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Lauren-Oliver
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


KateBrianIsAwesome wrote:

Hi Lauren,

   I was wondering if there were any parts in the book that you were nervous about putting it into your novel.

   I'm also on chapter 5 and the story is getting better. Today while reading at school I got a little teary eyed. I have a really good feeling about the ending. Usually if a book starts off with bad characters or bad things (sex, drugs, drinking, parties) I quit reading the book. I'm totally against drinking and drugs. But your characters had this quality about them that made me feel like they were going to change and that you were not just writing about a teen party randomly. That you had an important message to tell us readers. So I couldn't stop reading Before i Fall.


 

Well, I was certainly nervous about having Sam start off so unlikeable. I was really worried that people might, as you say you sometimes do, get so turned off by her behavior at the beginning of the book that they put the book down--when the whole point is that she has to evolve and change and come to a different understanding of herself and others by the end of the novel! So yes, I was nervous about that. And Day Four was hard to write--she is going totally wild, and she is truly and deeply unhappy by that point, and at a low; it was hard to abuse my character so much, and just try and pray that readers would stay with me, and with her, and see her through onto the other side of that.

 

Author
Lauren-Oliver
Posts: 75
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


KateBrianIsAwesome wrote:

Hi Lauren,

   I was wondering if there were any parts in the book that you were nervous about putting it into your novel.

   I'm also on chapter 5 and the story is getting better. Today while reading at school I got a little teary eyed. I have a really good feeling about the ending. Usually if a book starts off with bad characters or bad things (sex, drugs, drinking, parties) I quit reading the book. I'm totally against drinking and drugs. But your characters had this quality about them that made me feel like they were going to change and that you were not just writing about a teen party randomly. That you had an important message to tell us readers. So I couldn't stop reading Before i Fall.


 

Well, I was certainly nervous about having Sam start off so unlikeable. I was really worried that people might, as you say you sometimes do, get so turned off by her behavior at the beginning of the book that they put the book down--when the whole point is that she has to evolve and change and come to a different understanding of herself and others by the end of the novel! So yes, I was nervous about that. And Day Four was hard to write--she is going totally wild, and she is truly and deeply unhappy by that point, and at a low; it was hard to abuse my character so much, and just try and pray that readers would stay with me, and with her, and see her through onto the other side of that.

 


 

Oh and BTW--Thank YOU for sticking with it! :smileyhappy:

 

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Lauren-Oliver
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

Dear Lauren,I am here to say Hi,and of course to tell you that your insight is so beyond your years.You have somehow been able to get into the thought process of so many age groups..

I am anxious to read on,but of course still discuss the book without any spoilers..I love reading your posts,and giving us a glimpse into you Life of Writing,Have a Good Night..  Vtc..Susan  I might be a bit sleepy tomorrow,like TWJ...

 


Thanks so much, Susan! I am so glad you are enjoying the discussion. I am too. I am sitting here in my apartment in Brooklyn, with a mug of coffee and a big smile on my face. :smileyhappy:

 

 

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Lauren-Oliver
Posts: 75
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


emers0207 wrote:

I have a quick question, while writing this book did you do specific research on teen behavoior or did you go off of personal experience.  I'm wondering because some of it seemed a little out-dated to me.  i graduated from high school back in '97 and even that long ago things weren't that lax.  I mean smoking laws had already changed so significantly that while people definitely smoked, school was in no way this mass undeage smokers haven.  The way everyone seemed to run out between classes to smoke just didn't happen and of course all bathrooms by that time had detectors and so were not used either.  As for the drinking, again it definitely happened but restaurants that didn't card 16 yr olds seemed a little unbelieveable in this day and age, 18, 19, 20 ok maybe, but 16!!!  I was a server in college and it was an automatic fireable offensive to not card since if a liquor compliance agent witnessed that it would be a misdemeanor as well as huge fines for the restaurant and/or server.  Like I said that was years ago and I can't imagine with all the concern about underage drinking that things are actually easier now. 

 

Also, speaking of teen behaviors, I just have to know - is 80's music really popular again amongst teens or was that just your personal preferences sneaking in?  I loved all the 80's songs that were mentioned here and there and yet I kept thinking how would they even know that song.  I'm praying  the answer is not that I'm so old the music I listened to is now considered retro cool.


