Thursday, April 30, 2015

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
Source: Library
Pages: 256
Publisher: Random House Books
Release Date: May 26th 2009
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Pass

SummaryFinn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she? 

Review: This book was hot and cold. There were moments where it was just so spot on. But then there were the other times where everything drew a blank. I truly think that this is a hit or miss kind of book. For me, this was a miss unfortunately.

First of all, the characters. I couldn't relate or connect in any way whatsoever. I felt for them, that's for sure, but I don't think they were developed thoroughly enough. I got glimpses of each of them, but I never really saw the whole of them, not even Finn, who I actually got to learn about more, since this book is about her life and told from her point of view. There were some random people thrown in, similar to what I'd compare to extras in a movie. They didn't have a specific role or purpose, yet they rolled on by and subsequently left unnoticed. Character development is always important, and I just don't think there was enough going on with them to be able to connect with them and thus the story.

I think that the base of this plot was a good one. But it was all predictable. I always had a guess as to what happened, what was happening, and what was about to happen, and each time, I was correct. I had speculations as to what happened with Finn and Adam Porter and The Party, and my speculations were confirmed. I had a feeling about what would happen with Finn and Jersy and Audrey as well, and that happened.

Then there were some loose ends. I never really truly understood what happened between Finn's mom and dad. It was all unclear to me, and it was a messy conflict. I was going back and forth between the whole family as they went through it all, but I honestly couldn't follow. It just wasn't too organized and when the book reached its last page, the family issues hit a dead end, leading nowhere even though there were different possible outcomes. Plus, the whole thing with Finn and Audrey and Jersy was so complicated and odd. It's like they were the best of friends (and more) while also being the worst of friends (and more). It was all too dramatic and jumbled up and a bit abrupt. 

I really wanted to like One Lonely Degree, but nothing seemed to click. While it would definitely appeal to some (like I said, definitely hit or miss), I'd say that it'd be more worth it to read something else. Even though there were some defining moments, overall, this wasn't a cohesive book. There are better books out there that would be more enjoyable to read.

Could've been better

Monday, April 27, 2015

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Source: Library
Pages: 384
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 21st 2015
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Buy

SummaryDay 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

Review: I've been looking forward to reading this since I first saw it during a Goodreads book browsing binge (where I click, add to list, click, add to list, click...), which seems like forever ago. This was when I didn't look at the release date, because I was so caught up in the excitement of finding a seemingly interesting book. This was when I then went online to see if my library had it, only to see that I had to put a hold on it because it was being ordered. Because it hadn't been released yet. Obviously I went into denial. It was obviously a mistake... right? Oh, but it wasn't. I checked over the release date on Goodreads, the one that I had skimmed past, and saw the date: April 21st 2015. I (basically) cried. You have to know that I saw this on a book browsing binge back in January. That's a really long time. 

But no worries, because on April 22nd, I got the holy grail of emails. It was from my library and it simply said, "Your book is ready to be picked up." Cue the (mental) screams and (internal) dance party. I raced (just kidding... I drove at the speed limit because, you know, I've got to follow the law) to the library and saw the angels.. err, book, and checked it out. Like, literally. I stared at it for awhile because it was just so pretty. It was brand new, like, brand new, brand new. I was the first person in my library's system to check this book out (SCORE!), and boy, was I checking it out. Then I realized I was standing there like an idiot, so I checked it out for real, went home, and plopped down and started reading. 

And I didn't stop until it was done, and wow, what a whirlwind of a story. The main conflict of this book is cheating, which is something that I'm not exactly a fan of, but I found that I really liked this story. It was funny, interesting, and cute. And I liked it... a lot.

Molly goes through a lot in 99 Days. I won't say that I agree with all that she does, because, quite frankly, I don't. However, I could see and understand her struggles. Having your personal problems get displayed to the world through a best-selling novel that's written by your mother is something else. And becoming a social outcast because of it? That's just the worst. Everybody makes mistakes, and Molly is no different, but still, not being able to work out everything in private is a terrifying prospect. But having it ready and available for the whole world? That's on a whole different scale, and it was something that Molly had to face. 

Honestly, I don't think there's much I can truly say about this book without spoiling anything. Besides, no words can give this book the justice it deserves, except for the book itself. Let me tell you though, the dynamics were great. All the characters had a place, and they were pretty awesome, even though they all made some pretty questionable decisions. There is a love triangle, so if you're a fan of that, I say go for this book. And, well, if you're not? I still say go for it.

