Book Trailer Thursday (189)–Before I Fall Movie Trailer


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, her debut novel, released seven years ago and is now a movie releasing in March 7th. I remember it being one of the first books I read and reviewed on my blog back in 2010. Since then it’s been a staple in my classroom library and I know will continue to be now that the movie is releasing. Is anyone else excited to see this on the big screen?!

Summary (From Goodreads):

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today’s foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person’s life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Books I Thought I’d Like Less and More Than I Did


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

It’s always disappointing when I discover that a book I thought I was going to love ends up being a dud.  But it’s really exciting when I’m reading a book that I had minimal expectations for turns into a favorite.  Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about those books.

Books I thought I’d like more than I did:

Splintered by A.G. Howard (Goodreads): I was really enjoying this when I first started listening to the audio.  The entire premise was intriguing and I was drawn in.  But then it turned into a weird, way-too-emo for me story that I couldn’t enjoy.  There’s a really long list of things I really disliked about this debut.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Goodreads): I’m still disappointed that I didn’t like this book.  I didn’t even finish it!  It didn’t speak to me and I hated the footnotes.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Goodreads): This debut had instant action and lots of promise, but ultimately it fizzled about half way through the book.  I never finished it.

Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins (Goodreads): I really expected to like this book.  I like the star-crossed lovers storyline, and I was looking forward to see how the story would play out with one of the characters being Amish.  Unfortunately, the story grew repetitive and stalled out.  I stopped reading it after I discovered that there would be more books.  If I was already bored half way through the first book, I couldn’t let myself invest in yet another series.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Goodreads): I love Lauren Oliver’s writing so I fully expected to love this one.  I was listening to the audio over the summer and made it as far as the second half of the audiobook before I gave up.  I grew bored with the story.  I wanted it to move along faster, and after a while Lauren Oliver’s flowery writing started to sound verbose.  Maybe one day I’ll come back to this one, but it won’t be any time soon.

SplinteredAn Abundance of KatherinesGlowTemptationDelirium

Books I thought I’d like less than I did:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Goodreads): Two students told me about this during my first year teaching my YA elective.  I was really hesitant to read it because I thought I didn’t like science fiction.  After they told me how amazing it was I decided to give it a shot.  It’s one of my favorites and it even made me cry.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Goodreads): I remember when my high school best friend picked this up when we were in college.  She raved and raved about it, but I wasn’t interested.  One of my students gave me her copy to read during spring break a couple years ago, so I finally caved and read it.  I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner because it’s SO GOOD!  I didn’t want it to end.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick (Goodreads): I remember seeing an ARC of this in my ALAN box in Chicago and thinking, “What is this?”  I had never heard of Jordan Sonnenblick, and I had never heard of this book.  I don’t know why I was so hesitant.  I can’t even remember how I ended up reading it last year, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  It’s funny and heart-warming.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (Goodreads): I tried reading The Warrior Heir during my first year of teaching and really disliked it.  Last year I requested some titles to help me discover more fantasy and this was recommended.  I figured I’d like it, but I had no idea I would love it.  I was completely absorbed in the story and the world.  It’s a long book, and I’m pretty sure I read it in just over a day.  This is a fabulous series.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Goodreads): I tried reading this in the traditional sense and then a year later I tried the audio.  Both times I had to set it aside.  I finally tried the audio for a second time and I was finally hooked.  I think this is one of those “I need to be in the right mood books” because I can’t believe I didn’t finish it the first time I tried reading it.  It’s such a fantastic book that’s beautifully written.  If you haven’t read it yet, I HIGHLY recommend listening to the audio.

The Knife of Never Letting GoWater for ElephantsCurveball The Year I Lost My GripThe Demon KingDaughter of Smoke and Bone

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver Liesl & Po

320 pp.  Harper (HarperCollins)  2011  ISBN: 978-0-06-201451-1

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Interest: First middle grade title from YA author

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable

Will’s mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

During some conversations I had with my freshmen last school year, I discovered that many of them still enjoy middle grade titles, especially fantasy and action/adventure titles.  Since then I’ve been making a point of seeking titles like these out and reading them.  When I heard about Liesl & Po, and that it’s written by Lauren Oliver, I knew I had to read it.  Truth–I think I like this book more than Before I Fall.

Lauren Oliver has a note in the very beginning of the ARC (I hope it’s in the finished copy as well) explaining why she wrote this book.  It’s incredibly moving and something I thought back to many times while reading this book.  I’d rather not go into detail about the note, though, because I think you should experience it for yourself.  It made reading the book feel more personal, and I appreciate that sort of honesty from an author.

The illustrations by Kei Acedera are fantastic!  I wasn’t expecting any art, so it was a very pleasant surprise and experience.  I like that they’re paced throughout the novel and I like the style used to create the setting & characters.  I’m not very good with art/drawing terminology, so please forgive my ignorance on this.  The drawings felt like how I would see the characters if this book were made into an animated Disney movie or something.  But the shading and everything also felt whimsical.  I may not be making any sense, but regardless, I love the illustrations.  They added an element that made the story come alive.  I wish more books could include illustrations, MG and YA alike.

Another element I love about this book is the cast of characters.  Liesl is sweet and caring, but also full of adventure.  Po is mysterious, but I love that it looks out for Liesl and begins to feel human emotions again.  I also couldn’t get enough of Po’s wit and one-liners, especially when Will, the alchemist’s assistant, enters the scene.  Liesl & Po forge an unusual friendship, but it’s ultimately one of trust and understanding.  There’s also a few villains, of course.  Liesl’s stepmother is truly horrible; she has Liesl locked up in an attic and barely feeds her.  The Lady Premiere, who expects to receive the box of magic, rivals Liesl’s stepmother in the evilness category.  These characters, along with others, made for a fantastic story full of magic and hope despite all the gray.

Lauren Oliver has written a story that children, tweens and teens will appreciate and enjoy.  There are plenty of universal themes like loneliness, the importance of family, grieving, etc.  This is another title that I’m excited to share with my students, and I’m equally excited to buy a finished copy.

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