What I loved? The writing. Lauren Oliver has a way of sucking me and making me forget my own life. For that alone I will always be willing to read her stories. This particular one had been sitting on my shelf for nearly a year. It sounded sad. Doesn't it sound sad? And it is. But it's so much more than that.
In the beginning, there's a group of stuck up, b*tchy (yes, I really did just asterik that... lol) girls who are best friends. And they are not very nice people. They are mean to people just for the fact that they are different or just because. Honestly, I was almost done with the first day and I was thinking, Why do I care what happens to Sam? I mean, yeah, dying sucks, but I just don't like her. And then, came this:
"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."
I thought, Whoa. Wait a minute. Did she really just make me rethink it? Here I was judging her and her actions and not liking her... how did that make me much different from her? So I opened my mind a bit and read on. By the time I got near the end I was so anxious. Was Lauren Oliver going to rip my heart out? She had already broken it numerous times... but would she rip out completely and do a Mexican Hat Dance on it or help it get mended? (I won't say which happened...)
Needless to say Sam grows as a character. It wouldn't be a story if she was a complete and total b*tch the entire time. We have various characters throughout the story, some of which I didn't care for and some I cared for very much. Sam's boyfriend, Rob, is a grade-A tool. I mean, she can only be with him for the 'status' that comes with it, and that right there says so much about her state of mind. She doesn't care enough about herself to be with someone who would treat her like she should be and appreciate her for all she is, or all that she could be. Her best friend, Lindsey, isn't the nicest person either. The more I found out about her the less I liked her... until Lauren Oliver started peeling back the layers. Most of the characters in the forefront of the story had more than the superficial facade we first see at the beginning. I started to see them for more of who they really are or who they want to be than who they portrayed themselves as throughout.
As I said, I wasn't sure how my heart was going to feel when I was done, nor was I sure if I was going to need a full box or a half a box of Kleenex. So. Emotional. Heart-wrenching. Unnecessarily necessarily so. It's not action packed, it's not an on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller. It's character driven. It's about evolving and acceptance and friendship and love. And it should make you think... if I were to die tonight have I lived today as I would want to be remembered? Have I shown love, compassion, happiness, or kindness to others? I realize that's dripping with sappiness, so hopefully it doesn't pour out and make your screen sticky. But really. I can guarantee that I don't act the way I probably should every day. But the next day isn't always guaranteed. Not that we don't know that, but it helps to be reminded of that. I think.