99 Days is written beautifully, and everything I felt during my long period of anticipation (which funnily enough, I just realized was roughly 99 days...) was well worth it. I'm so glad that I finally got to read this. I got to dive into a world that touches base with some pretty sensitive topics and through it, I saw a girl grow and mature into someone whole and true. The ending was bittersweet, necessary, and full of possibilities. And that was truly the perfect way to end it. Molly Barlow, it sure was nice to meet you. Here's to another 99 days.

Really enjoyed

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Source: Library
Pages: 336
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Buy

SummaryIt begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven?

It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that's as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl's journey through life's challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

Review: Love Letters to the Dead is a book that will send you on an epic and emotional journey. I experienced pretty much every possible emotion known to man kind while reading this. It's completely amazing.

The concept of an entire book written in letters took me back to when I used to read the Dear Dumb Diary series. Except here, the main character, Laurel, isn't writing to her dumb diary, but to famous people... who are dead. It's something that I haven't really encountered before, and delving further into the book, I just got increasingly attached to the book as a whole, with its many wonderful charactersboth dead and aliveand the life Laurel lives as she works on discovering herself. 

Usually, I don't enjoy books filled with drama, but this was one of those rare exceptions. Because let me tell you, it may not seem like it, but this is one drama-filled book. There are so many twists and turns that could've been annoying and unpleasant, but Ava Dellaira really made the normal dramatics of a teenager's life into something more. She wove all the drama into something that was more, something that was better. She created something breathtakingly beautiful.

I absolutely loved the characters. Everybody played a part in the story. The people you'd think are minor and insignificant characters? Not so much. It'd turn out that those were the people that played the pivotal role in the story. Talk about shockers. But I have to say that Laurel was by far my favorite. Her raw emotion was unlike anything else. Her voice and genuineness spilled out of the pages and into my heart and soul. I felt everything with her and discovered everything with her and lived everything with her. I'm telling you, it's an emotional ride. And I'm just going to say this as a warning; there was definitely some tear action going on while I was reading. 

This is (probably, most likely, kind of definitely) breaking the rules, since Laurel only writes to the dead, but I imagine she'd make an exception so that she could say something like this:

Dear Ava Dellaira,

Thanks for paving a path for me. Thanks for allowing me to find myself along the way. And thank you for using your genius ways to create me. 

You rock.



Because if I were Laurel, that's exactly what I'd want to tell my creator and her beautiful way with words. And since I'm obviously not a fictional character and can only speak for myself, I've got to say that Love Letters to the Dead is a complete masterpiece. Poignant to the end, Laurel takes you on a trip of a lifetime through her letters to the dead. I'll be reading this again for sure. 

Pure perfection

Monday, April 20, 2015

Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass

Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Source: Library
Pages: 376
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 30th 2014
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Pass

Summary: If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

Review: I had been looking forward to reading this book, but unfortunately, was left feeling very disappointed. The summary seemed to be quite unique and interesting, leaving me compelled to read it. But once I opened it, I felt the desire to close it again. Because it wasn't what I was expecting at all. And it wasn't a good kind of unexpectedness.

I was shocked by how mean, cruel, reckless, and, quite frankly, idiotic (but still, the list goes on) the girls were in this book. The whole idea of keeping your heart intact is definitely okay, but the way the characters in this book went about it was just the opposite. It was not okay on any level. 

There was so much going on that I didn't know what to think. I couldn't process because everything was a big, jumbled mess. I really didn't see any clear and stable plot line being followed and one terrible thing turned into another, and another. For me, the bad moments kept multiplying, and it just wouldn't stop.

I could see why I wanted to read this, because if done right, I think it could've gone really well. But it went in the wrong direction for my taste. It wasn't organized, and I really disliked how the characters were made to act and speak and think. I couldn't relate at all. In fact, all I could really do was judge and dislike and mentally knock my head against a wall. No offense.

To be honest, I almost didn't finish this. There were so many times I just wanted to stop and quit, but I didn't because I honestly hate not finishing what I start. Plus, I kept thinking that it would get better. To my dismay, it didn't get better. In fact, I thought it got a bit worse. I was glad when I hit the ending though, because that meant I was done and would no longer be succumbed to what I could only describe as vanity and unpleasantness rolled into one way-too-long book. If I were to go back in time, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have gotten my hopes up for a good book, and I wouldn't have even picked up, much less finished, Love & Other Theories. 

Highly dislike 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Source: Library
Pages: 304
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1st 2011
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Pass

SummaryThree days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.

