Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: February 1st, 2011 by HarperTeen
Genre/s: YA, Dystopian Fiction, Romance
Synopsis: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.First line of Book:It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love. (from Goodreads.com)
After reading Before I Fall, I decided I’d read anything Lauren Oliver wrote. She writes amazing, you know that right? Well, now you do.
And, see, this was the very first book I've read by Lauren Oliver. And although I do agree that I really do like her writing, let me just say that my feelings for this book are kind of twisted.
Not twisted in a bad way, but twisted as in conflicted. But, we'll get to that a little later on. First, I loved the general premise of the book. That love is a disease and must be removed from the masses before it destroys the world.
I also loved the concept of this book, especially because love does sound like a disease, in the way it is described by the authorities, and the symptoms... my God! That part was so cool! I also liked the way even huge love stories (think R+J) and poems were distorted to prove the Government’s point of view, and that there are scientific articles about amor deliria nervosa (aka ”love”, though I think the first it way cooler) and its relation with other problems of Mankind. (Speaking of which, if you go to LO’s website, there are some pretty great “testimonials” of cured people and other things like that. Just so that you know...)
Oh, I had totally forgotten about that part! It cracked me up how those epic romance stories that end in tragedy were supposed to be lessons of why love was so horrible. Lauren Oliver made me really feel how it could be believed that love was a disease. Although, at one point in my life, I might have totally agreed with those who thought so, maybe I would have thought, thank heaven, take away the hurt and pain and give me numbness, because anyone who has had their heart broken knows the physical pain such an emotion causes. But, now that I have 2 children of my own, I could never imagine someone taking my love for them away. I would rather fling myself off the nearest cliff than that. Those with children, I hope you know what I'm talking about here. Because even though they have the power to break your heart down to the bitter core, they are a part of you and I just cannot fathom that being removed from me.
The main character of the book, and our narrator, Lena was a likable heroine. She was brave (even without knowing it) and strong-minded and stubborn. She matured so much from the beginning of the story, though in a believable way, I think.
Now Stray, this is something we've discussed (between us), and this is where my conflicting feelings come in to play. In the beginning of the book I didn't like Lena a ton. She was just so damn obedient. She goes where she is told and says what she is told, for the most part anyway. And in the very very beginning when she veers from the norm, it's weird to me because it doesn't seem within her character just yet. Like she experiences a growth that I haven't seen instilled in her yet. It's just a bit odd. I just had a hard time relating to her because of that obedience. Although, looking back, I don't think I would have noticed it as much if it wouldn't have been for Hana, her best friend. Still, I just had a really hard time relating to her.
Now that you mention it, comparing to Hana, she is kind of a goody-goody... But lets not forget how hard it is to change the way you view stuff if you've been raised to see them in a certain way. Lena did it eventually though.
Agreed, which is where my conflicting emotions come in, eventually she grows a bit and changes a bit and I could relate to her so much more. But at times, she still seems to hold back, to hold on to that obedience even though she doesn't want to. Like she wants the new world, but the old one too.
But, in the end, it's funny because even though Hana made me see the obedience of Lena as somewhat annoying we both know that Hana is different than she appears and Lena is actually the strength and determination in that friendship!
Yes, I was kind of shocked in the end by her choice. No, scratch that, I was very freaking shocked by her choice, it didn't seem like Hana at all.
And Alex, I loved him, the way he showed Lena the good things of the world, his patience and rebelliousness and when he tells Lena why he loves her... that was so sweet!
I. Love. Alex. Alex makes up for most everything. He was so wonderfully written and sweet. I loved him and the way he expresses himself. How he can see both sides of the picture and be so understanding even though he had to be frustrated as hell. My very, very favorite scene in this book is with him when he is reading poetry to Lena. Never before this book have I found that poetry was so beautiful, that it could make me float up with the stars. It was just glorious.
Oh yes, and then there is the plot. The plot had some not predictable (or maybe obvious) things, but there was a huge twist that left me gaping open-mouthed at the screen.
I would be in agreement there. It just kind of jumps in their and your like, "Nuh, uh!"
The ending was a cliffhanger, but I guess that’s the point – it’s a series, after all, but if you, like me, are afraid it will end like Uglies... I can’t tell you how it ends but it is not like Uglies (thank God for that).
So if you’re looking for a futuristic, anti-love society, with a couple of star-crossed lovers and some fantastic quotes, this is the book for you.
I actually expected that cliffhanger. Well, that's a lie, I had 2 versions of an ending in my head and that was one of them, so I half expected that ending. LOL! (and although it's not like Uglies, I really did like Uglies. - which is a whole other review *grins*)
Overall though, I really did like the book too. It was such a brilliant take on a dystopian world that I wouldn't be surprised to see one day. And even though it started off a bit slow for me, by halfway through the book I didn't want to put it down and by 3/4 through, Hubby was getting really ticked at my necessity to keep my kindle attached to my hands with imaginary super glue. So, even though I had a rough start where Lena is concerned, the rest was pretty brilliant. Therefore, if any of you are looking for some spectacular sunsets, some word salad, late night raids, horrific dog bites and a unique plot that will keep your mind running, you'll want to pick up this book.
Stray & Jen's Rating: 4/5
's Quote Picks:
"Hearts are fragile things. That's why you have to be so careful"
"Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything it two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.
Before and after-and during, a word no bigger or longer than an edge."
"Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it, and when you do not.
But that isn't it, exactly.
The condemner and the condemned. The executioner; the blade; the last-minute reprieve; the gasping breath and the rolling sky above you and the thank you, thank you, thank you, God.
's Quote Picks:
I keep willing the clock to go faster, but it seems to be resisting me deliberately. I see a customer picking her nose in the tiny aisle of (kind of) fresh produce; I look at the clock; look back at the customer; look back at the clock--and the second hand still hasn't moved. I have this terrible fear that time will stop completely, while this woman has her pinkie finger buried up her right nostril, right in front of the tray of wilted lettuce.
He doesn't answer me directly. He flips forward a few pages in the book, but he doesn't glance down at it. He keeps his eyes on me the whole time. "You want to hear a different one?" He doesn't wait for me to answer before beginning to recite, "'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.'"
There's that word again: love. My heart stops when he says it, then stutters into a frantic rhythm.
"'I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach...'"
I know he's only speaking someone else's words, but they seem to come from him anyway. His eyes are dancing with light; in each of them I see a bright point of candlelight reflected.
He takes a step forward and kisses my forehead softly.
"'I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need...'"
It feels as though the floor is swinging--like I'm falling. "Alex--." I start to say, but the word gets tangled in my throat.
He kisses each cheekbone--a delicious, skimming kiss, barely grazing my skin. "'I love thee freely...'"
"Alex," I say, a little louder. My heart is beating so fast I'm afraid it will burst from my ribs.