“I feel like a curtain has dropped away and I’m seeing people for who they really are, different, and sharp, and unknowable.” Before I fall by Lauren Oliver is spell-binding stand alone that holds you captive till its very last words. On the outside, Samantha Kingston has the perfect life– popular friends, hot boyfriend, decent grades, and so forth. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the inside. Swept in popularity, Samantha is an active bystander to her friends’ victimization of the other not-so-popular students of this high school; she doesn’t think her boyfriend reciprocates her feelings and isn’t sure about her feelings for him either; she does not have a standing relationship with any member of her family. Yet horrifyingly, Samantha does not see anything wrong with her life. A tragic car accident after a party gone wrong opens her eyes to the flaws and gives her the chance to mend them by making her relive different variations of her death day over and over again. Will Samantha find a way to put an end to this recurring pattern? Will she mend her broken life ? Right her many wrongs? Find out.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good high school drama with a light supernatural twist. Anyone who enjoys in-depth characters with a good character arc would enjoy this book. If you are looking for a light read, I would not recommend this book. A warning to note: there is mild swearing, drinking and smoking in this book. Overall, I really liked this book and maybe you will,too.
Sahana rates this book 3.7/5
“The flame balls spun in the air like fiery birds being consumed. They turned to harmless ash before they ever hit anything below.” Burn Baby Burn evolves around Nora, a high school senior in 1977, one of New York’s most infamous years. While New York City is spiraling out of control with various fires and a mysterious serial killer, Nora is struggling with her own problems at home. Her father is too busy with his new family; her mother is dealing with a delicate financial situation; and her brother is becoming more and more insane. All Nora wants to do is turn eighteen and escape from her broken family, but through her final adventures as a high school student, Nora discovers ways to fight the fires that trouble her instead of just running away from them.
I enjoyed reading Burn Baby Burn, because I was able to connect with some of Nora’s dilemmas, since we are in the same grade. (Though Nora is in a much tougher situation than I am.) I also liked all the 1977 historical references. I just wished Nora’s younger brother went through more character development instead of being a portrayed as a jerk for the entire story. However, Nora’s awesomeness makes up for all her brother’s deficiencies. I liked how Nora was able to mature from a girl who wants to run away to a woman with a hopeful future and the courage to BURN. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes a strong female protagonist and realistic fiction.
Cassandra rates this book 4/5
I loved the book for all its quirkiness. It made fun of the “generic” YA plot in a magic realism way (treated the magic and outrageous activity like an afterthought or ordinary). The characters were well-rounded, full of realistic flaws but posed in a lovable light. There is not much plot that involves our main characters, is mostly a coming-of-age story while craziness rages on in the background. Also, there’s a quarter-god of cats.
I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a twist on the usual YA novels or values characters over plot. There is no explicit mentions of violence but there is romance.
Natalie rates this book 5/5 stars.