Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult
Year: 2010 (Release date: 3/2/2010)
Source: Review copy from HarperCollins’ First Look program
Plot summary (from publisher):
What if you had only one day to live?
What would you do? Who would you kiss?
And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. She’s expecting to attend a typical Friday night party with her friends, but instead a terrible accident takes her life.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she relives 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 had ever imagined.
Other Books I’ve Read By Author: None, Before I Fall is Oliver’s debut novel
Why I Picked Up This Book: I chose to participate in the First Look reader review program and this was the next book up. I hadn’t heard much about it but I thought it looked interesting.
In Before I Fall, we are meant to dislike the main character at the beginning of the novel. And I despised the Samantha Kingston of Day One. She and her friends are simply selfish, horrible high school students. They are the mean girls. And they fully believe that their elevated status in the caste system of their high school entitles them to be that way.
But Sam quickly changes after the accident. She wakes up the next morning remembering everything from previous day but forced to relive it. This Groundhog Day/Butterfly Effect-type story is captivating and unlike any of its predecessors.
Sam quickly learns that her actions have consequences (and isn’t that an important lesson for us all). But more than that, she learns that the tiniest change in her behavior can have a major impact on someone else. But can she change things enough?
I really enjoyed this book and I found Oliver to be a very good writer (I may be a little jealous as she is the same age as me and I don’t have a debut novel…). I think she managed to accurately capture today’steenage culture and its problems.
This book is about many things: relationships, taking chances, and making choices, but if this story is about any one thing, it’s about hope. It will have you racing through to the end and leave you feeling – though a little emotionally drained – optimistic.
But at the beginning of the night anything’s possible. p. 58
It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It’s never occurred to me before; I’ve never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different. p. 285
…both nights we were so close that if one of us had breathed we would have ended up kissing…. p. 352
Will I Read This Author Again?: Yes