RTW: Best Book of June


From YA Highway:

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question to write about on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
Best Book of June

First question: what happened to June?  

I've read seven books this month, a decent number.  It might have been more but rereading THE HANDMAID'S TALE for book club slowed me down a bit.  And the truth is, I haven't quite finished the book I'm choosing for Best Book, although I'm sure I'll finish before the end of June.  In fact, I'm sure I'll finish by the end of Wednesday.

goodreads
I've chosen BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver.

You might be asking this question: Hello, where has she been?  Well, I've picked it up at the bookstore and set it back down dozens of times.  There was just something about it that didn't quite grab me.

I recently read Oliver's DELIRIUM and am on the library waiting list for PANDEMONIUM.  And then one day while browsing at the library on my lunch break, I found BEFORE I FALL. 



I don't even know what to say, where to begin.  I liked DELIRIUM a lot - strong writing, compelling characters and situation.  But BEFORE I FALL?  Wow.  

From Goodreads:
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Okay, before I go any further, you need to know this:  I love Our Town.  A lot.  Easily my favorite play.  Many years ago, a very young Eric Stoltz and Penelope Ann Miller starred in the play at Lincoln Center, which aired on PBS right after I'd read it for the first time.  If you're not familiar with the play, here's a blurb from the official Thornton Wilder website:
Our Town explores the relationship between two young Grover's Corners neighbors, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, whose childhood friendship blossoms into romance, and then culminates in marriage. When Emily loses her life in childbirth, the circle of life portrayed in each of the three acts of Our Town--growing up, adulthood, and death--is fully realized. 
Right up my alley -- bonus that it takes place at the turn of the century.

Here's a scene from the Lincoln Center performance:



BEFORE I FALL is vastly different from Our Town in setting and character, of course.  But while Sammy in BEFORE I FALL is reliving her last day once again, she says something that immediately brought Our Town to mind (I can't find the passage at the moment): she asks her friends if they could pick any day to be their last, which would they pick?  Similarly, Emily in Our Town is given the opportunity to return to one day of her life.

I'm completely fascinated by how Samantha grapples with what's happening to her, how her days unravel,  how we see these endless layers of her personality as she relives that last day again and again.  The revelations about her friends, about herself.  The layers of true feelings, even if they aren't pretty.  Her relationships.  It's amazing.  Have you read it?

I'm going to have to read Our Town again.  And see if I can get my hands on the Lincoln Center performance. 

"Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you." -- Emily, Our Town

What was your Best Book of June?

Comments

  1. First...let me go hide in a corner as I still haven't read IF I FALL :D
    I've heard and read many good things about it and your review definitely makes me think I need to put this book higher up!
    I also want to read/see OUR TOWN now too :D (oh and young Eric Stoltz always makes me smile :D)
    Thanks for sharing, Sara!

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    1. And of course I meant BEFORE I FALL :D duhhhh! :D

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    2. I used to call it If I Fall, too, because I got it mixed up with If I Stay, which I see you just read. So easy mistake! :)

      Our Town really is fantastic - although I imagine I will see it differently as an adult than I did as a teenager. I found it on DVD in a special two-performance edition but it's pricey!

      Young Eric Stoltz in Some Kind of Wonderful - yeah.

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  2. Ah I love Before I Fall, great pick!

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  3. Clearly you are not alone, Sara--I haven't yet read BEFORE I FALL either, but it has been on my TBR list for a while. I fully intend to read it soon; the premise is fascinating, and I've heard so many good things about Lauren Oliver's writing. I look forward to it. :)

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  4. While I liked Delirium and Pandemonium, I wasn't a huge fan. Which is why I haven't read Before I Fall yet. That being said, I have a weakness for books where I share the same name as the main character...

    And I really like what you've said about it, so I'll add it to the TBR! :-)

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    1. Thanks - I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on Delirium (but no spoilers for Pandemonium). :) I hope you'll give this one a shot.

