective, rather than those around her. Each day brings something very new and shows little repetition. It is an amazing book and a good reminder of what really matters. Highly recommended!


Based on some of the summaries I read beforehand, I wasn't sure I was going to like Before I Fall. A girl who dies and repeats the last day of her life 7 times, like a YA Groundhog Day? Really?

All I can say This book is so much more than that. Instead of doing the stereotypical Mean Girl thing, Before I Fall takes those popular, bitchy characters and digs deep. There is nary a cardboard cutout in sight here. We actually get to experience all the endearing qualities of the characters as well as the bad, and the bonds of friendship between them. Honestly, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say Oliver is a master of characterization.

Her prose is also quite lovely in spots, and for me, Before I Fall is a fascinating look at how even small changes in the way you treat other people can trigger a chain reaction, and how it's never too late to be a better person. If you like books about bullies, cliques, or even thought-provoking contemporary YA in general, do not wait---run and pick up your copy NOW.


I have to admit, I was really unsure of my feelings towards this book during the first hundred pages. Oliver proved to be a fantastic writer, but I never related to girls like Sam and her clique when I was in high school. However, when Sam begins reliving her days over and over, the transformation of her character and outlook on life rounds her as an individual so perfectly. Her growth made me really think as a reader, especially when instead of coming to hate her friends who were never the best people on the planet, she continues to love them and learns to love the ones she's hurt and despised. Sam's journey is emotional and moving. The love interest is to die for. Sam may have wanted the repetition of her last day to end, but I sure as hell didn't.


First off, I loved the cover and since I tend to be very visual, this is a big plus in buying a book. Obviously I knew the MC was going to die and I wondered what the point would be in reading it, if I already know the ending before I got invested in it. But it was chosen as a book club pick so I bought it and read it. The beginning sucked me in before I ever got to chapter one, and then I was entranced by the voice. Next, I was impressed with the group of friends which were very round characters. Finally, I couldn't wait to see how Sam would grow as a character. And she didn't disappoint me.

And introducing Melissa, our guest blogger.

For me, this book was about voice. Sam was real and honest. I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes—especially the way the view changed as Sam did. The one constant through the book was her relationships with her best friends. No matter what happened, they were there for each other. What I admire most is the way Lauren Oliver drew the story out—each day digging deeper into the past. Each day—even though it was the same day—was a surprise. I don’t think you can read this book without being affected in some way.

Instead of announcing next month's book selection, Kath is announcing an awesome contest:

Win Kath’s Canadian Query Survival Kit

Ha! I thought putting the word “query” in there would get your attention. I’m diabolical, that way.

But, as promised, it’s Canada Day and I want to give stuff away.

To play: Leave a comment letting GotYA know which YA book (old, recent, or upcoming) you’d like to see us tackle for book club AND (cause you knew it wouldn’t be that easy) make sure your comment contains the word “eh”.

One comment leaver will win a prize pack consisting of:

Messing Around (CD) by Molly Johnson: Canadian’s jazzy songstress. Light a few candles and pop this CD in when you need to de-stress from querying. Yer Favourites (2 CDs) by The Tragically Hip: Need something to get you fired up? Not only are The Hip the ultimate Canadian band but they are the perfect band to give you a shot of query courage and to dance around to when you finally get that agent call. 2 buttons (“Books Kick Ass!” & “I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person”): Not strictly Canadian but bought at a Canadian store. 1 pocket-sized edition of Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch: To remind you that it’s good to be an individual.

Contest closes Friday, July 9th at midnight AST and is open to residents of the US and Canada only (sorry elsewhere guys!).


Melody said...

Well, I had to look around for what's coming soon. BAIT, by Alex Sanchez, comes out in a few days and looks like it has some good writing! Eh, I only wish that Mockingjay was out...

Christina Lee said...

Oh yeah, i so loved this book !! Hated Sam in beginning and then liked her in the end-that's good writing!

Veronica Roth said...

This book has been staring at me from my shelf for a long time now, and I finally have time to read it, and now I'm really excited to do so, based on these comments. Woo!

Colleen said...

Sooo many great YA books out there hard to pick one, eh? How aboot 13 to Life by Shannon Delaney. It's aboot werewolves, eh. Sounds wicked cool.

Oh, Happy Canada day, eh! I'm off to enjoy some poutine and Beaver Tail.

J.S. Wood said...

Happy Canada Day!!!!

eh, eh, eh. :D

Hmath said...

Wish we could enter our own contest, eh.

I like Colleen's post - wherewolves AND sneaking in an "aboot".

I'd get the book just for the sake of that aboot.

WriterChick said...

Good thing this contest runs till the 9th, I'm still recovering from my Canada Day festivities (drinking cracked canoes while listening to the Bare Naked Ladies) and I still can't find my toque (I think the beaver stole it) and the gravy stain from my poutine won't come out of the carpet.

I recommend Stones by William Bell (a fellow Canuck)

Happy Canada Day eh!

Amber said...

Does it have to be Canadian, eh? If so, I'd recommend UNDER MY SKIN by Judith Graves, a new Canadian author. It also has spot illustrations/graphics by Canadian Val Cox.

If it doesn't have to be Canadian, I'd say ISLAND STING by Bonnie J. Doerr--better for younger teens. Also I second Colleen's suggestion for 13 to Life.

Any special points for using eh more than once, eh, eh??

Debra D. said...

Eh, aboot, ruff (translation: roof)


Laurie Lamb said...

Please do MOCKINGJAY, eh? I can hardly wait for that one!