"You'll have no choice but to tear through this book!"

The above blurb is from Jay Asher. If you haven't read his 13 Reasons Why, pick up a copy--and you'll see why I'd be willing to read just about anything he recommends.

I love to ask editors about their favorite books, and last week, not one, but two mentioned Before I Fall--a work I'd been avoiding because, frankly, I'm not a fan of Groundhog Day.

But I got a copy, and it's true--after I got past my skepticism (it seems impossible that a story with this premise could be as good as it is), I totally tore through it.

Lauren Oliver has set up quite a task for herself--the bulk of the story is the same day repeated seven times--and yet it's always new, interesting, and--yes--the sort of thing one must rush through. It feels like time has frozen, and the protagonist can walk around the people in her life, finally realizing everyone's motivations--all while knowing she can do anything, try anything, and none of it matters--because she'll just wake up with a clean slate the next day.

Oliver does a great job with showing the inner workings of life at the top--her protagonist is one of the most popular girls in her school--and we get to watch her become more empathetic, more likable, more multidimensional.

This is another example of how works in the real world (albeit with a time twist) can be incredibly interesting.

I'm terribly behind on my "GK Recommends" list, but this work is most certainly on it.

16 comments:

Kelsey said...

Great review. I, too, loved this book.

The REALLY Real Curious Crow said...

Ooh--good to know! I just picked this and _The Rules of Survival_ by Nancy Werlin up yesterday! Finished Gayle Forman's _Where She Went_ and fell in absolute love.

E.Maree said...

I loved "Before I Fall" as well, it's fantastic - I was iffy at the start because 'popular girl' characters irritate me, but the scene description was brilliant and the ending worked perfectly.

Marsha Sigman said...

Just read this AGAIN last week. It's so good it deserved a second slower pass...especially since I did tear through the first time.

Connie Keller said...

Wow! I've never liked the repetitive stuff either. But if GK recommends it...it's worth a try.

Becca C. said...

I LOVE this book... it ends up being a lot more touching and deep and beautiful than it first seems, doesn't it?

Don said...

Yeah...I've been kinda waiting for that "list" for a long time now...but at least this is a start, GK. :) This looks like something quirky, so I can't wait to read it! When I picked up the book Birthmarked, I was definitely a reluctant reader, but as soon as I jumped in, I was hooked. It sounds like the same thing happened to you here. Thanks for the heads-up on this one!

Gladspooky said...

I don't know, I think the Groundhog Day premise is as solid as they come. It's hard to avoid character development when literally the only thing that can change is how the characters interact with each other even though everything else in the world is static. Brilliant. I just wish I had thought of it first.

Agency Gatekeeper said...

Don,
I know! I know! I'm just terrified of leaving something out.

Maybe I'll find a way to start it, link to it on the side, and add to it as I go. Yes. Maybe.

Agency Gatekeeper said...

Becca,
Yes, definitely. And I agree with E.Maree; I was annoyed with some of the seemingly shallow aspects at the beginning--but, when looking at the work as a whole, they're necessary.

Agency Gatekeeper said...

Gladspooky,
It's brilliant but also quite a task for a writer. If you can pull that off--making the same plot interesting the seventh time around--well, that's a lot of skill right there.

Stacey Wunsch said...

I bought this book as soon as it came out and it certainly didn't disappoint. I too, would read anything Jay Asher recommends. 13 Reasons Why was brilliant. I would also read anything else GK recommends. That's how I discovered Zel and The Particular Sadness of a Lemon Cake. You have impeccable taste. :) Keep 'em coming!

Gladspooky said...

True. That's probably what bogs down the real Groundhog Day, now that I think about it. Mr. Asher was correct. I'm going to have to check this out.

Eileen said...

I liked this one too- did you read her second book- Delusion? Thought that was another great premise.

Gail Shepherd said...

I adored BIF too, and I don't tend to love Y/A overmuch (I'm solidly middle grade). Her emotional transformation is so deftly rendered and feels so real, you have no choice but to, well, tear through the book.

Don said...

GK,
Just picked up Asher's 13 Reasons Why. I couldn't make it through the first TEN pages without crying! Oh, my, what an amazing premise!I'm pretty sure even with teaching in full-swing for me, I will digest that book in a few days! Now THAT'S the kind of book I hope to write one day!I ordered Before I Fall too.
Don