Monday, March 29, 2010

Endings, Shmendings ...

Sorry for disappearing for a million years. I've been working and reading and working and working and reading some more. The working part is boring. Let's talk about the reading instead.

I just finished Before I Fall, a new YA novel by Lauren Oliver.

First thing's first: this book is huge. Like, size-of-my-head, beat-yo-mama huge. Second thing's second: I devoured every single page of it, racing through the story like my life depended on it.

This book had things I loved (vivid descriptions, metaphors that made you stop and think, a fun love interest, a great premise, voice), things I didn't love (repetition I'm not certain was intentional, somewhat cliched mean girls, issues that felt important but weren't fully addressed), and then one other thing.

The ending.

Some people will love it, some will hate it, and others will love to hate it. As for me? I wanted to love it, or to love to hate it, or even just to like it.

But I didn't. Not even kind of. In fact, it pissed me off so much--gave me this "Wait ... What the marshmallows?!?!?" moment--that I wanted to throw it against a wall. (I didn't, of course. It's a big book; could cause serious damage to the plaster.) I wanted to scream, "No! This is wrong, wrong, wrong! One more day, please!" I waited a few days before posting this, b/c I thought maybe the last 2-3 pages would grow on me. They still haven't. I can't explain it any more thoroughly without giving something away, so I'll just say Lauren's choice (or Samantha's choices, technically) didn't sit right with me.

All that said, Lauren Oliver has taken an intriguing premise and created a movie-worthy story with it. She has demonstrated that interesting characters aren't perfect, that even narrators don't have to be likable so long as the author is skilled enough to pull them off (which Lauren totally is). And I would ABSOLUTELY recommend you pick this book up. Despite its flaws, Before I Fall stands out in an increasingly popular genre.

This very well-written book reinforced what I already suspected: endings are tough stuff. No matter what you do, not everyone's gonna love it.

So let me know: have any of you read Before I Fall? (If you haven't, you should. Now.) What did you think of it? And what about that ending?


Aubrie said...

I've never read that book, but I know how you feel about endings. I didn't like the ending to "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" another YA. But hopefully the sequel will help wrap that up. And I didn't like the ending to the recent Wonderland movie, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Let's just say I would have chosen differently if I was Alice...

Little Ms J said...

"Beat-yo-mama?" Wow. That must be.... massive.

I shall read it, but if I drop it on my toe or break something I will be emailing you about it, Jess Esquire.

~Jamie said...

I seriously snorted at the beat yo mama line. :)

People at the coffee shop all looked at me like... well like I snorted in the middle of a coffee shop.

Lisa and Laura said...

LOVED this book. LOVED it, LOVED it, LOVED it.

And I bawled my eyes out for the last 20 pages. Seriously. Sobbing. I was a mess. I wasn't happy about it, but it felt like the right ending to me.

We need to discuss this in more detail. I feel like I need to read the book all over again just to fully absorb it. And we're going to be discussing at our YA book club in a couple of weeks so I can't wait to get opinions from some actual YAs.

Katie said...

I MUST read this book. Lila has told me all about it!