Tag Archive | 3.5

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall Cover

Before I Fall Details

February 12th, also known as ‘Cupid Day’ for senior Samantha Kingston at Thomas Jefferson High School. Every American High School has a day like this. Students buy flowers, write a message and send them to whomever throughout the day. It’s a race for popularity to see who receives the most. Sam’s one of the most popular girls in school along with her best friends Lindsay, Ally and Elody. Her boyfriend Rob is the hottest guy in school and tonight she’s going to lose her virginity to him.

With popularity comes a way to act and for Sam this is no different. Cruel and cold to all the other students in her class, she doesn’t bat an eye to painful pranks pulled by Lindsay against her enemy Juliet Sykes. When the group attend a party by geeky guy Kent in school, Sam watches as her life pools at her feet. Tired and drunk from the festivities, Sam sits in the front of the car as Lindsay gets behind the wheel. They were supposed to make it home, Sam is too young to die, but the car hits something and suddenly she’s falling.

However, that isn’t the end of Sam’s story as she wakes up to a brand new February 12th. Stuck in the ‘in between’, Sam must figure why she’s reliving her last day on Earth. A journey of self-discovery that comes too late, Samantha Kingston, this was your life.

This is the kind of book that you might not originally like whilst reading, but it’s after you finish that it creeps into your heart. Sam Kingston is your typical mean girl and I really struggled with her character throughout most of the book. Her redeeming qualities took forever to come about and I felt as if most of the novel was just an excuse for her to piss all over everyone simply because she could.

Yet, the ending gives me what I want and as each day begins anew there’s a little bit more of Sam that is less snobbish and more genuine. This isn’t a story of the Mean Girls; it’s a story behind every insecure teenager trying to get through High School in one piece. Sam does evolve and I grew to like her for learning to stand up for herself. This is the kind of book that does take you back to those four years when everyone though they were invincible, that the future was bright and open. You’ll anxiously await turning the pages, wondering what Sam is going to do or learn next.

Many thanks to Stacey of PrettyBooks for this book!

Fallen by Lauren Kate

A truly spectacular cover.

It’s rare to find a book that only has one cover around the world.

Lucinda Price is seventeen, has had her head shaved by her parents and deposited at the Sword & Cross reform school. It’s gonna be a great year.  Her first day is filled with meeting the other students, following the rules and him. Daniel: the fellow teenager that can only be described as beautiful. As their eyes meet, Luce’s heart thumps madly and Daniel, he flips her off.

There’s something about that him that prevents Luce was staying away. She’s drawn to him like a former lover, but with every step she gains he pushes her further away. As she tries to adjust to this caged life, Luce’s feelings are constricted between for desire for Daniel and affection for the thoughtful and charming Cam. With tough and rebellious reform school girls making her life a living nightmare, Luce is determined to keep her secret that landed her in this place a secret. But there’s more to this world of Sword & Cross and Luce is stuck in the middle of it. 

I liked the premise of Fallen. It had a good mix of mystery but for adults like me I could still make some educated guesses. I love, love, loved that this was set in a reform boarding school! This isn’t a privileged boarding school, but a dark and dismal setting that really made the world come alive. For some kids, this is their life. It’s a jail that serves as a school where the teachers try but after so many years….

It’s good versus evil mashed with a love triangle. Who does the reader want our Luce to end up with? Cam or Daniel? Daniel or Cam? This is the current YA of excellence and it made me feel like I was seventeen again. Yet, there’s so much more to the story and this first book only lightly touches on the countless secrets that the main characters are holding within. The series finished this year and I am beyond excited that I can read through the rest at my leisure. I hope Kate is able to keep the story going with more depth rather than just focusing on forbidden love. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Nora Dearly is currently trying to adjust to her once empty home becoming overrun with the undead. But in the nice cohabiting way, not running and screaming kind. With the Siege over and a vaccine found it seems there is finally hope for the living to move and rebuild alongside the dead. During a public execution however, a zombie becomes out of control and bites others. Some who have had the vaccine, but now are infected…

This is new strain of the Laz could ruin everything Nora’s father has worked for. It’s only the start as masked vigilantes start parading around town kidnapping zombies that never return. To continue a peaceful world Nora’s father is going to have to discover the root of this new infection and take down the zombie-harming group. As is those were the only problems. A gathering group of zombies called the ‘Changed’ continue to increase and they want the dangerous zombie that is somehow the beginning of answers to this undead puzzle.

My first reaction: Too long, just way too long for my taste. Perhaps it’s because I’m not huge fan of Steampunk, but I like my YA’s way under 500 pages. For those that do love zombies, romance and everything that is Steampunk, you’ll not be disappointed by Habel’s amazing continuation of her Gone With the Respiration series. What I did enjoy was the chance to see the world through previous antagonists’ Michael Allister and Vespertine Mink’s eyes. New character Laura is also gives a fresh perspective outside of the Z Corp world from the debut book and I praise Habel in her voicing talent.

Whereas the first book is about discovering and mystery, this second continuation focuses on politics. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but that’s not to say others won’t fall in love with the story further. Characters grow and relationships deepen. The cruelty of living and breathing humanity against those that are different is frighteningly current. Although set in the future, this is a modern piece of work underneath the fictional pretence. I did feel that this book left me wanting something different, but that’s me and others looking to venture back to New Victoria you will be welcomed back with open (and sometimes undead) arms.

Buy it now! (US only)

Many thanks to publisher Random House Publishing Group and author Lia Habel for providing this ARC!