 

 

I went mostly off of personal experience, although I certainly have friends who work in high schools and were able to talk with me about teen behaviors. I graduated from high school in '00 and sadly, we used to smoke all the time (I finally quit last June--yay!), including on campus. Drinking was also extremely rampant in my high school--we spent our weekends bouncing from one party to the next, and though you're right that the fact that they don't get carded is probably unrealistic, we all had fake IDs by the time we were sixteen anyway (and at least around the NYC-area, the use of fake IDs is still quite prevalent).

I do take your point, and I thank you for it; but I also don't know if I was aiming to perfectly reconstruct the current high school world, or if it is even worth it to do so. Books that focus too rigorously on what is "hot" RIGHTNOW--or employ too many brand names, or references to the most current technology--age very quickly and very badly. It's much more important, I think, to create a unique world that feels real, even if it is not a perfect reflection of real life. Does that make sense?

That's also why I chose to reference the music I did. If I had referenced music on the Billboards right now, the book would have felt outdated before it hit the shelves--whereas songs that have already lasted this long will no doubt continue to be popular. I mean, come on. Everyone will always listen to "With or Without You" by U2! It's like, the angsty-est and greatest song of all time, and perfect for those tortured teenage years...

Author
Lauren-Oliver
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Registered: ‎01-04-2010
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


Zeal wrote:

Lauren,

 

I admire the fact that you will not be writing a sequel.  Your thoughts that Sam's story has ended, and it is time to move on is actually refreshing.  I find my students unwilling to come to their own conclusions about an ending and want to be "told" everything.  Part of reading  needs to be self-reflection and interpretation of the characters, events, and outcomes.  Ambiguous endings also lend themselves to very interesting discussions. 

 

I was VERY GLAD to hear that you have another book in the works though!  You will be a favorite author of many...young and old(er)!

 

 


 

Thank you!! I hope that is true...I am quite proud of my second book, and I am slogging away at my third novel now. :smileyhappy:

 

Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

Good Morning..Ah,Brooklyn..The  Best Borough,..I appreciate your "Spoiler' alerts",but I already read it..Since I am on Chapter 5,I will of course go on,and it won't spoil anything for me...Maybe Paul can remove the quote from your thread so others won't see it.Although I think many,many readers have finished "Before I Fall',  its so hard not to post "spoilers".Its addictive being here,so glad you are loving It,because we  certainly love having you here..Best  Susan...
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

Dear Lauren,I am here to say Hi,and of course to tell you that your insight is so beyond your years.You have somehow been able to get into the thought process of so many age groups..

I am anxious to read on,but of course still discuss the book without any spoilers..I love reading your posts,and giving us a glimpse into you Life of Writing,Have a Good Night..  Vtc..Susan  I might be a bit sleepy tomorrow,like TWJ...

 


Thanks so much, Susan! I am so glad you are enjoying the discussion. I am too. I am sitting here in my apartment in Brooklyn, with a mug of coffee and a big smile on my face. :smileyhappy:

 

 


 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

Lauren,Zeal mentoned that you have another book coming out,I know I wasn't dreaming,   ;  ) but I think I read about it ,either on your website or twitter..Any hints?  If you posted about it here,I must've missed it...Thanks..Vtc

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Distinguished Bibliophile
pen21
Posts: 3,648
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

Lauren,

You made me laugh. I pictured you, Susan and I all sitting at our computers, sipping our coffee/tea and enjoying the posts. See how you fit right into the group.

pen21

 


Vermontcozy wrote:
Good Morning..Ah,Brooklyn..The  Best Borough,..I appreciate your "Spoiler' alerts",but I already read it..Since I am on Chapter 5,I will of course go on,and it won't spoil anything for me...Maybe Paul can remove the quote from your thread so others won't see it.Although I think many,many readers have finished "Before I Fall',  its so hard not to post "spoilers".Its addictive being here,so glad you are loving It,because we  certainly love having you here..Best  Susan...
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

Dear Lauren,I am here to say Hi,and of course to tell you that your insight is so beyond your years.You have somehow been able to get into the thought process of so many age groups..

I am anxious to read on,but of course still discuss the book without any spoilers..I love reading your posts,and giving us a glimpse into you Life of Writing,Have a Good Night..  Vtc..Susan  I might be a bit sleepy tomorrow,like TWJ...

