Author: Lauren Oliver

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Book Review: Vanishing Girls

January 7, 2015 Book Review, reviews 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: Vanishing GirlsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on March 10th, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
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Lauren Oliver’s latest novel follows two sisters trying to overcome a terrible car accident and a family trying to move ahead in spite of a divorce.  Underlying that family drama is a 9-year-old girl who has gone missing from the backseat of her sister’s car.

Nick {Nicole} and Dara are a little over 11 months apart.  They’ve been inseparable since babies until the past four months has found Dara shunning Nick since the car accident.

Lauren Oliver has a way of writing that grabs you from the outset and does not let go.  In that aspect, she is a master storyteller.  In Vanishing Girls Oliver rotates between Dara and Nick as narrator and between ‘before’ the accident and ‘after.’  This style both moves the story along rapidly and hides the clues of what really happened with both the missing girl and the car accident.

A couple of issues I had with the plot ~ do high school juniors and seniors really drink that much? I don’t ever remember drinking that much in high school, nor do I believe I was so absent & unawares when my kids were in high school ~ perhaps I’m being naive?

Second issue is more plot development ~ I figured out part of the mystery early on from the big whoppers of clues and I’m probably the person that takes the longest to figure anything out!  My family and friends know when they tell me a joke they may have to break it down for me {sad, but true!}.  I’m thinking if the clues had not been so blatant that the big reveal may have been much more shocking.

Lauren Oliver’s writing ability is intense and wrings me out by the time I close the book.  Never fails, she has me sobbing by the end.  In Before I Fall {review} I remember thinking I would never quit crying!

[Tweet “Realistic {yet fictional} study in love and conflict between two sisters”]

Where she does get it right, Oliver shines.  The conflict and relationship of the sisters is what I witnessed with my girls who are 18 months apart.  The adoration and dedication are apparent between the two as is the struggle with personal identity and the intrinsic jealousies.  It’s a good study in love and conflict of two sisters.

To sum up, I liked Vanishing Girls.  Although the plot was not as seamless as previous novels, Lauren Oliver has a unique writing style that I thoroughly enjoy.  Recommended.

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Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

March 8, 2010 Book Review, reviews 9

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren OliverBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 25th, 2010
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 470
Source: complimentary review copy
Goodreads


It always takes me awhile to digest a book. I have to let it whirl around in my head and my heart for some time before I can come to a conclusion as to what my true thoughts are, but now that I’m blogging in the book world I’m thinking I should speed up the process a bit. Maybe do some thinking out loud per se.

I have to be honest, with Before I Fall, I had to stop crying before I could sit down to write to this. You’ll figure out about me soon enough, I’m sure, I feel a great empathy with the characters of the books I read. I jump into the pages with them, walk the high school halls or the Quantico fields….whatever genre I’m reading, I’m fully committed and tonight during those last few chapters I was there with Sam as she relived the last day of her life for the 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th time.

What was even more eerie is I was telling my high school daughter the book today, encouraging her to read it once I was finished. I have two daughters, one is a senior, one is a sophomore. OH, if I could just tell you the whole story! but that would take away from your experience in reading the book…and what an experience it is.

We learn about life in the “IT” crowd or the “IN” group, Lindsay, THE IT girl, Sam, her best friend, Elody, and Ally. These 4 girls are the most 4 popular girls in school and are seniors this year. One word from any of these 4 girls and another student would instantly be shunned.

There’s one line in the book that just about tears at my soul every time I go back and read it. The four girls have been drinking vodka since the afternoon and throughout the evening at a party. They leave the party with Lindsay driving, Sam shotgun as always with the other two in the back. You know what happens next.

But before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that?
Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does?
Is it really so much worse than what you do?
Think about it.

Whew. That was tough. Because I did, think about it. And I haven’t stopped thinking about it. But then the book goes on to where Sam relives the day, 7 times. She gets 7 chances to get it right. How many of us get 7 do-overs? And if we had the chance to do-it-over-again, would we do it right? When someone says to us “It’s too late” would we tell them “It’s never too late” and care enough to make sure the actions speak louder than the words.

Please, if you don’t read another book this year, read this one. It’s not the easiest of reads in that Sam has to wake up every day on February 12th for 7 days and some of the high school angst is a little hard to handle if you’re a parent of teenagers; however, the message is important and not just for young adults. The last two pages, I think, are my favorites.

 

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