Review: After reading Catch a Falling Star, I really wanted to see what else Kim Culbertson had in store. Turns out, she has a few other books that were published earlier. This plot line seemed the most interesting of the books she has published, besides Catch a Falling Star of course, for two reasons. One, there is a list. And I absolutely love lists. Two, Italy. Enough said. So I cracked this book open and off to Italy I went.

But it wasn't what I expected. For something that turned out to be extremely momentous in the main character's life, the turning point of the story, which really was the beginning of it all, happened really blandly. It was expected, yet there was no wow factor. It was just another page to turn and for me, the plot line moved too slowly.

I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the lists and how it all went down. Jessa's best friend leaves her a list of things to do, and they're things that Jessa normally wouldn't do under any circumstance. Yet she does them anyway. They're supposed to make her feel better, but while I could see the changes in her emotions, I don't think the letters were very effective. What is revealed towards the end if what I felt was the whole purpose of the letters--to lessen the blow of a secret withheld. But even that seemed like a simple sort of problem. 

I wasn't able to truly connect with any of the characters. I didn't think they were fully formed enough to really side with or laugh alongside or relate to. There were definitely some really funny and interesting  characters, but I do wish that I could've known more. For example, I wish I knew more about the best friend who made the envelopes for Jessa. She was very important to Jessa, seeing as how they were best friends, but I only got a glimpse of who she was, and even at the end of the book, there wasn't much more that was learned.

That being said, Instructions for a Broken Heart was still an enjoyable read. The immersion of Italian culture was vivid, and there were many funny moments. While I do wish it was executed in a more thorough way, the idea was fun and interesting. And even though I didn't like this book as much as I was hoping to, I'm glad to say that, so far, I haven't felt the need to write a list about why. But hey, I do love a good list.

Eh, it was alright

Monday, April 13, 2015

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Source: Library
Pages: 384
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Buy

SummarySamantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. 

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Review: I've heard many great things about Jennifer L. Armentrout, but this is the first of her books that I've read. What drew me in at first was the cover. It looked eerie, unnerving, and all kinds of creepy. So obviously, I had to take a look, and the summary made me want to start reading immediately. 

This book was really interesting for me because it dwells on a few very serious subject matters while simultaneously tackling some seemingly lesser ones. Yet this book really opened my eyes in that while some things may seem superficial or insignificant, oftentimes, they interconnect with the more heavy topics. 

Sam's character was fascinating. Her odd behavior and extreme circumstances left her peers wondering how they should act. The portrayal of her new self and old self had me reeling with interest and confusion. I didn't know how to react to learning about her old self and learning about how drastically different her new self was. Funny how things work though. That confusion is precisely what made me so interested. It just goes to show that no matter what happens, it's never too late to become a better person. And although this isn't exactly what happens in the book, since in Sam's case, it's not exactly a change she had a choice in, her character shows that taking everything that happens in stride and learning more about yourself every step of the way, is something that can be both a rude awakening as well as a pleasant surprise. 

The relationships Sam has had in the past in the platonic, romantic, and family categories were very different compared to the ones that she builds after her memory loss. I really liked how she found new interests and developed new feelings because of her newfound personality. Also, her transformation from a ruthless mean girl to a caring and compassionate human being was really refreshing to read. Seeing Sam develop in every possible aspect is one of the many things that made this book so wonderful.

And the plot... holy smokes. There were so many twists and turns and just, wow. I have to say that when I read, I can sometimes jump to conclusions. During this book, I was reading one thing all the while thinking that so and so did this and so and so did that, and isn't it all just so obvious?! Except obviously I was wrong every single time I assumed something because every single time, something extremely unexpected happened, and well, it's sufficient to say that I was wrong. So completely and cluelessly wrong. And I've got to say that I kind of liked that? I mean, being wrong is one thing, because hopes and expectations have been built up, but in this case, I really enjoyed it... being wrong that is. That's because the reality of what was unraveling in the book hit me even harder and I was just completely blown away from all the amazingness, and I loved it.

Don't Look Back definitely had some hard to like moments, because for me, it's tough to sympathize with mean people. But there were so many amazing finding yourself moments as well, and those definitely outweighed the not as enjoyable parts of the book. Plus, there's so much suspense, drama, action, unexpectedness (the kind that makes you enjoy being wrong of course), and, let's not forget, fantastically crafted creepiness. I'm so glad that I can finally say that I have read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book because wowzers, she does not disappoint. I'm definitely going to be reading this again, because it's so creepy that it's fantastic.