 


Thanks so much, Susan! I am so glad you are enjoying the discussion. I am too. I am sitting here in my apartment in Brooklyn, with a mug of coffee and a big smile on my face. :smileyhappy:

 

 


 


 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

VtCozy Wrote..Pen21,I think Lauren will be back to visit us,which we would welcome..Just to let us know how things are,The" Before I Fall Board " will be up for quite some time Lauren.so you can always pop in and visit..and join us for coffee..
pen21 wrote:

Lauren,

You made me laugh. I pictured you, Susan and I all sitting at our computers, sipping our coffee/tea and enjoying the posts. See how you fit right into the group.

pen21

 


Vermontcozy wrote:
Good Morning..Ah,Brooklyn..The  Best Borough,..I appreciate your "Spoiler' alerts",but I already read it..Since I am on Chapter 5,I will of course go on,and it won't spoil anything for me...Maybe Paul can remove the quote from your thread so others won't see it.Although I think many,many readers have finished "Before I Fall',  its so hard not to post "spoilers".Its addictive being here,so glad you are loving It,because we  certainly love having you here..Best  Susan...
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

Dear Lauren,I am here to say Hi,and of course to tell you that your insight is so beyond your years.You have somehow been able to get into the thought process of so many age groups..

I am anxious to read on,but of course still discuss the book without any spoilers..I love reading your posts,and giving us a glimpse into you Life of Writing,Have a Good Night..  Vtc..Susan  I might be a bit sleepy tomorrow,like TWJ...

 


Thanks so much, Susan! I am so glad you are enjoying the discussion. I am too. I am sitting here in my apartment in Brooklyn, with a mug of coffee and a big smile on my face. :smileyhappy:

 

 


 


 

 


 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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bkwormMD
Posts: 6
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

I'm really glad that emers0207 asked that question, because I didn't grow up in the US, and as a teenager, I was in a very conservative Catholic school. I never really knew anyone who did drugs, and my concern was more on how to pass our classes, or how our teacher had favorites. We all wore uniforms, too, so we never really did worry about clothes or being fashionistas, except during school parties, which wasn't very often anyway. So I wanted to know what it was really like for a typical, modern high school student. Both of your comments were very helpful.

 

The comment about music was interesting, too. I did notice that 80's music being played in that party. It's really funny, but Lauren, we're near around the same age, I think (although I must be older), and I love U2 also, and a lot of the "New Wave" music. I used to think everyone loved the 80's music, but one day, I asked a guy in his mid-20's, who liked music, and he looked weirded out when I asked him if he liked the 80's. It seemed that he liked the 90's music best. It was the first time I realized, I'm turning into my parents when they talk about the 60's music!

 

I wonder if it's possible, really, to make a book less dated when you include an era of music played in a party, especially a supposedly cool one. Don't they only play the latest hot thing? And then when they grow up to their 20's, or 30's, it's probably the music that was played in their teen years that they'd consider the best music of all time. I wouldn't know though. I am just beginning to realize how far removed I already am from my teen years.

 

I really liked this exchange. =) Thank you!

Author
Lauren-Oliver
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-04-2010
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


Vermontcozy wrote:
VtCozy Wrote..Pen21,I think Lauren will be back to visit us,which we would welcome..Just to let us know how things are,The" Before I Fall Board " will be up for quite some time Lauren.so you can always pop in and visit..and join us for coffee..
pen21 wrote:

Lauren,

You made me laugh. I pictured you, Susan and I all sitting at our computers, sipping our coffee/tea and enjoying the posts. See how you fit right into the group.

pen21

 


Vermontcozy wrote:
Good Morning..Ah,Brooklyn..The  Best Borough,..I appreciate your "Spoiler' alerts",but I already read it..Since I am on Chapter 5,I will of course go on,and it won't spoil anything for me...Maybe Paul can remove the quote from your thread so others won't see it.Although I think many,many readers have finished "Before I Fall',  its so hard not to post "spoilers".Its addictive being here,so glad you are loving It,because we  certainly love having you here..Best  Susan...
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

Dear Lauren,I am here to say Hi,and of course to tell you that your insight is so beyond your years.You have somehow been able to get into the thought process of so many age groups..

