Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1: Two for Tuesday: If I Stay & Before I Fall

I started the series with a confession.  Why stop now?

Current library stats:
Items out:  78
Items on hold: 8

Sometimes people think I'm kidding, lying, or --in the very least-- exaggerating about how many library books I have out on a regular basis.  Unless, of course, they've seen me lugging my library bag out of the library like I'm sneaking out a dead body.  Then they know the truth:  I'm obsessed.

I love having tons of book holds out at once because it adds an element of surprise to my reading life.  You never know which ones will become available when.  Last week the element of surprise seemed too coincidental to be coincidence.  Like maybe a librarian was setting me up for a great compare and contrast post.  So here it is:

These two eerily similar novels popped up with my name on them on the same day.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  Not to give too much away, but both involve a car accident and a young girl hovering between life and death.  Truth be told, I was a little nervous every time I sat in a moving vehicle last week.  I kept imagining myself getting impaled from the side.

I have a thing for first sentences.

At the outset of Before I Fall  Samantha Kingston dies in a car accident, only to wake up in her bed the next day.  Alive.  Only it isn't really the next day; it's that day.  Again.  And again, and again.  Seven times, Sam relives that fated day in very Groundhog's Day fashion.  While it was probably impossible for me to completely enjoy a looping story sans Bill Murray, I did appreciate the exploration of the range of responses the situation could evoke.  From desperation, fearlessness, destruction, joy and purpose.  I am not a fan of the ending.  I may be in the minority on this one, but I was hoping for more.   However, there were moments of brightness and redemption that still salvage the story for me.  If I can leave a book with some beautiful moments and memorable sentences in my head, overall, I'm happy.

After finishing Before I Fall , I really had to gear up for reading another book that opens with a car accident.  I think I even squeezed in a really light read between the two books, so I could get a good night's sleep without dreaming of airbags.  

One of the beauties of Gayle Forman's If I Stay is its length.  A slim little book, If I Stay  doesn't feel pressured to drown itself in excess words.  A beautiful, complex moment in time is woven so succinctly.  Forman had me rooting for life, silently cheering on young Mia.  And I like that.  The original cover art is so fitting:  the beauty, fragility and ferocity of life, longing to bloom even in bleak and barren times.  While it isn't really a page turner, I savored it.  I closed the cover with a satisfied smile.  And then put the companion book on hold at the library.

The beauty of a first line.

i love this.  


Have you read either title?  What did you think?  I LOVE chatting about books. 
I'd love to hear your favorite part...  Any other book fanatics out there?


Click here to read Day 2: 

Or click the image below to read the series from the beginning.


  1. You're still my favorite blogger that I discovered from last years link up. :)
    Can't wait to see what book you'll recommend this year. I'm just barely starting to read YA fiction. I read and liked the Hunger Games series and LOVED Divergent/Insurgent several years ago (thankfully before the movie craze or I probably would have never read them...I usually snub fad books). I like Veronica Roth books so much that I pre-ordered the third in the series that comes out this month, which is something I don't think I've ever done before.
    I also thought the Chemical Garden trilogy was interesting and was incredibly depressed by both The Book Thief and The Fault in Our Stars.
    I'm pretty sure those are all of the YA books I've read recently, so I'm looking forward to your suggestions.

    Rebekah @ Somewhere in the Middle
    (Any idea why it won't let me comment with any credentials other than Google? I use self-hosted Wordpress.)

    1. Hi Rebekah! Hmmm...I'm not sure why it wouldn't let you comment with your Wordpress site. Odd. I'll see if I can figure it out.

      I haven't read the Chemical Garden trilogy -- I will add those to my hold list. I LOVED both The Book Thief and The Fault in Our Stars. They did both make me sob, but in a good way. They will probably make an appearance this month. You'll have to avert your eyes. =)

    2. Also - I'm excited that you're doing 31 days too!

  2. Joining you from the Nester's challenge. I LOVED both of these books. And I think If I Stay has a sequel. It's been a few years since I read them.

    Totally loved them though!

  3. I've thought of reading If I Stay, but just wasn't sold on it. I may reconsider my stance.

    1. It's so short - you really have nothing to lose. =)

  4. I enjoyed Before I Fall. And I adored Kent. Was totally hoping for a different ending, though.

    1. I loved Kent too. Which was part of the reason that I didn't love the ending. I felt like she wasn't fair to him in that last redo of that day...


Thanks for joining the conversation!