Really enjoyed

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank
Source: Library
Pages: 272
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Borrow

SummaryThis novel-in-verse—at once literary and emotionally gripping—follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital room and an illness.

Chess, the narrator, is sick, but with what exactly, she isn’t sure. And to make matters worse, she must share a hospital room with Shannon, her polar opposite. Where Chess is polite, Shannon is rude. Where Chess tolerates pain silently, Shannon screams bloody murder. Where Chess seems to be getting slowly better, Shannon seems to be getting worse. How these teenagers become friends, helping each other come to terms with their illness, makes for a dramatic and deeply moving read.

Review: After reading Elevated, I knew that I liked novels in verse. Seeing the synopsis for this book, along with the artful cover and unusual title placement (not to mention its cleverness and truthfulness), I also knew that this was a book that I had to pick up. 

This is definitely a book with peculiar formatting. Before the book begins, there is a "HOW TO READ THIS BOOK" page. That definitely intrigued me because the author explains that there is curtain on the pages to represent the curtain in the book. You see, the entire story takes place in a hospital room (with occasional flashbacks to events that took place outside the hospital) where Chess shares a room with a sad old lady and an aggressive girl. That girl is Shannon, who Chess ends up befriending as they talk through open and closed curtains. And I thought it was really cool how the line appeared when the curtains were drawn and then disappeared when open. It was definitely one of the most creative and visually appealing ways to read a book. 

There was a bit of mystery throughout the book because at first, it was unknown what Chess was ill with. Then, Shannon seemed to know what Chess had because she said that she had the same thing, so it was obvious to her. But then, I, as a reader, didn't really know what it was that Shannon had either. And then later, nobody in the story had any idea what had happened between Chess and David, the boy that she like. Well, obviously Chess knew, but for a better portion of the book, she wasn't telling. I felt that this worked really well for the plot because it really kept the book moving along, leading up to revelations and newfound knowledge.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters Chess and Shannon. They were extremely refreshing and genuine. Chess was the more subdued and calm character... at first. She rarely got mad, but when she did, oh boy. Shannon, however, was a different story. She was aggressive, rude, and confrontational. But she was honest, with an awesome fondness of the word, "yo." I found that both characters were very funny, kind, and strong despite everything that was happening. Plus, I thought it was really funny when they started shouting, because the words just popped out at me in all caps, and I just sat there reading, imagining the scene of outburst unraveling.

The topic of this book is a serious one. I actually hadn't heard much about this particular disease before, but after reading this, I know how severe and life changing it is. Because I don't know much, I can't really relate to it, but the authenticity of the characters' voices and thoughts could make me feel with them. 

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling is one of the most unique books that I have ever read. The way it was written was beautiful, and I loved the characters. It's a quick read, but by no means is it a light read. The heavy topics, funny moments, and genuine characters make this book shine. The ending poem was beautiful, making the ending of this book so bittersweet. This is a book that I'm very glad to have opened.

Really enjoyed

Monday, April 6, 2015

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
Source: Library
Pages: 569
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: July 1st 2003
Series: Robert Langdon; Book 1
Verdict: Buy

SummaryAn ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target. 

When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol -- seared into the chest of a murdered physicist -- he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy -- the Catholic Church.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.

Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.

Review: If you enjoy action packed novels revolving around ancient history and modern times, this is the book for you. This book is life changing. I honestly couldn't put it down. There's just so much mystery, suspense, and amazingness. Dan Brown is my new hero. Well, Robert Langdon is, but Dan Brown created him... so yeah. Enough said. 

Words cannot describe how good this is. Actually, lots of words can, but I'm just being dramatic. Dan Brown has created a truly magical experience. And I don't use that word lightly, because, Harry Potter. Again, enough said. 

I absolutely loved how there was a use of alternating point of views and locations. Plus, a lot of the times, I had no idea who was speaking exactly or where the speaker was speaking from. That of course spurred me on, because I just had to know what happened next.

I have to say that it can get gory and violent and all kinds of things that can cause queasiness. I was actually reading this while I was eating lunch, and I got to a particularly gruesome part, and my appetite kind of totally just went away. Luckily, the plot was too good for me to give up the book. So I just gave up the food. Choices, choices. Anyway, just putting that out there. Don't be scared off though, because it's the kind of appetite altering horrific-ness that makes Angels & Demons super fab.

The characters were great, and they all just had this chemistry that was undeniable. Especially Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra. They made a superbly awesome duo. They were really cool, intelligent, and straight up fearless. Basically, they're the heroes of the historical and scientific world. 