I am anxious to read on,but of course still discuss the book without any spoilers..I love reading your posts,and giving us a glimpse into you Life of Writing,Have a Good Night..  Vtc..Susan  I might be a bit sleepy tomorrow,like TWJ...

 


Thanks so much, Susan! I am so glad you are enjoying the discussion. I am too. I am sitting here in my apartment in Brooklyn, with a mug of coffee and a big smile on my face. :smileyhappy:

 

 


 


 

 


 

He he yeah I pop in and out of the message board throughout the day, and will be doing so for the next few weeks. I'm about to take a break and go running, actually!
Susan, you weren't dreaming--I do have a new book coming out. In 2011 I'll be releasing DELIRIUM, a kind of dystopian Romeo and Juliet story...I'm super psyched about it, although it is very different from Before I Fall!

 

 

Author
Lauren-Oliver
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-04-2010
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

 


bkwormMD wrote:

I'm really glad that emers0207 asked that question, because I didn't grow up in the US, and as a teenager, I was in a very conservative Catholic school. I never really knew anyone who did drugs, and my concern was more on how to pass our classes, or how our teacher had favorites. We all wore uniforms, too, so we never really did worry about clothes or being fashionistas, except during school parties, which wasn't very often anyway. So I wanted to know what it was really like for a typical, modern high school student. Both of your comments were very helpful.

 

The comment about music was interesting, too. I did notice that 80's music being played in that party. It's really funny, but Lauren, we're near around the same age, I think (although I must be older), and I love U2 also, and a lot of the "New Wave" music. I used to think everyone loved the 80's music, but one day, I asked a guy in his mid-20's, who liked music, and he looked weirded out when I asked him if he liked the 80's. It seemed that he liked the 90's music best. It was the first time I realized, I'm turning into my parents when they talk about the 60's music!

 

I wonder if it's possible, really, to make a book less dated when you include an era of music played in a party, especially a supposedly cool one. Don't they only play the latest hot thing? And then when they grow up to their 20's, or 30's, it's probably the music that was played in their teen years that they'd consider the best music of all time. I wouldn't know though. I am just beginning to realize how far removed I already am from my teen years.

 

I really liked this exchange. =) Thank you!


 

 

It's tricky, and I suppose it depends on what kind of book you're trying to write. I tend to believe that if you make characters and relationships feel like real people, readers will be able to connect to them, no matter what kind of music they are listening to or clothes they are wearing. I mean, I love Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, and homegirl had never even heard of a computer! 

 

Also, just again to return to the content issue, as it is one that has come up in other forums and in people's reviews...there were probably a ton of people in my high school who never drank and never smoked and never hooked up--they were probably in the majority, actually. But I didn't know any of them! And I believe the overall message of my book--how important it is to be mindful of your actions, and their consequences--actually is meant to discourage and dissuade people from reckless or harmful behavior.

Melissa_W
Posts: 4,123
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver? (may be a spoiler if you haven't read the end)

Thanks! We dancers/readers/writers must stick together... :smileyhappy:
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 

and by the way, Melissa W...just checked out your blog and it's great--I'm also a dancer!

 

 


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Melissa_W
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

I think, though, that since you made the decision to let Sam narrate in the first person we get to see that Sam has some doubts and insecurities.  She's not all bluff and swagger so that makes her more interesting (and the reader more willing to stick with her) since she's not just a stuck-up popular snot.  If we hadn't been able to read Sam's thoughts she would have been far less appealing, IMO.
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


KateBrianIsAwesome wrote:

Hi Lauren,

   I was wondering if there were any parts in the book that you were nervous about putting it into your novel.

   I'm also on chapter 5 and the story is getting better. Today while reading at school I got a little teary eyed. I have a really good feeling about the ending. Usually if a book starts off with bad characters or bad things (sex, drugs, drinking, parties) I quit reading the book. I'm totally against drinking and drugs. But your characters had this quality about them that made me feel like they were going to change and that you were not just writing about a teen party randomly. That you had an important message to tell us readers. So I couldn't stop reading Before i Fall.