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  5. I haven't read Before I Fall yet either but you are making me think I really should - would be a nice change from the medieval/urban fantasy I have been reading :)

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    1. Oh yeah, I think it would be a good break from that! :)

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  6. I should read IF I FALL sometime. My head hurts when I think about all of the books I haven't yet read but would love to. Thanks for the recommendation! It sounds great. :)

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    1. You and me both. The physical stack of books from the library is overwhelming - and then I look at my goodreads list and my head spins! Shouldn't someone pay me to read? And give me good benefits, too? Isn't there a job like that somewhere? :)

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  7. I haven't read Before I Fall though I loved Delirium (mixed feelings on Pandemonium). I'll add it to my list!

    I blogged about my choice. I was surprised...didn't expect to like the book when I picked it up, but then I couldn't put it down and am recommending it to everyone I know.

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    1. Hmmm, mixed feelings on Pandemonium, huh? I have tried to avoid reading reviews of it. I should be getting it from the library soon.

      Can't wait to swing by your blog to see your choice!

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  8. Excellent pick! I really loved BEFORE I FALL--I can't even imagine how hard it must have been to weave that whole story together and not make the repetition feel obnoxious or boring.

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    1. Isn't that the truth! And how did she keep it all straight? Impressive.

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  9. I haven't read Before I Fall either. I wanted to when it first came out, but it didn't catch my attention enough to want to buy the hardcover. Lately there have just been too many books higher up on the list. I'll have to see if I can find it, though!

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    1. Isn't that interesting? I can't put my finger on what it was that kept me picking it up... and then putting it back down again, over and over. It's worth a read, though.

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  10. God, I haven't read ANY of Lauren Oliver's books. For shame! I will get round to them somebody. I have a whole summer TBR pile to get through and Delirium and Pandemonium are on the list!

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    1. There are PLENTY of books I haven't read that everyone else in the world has. I'm getting there. There are just so many good books out there.

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  11. Very cool - I didn't know much about this book. I'm one of the few, it seems, that didn't love Delirium (not because of bad writing or anything, I just am a hard sell on dystopians because I pick apart the world building and find many hard to believe). Anytime a book can grasp timeless themes - and draw you in based on other beloved stories - I think that's the sign of a great read.

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    1. I'm sort of the same on dystopians - either love 'em or hate 'em. I don't often read them, actually. I'm more in the contemporary camp.

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  12. I loved this book too- it made such an impact on me. I still haven't gotten to Delirium yet though.

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    1. I think that impact is such an important element of a book - I hope that someday my books will have some sort of impact, too.

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  13. I just added it to my to read pile. Sounds great!

    Because King's The Stand is wordy, and because I just can't read that fast, I only have two books to chose from this month. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter didn't do it for me, so King wins!

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    1. Ooh, I think you'll like it. The Stand is WORDY? WORDY? I'd say. Doesn't King always win? :)

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  14. I finished BETRAYED by Ednah Walters last week and wow! I loved it! I seriously kept stopping to reread things because it was that good.

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  15. My best book this month is a tie for three. I finally read the Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking. It wasn't the strongest writing ever, but the characters pulled me in. She did a beautiful job of creating several fully realized characters each with very distinct personalities.

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    1. I have not read those yet! Sometimes I find it very difficult to get back the "not the strongest writing ever" component of a book....

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  16. Great review! I haven't read it, but I think it's about time I did. I've read Delirium and really enjoyed Pandemonium.
    My favourite June book is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It's actually my third favourite of the year (the first being Blood Red Road)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I am getting very antsy to read Pandemonium - it's so hard to wait! I have heard Code Name Verity is good - I will have to look into it!

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  17. Before I Fall was one of my picks, actually. And I, too, picked it before having finished it. (I finished it yesterday afternoon. Still would've made the list.)

    It's sort of funny that I'm not the only person who picked this one, given that it's been out a couple years now :)

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    1. Ummm, I think it's hilarious that not only did we both pick an older book for the same month, but that neither one of us had finished yet. Love it! (I still have about 100 pages to go - wrapping it up tonight!)

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  18. I just finished this book this month too. I have it on audio, and the narration by Sarah Drew is simply THE BEST! I loved it so much I then went out and bought the paperback. This has become my favorite book of all time. And I purchased the audio copy a couple of years ago and only read it recently, lol. :)

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  19. I bleepity LOVE BEFORE I FALL. As in, I want Lauren Oliver to write more contemporary. (I'm an eh fan of her dystopian) I've read BEFORE I FALL at least 12 times. Also thank you for the follow Sara - it's nice to meet you!

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