This was definitely a whirlwind of a book. I almost couldn't wrap my mind around how fast-paced it was. Key word: almost. The quickness is what makes this book so good. Keep in mind that the entire book takes place over the course of a little more than six hours. It's a truly intense book. And I say that in the best possible way, because for me, the intensity is one of the book's many winning qualities.

And the ending. Oh, the ending. It had me literally reeling. I was shocked for days. After finishing the book, I kept thinking back to the ending and my mind consisted of this and only this: What? Why? How? What?! 

Delving into a dangerous and fatal world, Angels & Demons takes on the journey of finding a killer and saving a society. Anytime I have a hankering for a world of action, violence, and extreme knowledge (I honestly think that either my head exploded from information overload or it simply grew because of my newfound knowledge of ancient history and symbology. Kidding. Kind of.), I know that I can turn to Dan Brown. However, now I need more, more, more. It's a good thing that Dan Brown decided to write multiple Robert Langdon books, because this stuff is amazing. The Da Vinci Code here I come!

Pure perfection

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Source: Library
Pages: 496
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 2nd 2010
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Buy

SummaryWhat 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.
Review: I've heard so many great things about this book. I've actually had this on my list of must read books for awhile, so I'm not sure why I've skipped by this one, because it's seriously a do-not-must-not-skip kind of book. It's so, so amazing. I absolutely loved the concept of reliving the day before you die. It definitely could have gotten messed up along the way, but Lauren Oliver really executed. Like, it was really, seriously, amazing. Like holy smokes, I cannot believe I waited so long to read this. That kind of amazing. 

Sam is one of the most popular girls at her school, but she's not exactly known for being nice. Her relationship with her friends is kind of complicated. As the story progresses, Sam realizes just how mean her and her friends are, and there are moments of retaliation and also moment of acceptance. It turns out the their mean girl group image is deeper than it seems on the surface. Despite their cruelty and ignorance to other people's feelings, their friendship is extremely tight. They're close knit, and seeing them develop through every one of the seven takes of the day Sam dies was one of the many enjoyable aspects of this book. 

Before I Fall tackles the mysterious questions of what happens before death, what happens during death, and what happens after death. I think there's been a point in everybody's life where they have wondered what happens when death arrives, and I am no different. After reading this, I think that getting the chance to live your last day again and again until you've righted all your wrongs can be both amazing, as well as haunting. 

What I found to be really cool was how while Sam relives her last day over and over again, she experiences the five stages of grief. She denies everything that's happening at first, scared. Then she gets angry, lashing out at those she loves. After that comes her attempt at bargaining lives and fate. And then she gets extremely sad, believing there is nothing else she can do. Finally, she comes to term with her situation, accepting that the final result is unavoidable. The way this is woven into the story is really unique, and it makes the book even more fantastic.

There were definitely some parts where I was kind of sort of hating on the characters. I mean, not actual hate hate, but like a why did you just do that hate. If that makes sense. It's just that there were times when the characters were just so mean, and I couldn't stand that. I understand that it was part of the growth process, but that didn't mean that I had to like the bullying! However, that being said, I wouldn't take those moments out for the world, because they really put this story together. Without those relentlessly mean moments, Before I Fall wouldn't be the story it is. 

And then there were the actual supporting characters. Well, they weren't actually supporting characters, I suppose, since they all played such a huge role. But in the end, Sam was the main main character. It was really hard to fully dislike Sam's three best friends, Lindsay, Elody, and Ally. Yes, they were mean. Yes, they could be self-centered at times. And yes, they were pretty reckless. But their weird loyalty and love for each other just couldn't be looked over. It was an extremely unfamiliar, odd, but beautiful friendship. 

But then there was Rob, Sam's boyfriend, who I definitely disliked. He was just a total tool. No offense... to him. And he could just be so entirely clueless while acting like a complete jerk face. Not cool. Kent, however, was pretty cool indeed. His personality and hopeful demeanor were just so adorable and like-worthy. Kent, I definitely liked. 

Of course, there were the other extremely important characters, some of which include not so psycho Juliet, bundle of cute little sister Izzy, and more than meets the eye Anna. I honestly loved every single character, even the ones who weren't likable. Yup, that means that I even liked Rob. Because without him, Before I Fall wouldn't be Before I Fall

This book was over the top phenomenal. The ending was just so beautiful. And I completely fell in love. I definitely see Before I Fall becoming a staple in my favorite books collection, because I just know that I will want to read this again... and again, and again, and again. 

Pure perfection