Monday, April 18, 2016

#AuthorApril: O is for Lauren Oliver #AtoZChallenge

Dear Alison,

We've climbed up the #AtoZChallenge peak like rock climbing divas, and now, we begin our descent down the back half of the alphabet, but like my climb in the Grand Canyon, we must carefully watch our step for snakes, negotiate turns, and be wary of always stepping down on the same leg. Drinking and eating are important too--if you find you're hungry or thirsty on your hike--it's TOO late, so Alison, grab a chai and a chocolate bar too, (Professor Lupus knew what he was doing when he gave a chocolate bar to Harry--Chocolate IS magic) and settle in for O is for Lauren Oliver. 

Life is about choices, and when you're in junior and high school, every decision feels like a defining moment. 

I remember back to 7th grade. It was my first day in junior high, and I went down to the cafeteria with a person I was friendly with in elementary school, that is to say we knew each other since kindergarten, but I wouldn't call us "friends." Anyway, we walked into the crowded lunch room and a few field hockey friends of hers waved her over to the stage, she asked me if I wanted to come. At that moment, I knew, I knew my decision would define me for the remainder of junior high. I could sit with the cool kids, the popular kids, (even in seventh grade I knew who they were destined to be), or I could sit with my friends from elementary school in all their awkward, brace-ridden, nerdy awesomeness--the girls who I had sleepovers with and watched Nightmare on Elm Street and Children of the Corn when we weren't studying Seventeen magazine for the latest makeup tips. 

In that split second, I knew I couldn't leave my friends behind. I declined the invitation and headed over to the table teeming with smiley friendly faces. My friends, my cherished group of friends, were everything to me. Sure, some "friends" from the group stared longingly at the stage and when given the opportunity, they grabbed their bags, moved to the stage, and changed for better or for worse--it's not for me to say. I made my choice.

Lauren Oliver examines choices in her novel, Before I Fall.  

Picture and Blurb from http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/delirium.php


Sam Kingston has everything… except time. When February 12th turns out to be her last day, Sam gets a unique opportunity to use her death to change her life.

Samantha Kingston isn't nice at the beginning of the novel. She doesn't even try to be friendly to most of her classmates including her teachers--she wears a mask, a carefully constructed mask, to hide the insecure, awkward geek from elementary school. 

Samantha was offered the same choice I was, but she chose the cool girls. She made choices through high school she's not proud of. She sacrificed friendships. She made fun of people. She was a bitch to everyone who wasn't in the "circle." 

But on the "big" night, the night she planned to give her virginity away to her not-so-nice boyfriend, the night she left a party with a carload of her drunk "bestest" friends, one of whom was driving, was her last night. She died in a car accident, but her story didn't end. She's forced to relive her last day until she gets it right. 

No spoilers here, but if you're a fan of contemporary fiction, Before I Fall is one you should check out. 

Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,

Kim