Before I Fall is told in the first-person by high school Senior, Samantha Kingston, as she lives one day over and over again - like Groundhog Day without Bill Murray's humor. The day she is living over again is the day she dies.
She is in the popular clique, has the cutest boyfriend, goes to the best parties, and even gets to smart-mouth her teachers without consequence. Why? Because that's the way high school hierarchy works. Is she the nicest or the prettiest girl? No. And she quickly realizes that popularity may save her from detention, but it won't save her from fate.
She realizes the ripple effect one small action has on everything and everyone around her, and a big change may be catastrophic. As she lives this one day over and over again, she chooses what she wants to change, what she can control, and learns that some things you simply can not change.
"I'm a nonperson, a shadow, a ghost. Even before the accident I'm not sure that I was a whole person - that's what I'm realizing now. And I'm not sure where the damage begins."
When I saw reviews for Before I Fall practically wallpapering the book blogs a few months ago, it caught my eye, but I was doubtful that I would love it as much as other bloggers like Jenn's Bookshelf. Bookalicious or S.Krishna's Books. Was I wrong!
I couldn't put this book down. It may sound hefty at 480 pages, but I read it practically in one day. It's been a while since I devoured a book like this. I cooked with it, I folded laundry with it, I sat outside with it, and I skipped an episode of my favorite show to read it!
Oliver's characters are complex and honest, even if unlikable at times. Each time Samantha lives her day, she finds out more about the people around her, their lives, their secrets. In return, she does a lot of soul searching herself, taking a hard look at who she is and what she is leaving behind. During her journey, she offers her audience some advice on the hard lessons she's learning.
"Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it,roll around in it, let it slide like couins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know."
I'm still not sure I am okay with the way Oliver closed the book. I had to re-read the last few pages. Maybe I simply didn't want it to end. I don't want to spoil the ending by telling you what I wanted and didn't get, but if you enjoy YA fiction, you won't be disappointed with Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall.
About the Book:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
About the Author:
Visit Lauren Oliver's website/blog here.
Visit Before I Fall at Harper Collins for a reading guide, audio excerpt and more.