 

Well, I was certainly nervous about having Sam start off so unlikeable. I was really worried that people might, as you say you sometimes do, get so turned off by her behavior at the beginning of the book that they put the book down--when the whole point is that she has to evolve and change and come to a different understanding of herself and others by the end of the novel! So yes, I was nervous about that. And Day Four was hard to write--she is going totally wild, and she is truly and deeply unhappy by that point, and at a low; it was hard to abuse my character so much, and just try and pray that readers would stay with me, and with her, and see her through onto the other side of that.

 


 

Oh and BTW--Thank YOU for sticking with it! :smileyhappy:

 


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?


Melissa_W wrote:
I think, though, that since you made the decision to let Sam narrate in the first person we get to see that Sam has some doubts and insecurities.  She's not all bluff and swagger so that makes her more interesting (and the reader more willing to stick with her) since she's not just a stuck-up popular snot.  If we hadn't been able to read Sam's thoughts she would have been far less appealing, IMO.
Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


Lauren-Oliver wrote:

 


KateBrianIsAwesome wrote:

Hi Lauren,

   I was wondering if there were any parts in the book that you were nervous about putting it into your novel.

   I'm also on chapter 5 and the story is getting better. Today while reading at school I got a little teary eyed. I have a really good feeling about the ending. Usually if a book starts off with bad characters or bad things (sex, drugs, drinking, parties) I quit reading the book. I'm totally against drinking and drugs. But your characters had this quality about them that made me feel like they were going to change and that you were not just writing about a teen party randomly. That you had an important message to tell us readers. So I couldn't stop reading Before i Fall.


 

Well, I was certainly nervous about having Sam start off so unlikeable. I was really worried that people might, as you say you sometimes do, get so turned off by her behavior at the beginning of the book that they put the book down--when the whole point is that she has to evolve and change and come to a different understanding of herself and others by the end of the novel! So yes, I was nervous about that. And Day Four was hard to write--she is going totally wild, and she is truly and deeply unhappy by that point, and at a low; it was hard to abuse my character so much, and just try and pray that readers would stay with me, and with her, and see her through onto the other side of that.

 


 

Oh and BTW--Thank YOU for sticking with it! :smileyhappy:

 

Katie,Lauren..I was in the middle of Chapter 5 and cried,so I will finish tonight.Getting closer to the end of the book,is difficult,we are really getting to what Lauren wanted us to feel,.very intense for me...Vtc..

 


 

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

Thanks Lauren,"Delirium"  On TBR  2011..Sounds like we will be waiting for it to come out,from all the kudos we are giving you for "Before I Fall.'..we will never leave,you are stuck with us... ..In fact harperteen.com.,is a great way to get all your updates..I believe thats the site...I signed up but with my other email address...Have a Good Night..Vtc..Susan

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Inspired Correspondent
CharlieG31
Posts: 257
Registered: ‎01-06-2010
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

Dear Lauren:

 

I am 17, and I can see a lot of characters related to my friends and not so friends in High School :smileyhappy:.

My question for you is , what was the process of defining the characters? I mean how did you define Sam's characteristis, the girls characters and then all the "extra teen characters" in the story , was it like what you remember of high schoo/college or what was  the process of defining the characters and giving them their traits, the way they talk etc.

 

I am currently in chapter 5 and I gotta say your book is awesome, congratulations , definitely a bestseller!

 

Charlie

"The questions are more essential than the answers."
Karl Theodor Jaspers

Correspondent
GreenFairyLV
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎06-23-2009
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

My question is about the book cover.  On page 17 Sam says one of her good traits are her big brown eyes.  The picture on the book cover the girl has blue eyes.  Is this a mistake?  Perhaps the person who designed it didn't read it?  I'm only on chapter 4 so I don't know if maybe this will make since later.  Anyway its been bothering me. 

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SpunkiiReader
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Registered: ‎05-08-2009
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?


GreenFairyLV wrote:

My question is about the book cover.  On page 17 Sam says one of her good traits are her big brown eyes.  The picture on the book cover the girl has blue eyes.  Is this a mistake?  Perhaps the person who designed it didn't read it?  I'm only on chapter 4 so I don't know if maybe this will make since later.  Anyway its been bothering me. 


 

I was wondering the same thing. Is it maybe Juliet? cause she has blue eyes.

Frequent Contributor
Sheltiemama
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎06-01-2009
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Re: Questions for Lauren Oliver?

Which of the groups did you belong to, the popular girls or the ones they picked on? Or neither?