Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Available in Hardcover and Audiobook
Description: 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: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.


Review: I was really hesitant to read this book because of the plot line - a popular girl has to relieve her last day over and over until she learns to be nice? Eh, it didn't seem that original. Well, that is exactly the plot (well, almost), but it was so well executed that I couldn’t help but totally fall in love with this book.

Sam starts out as a pretty “typical” mean girl. Obviously, she’s mean and snotty for her own reasons - insecurity, peer pressure, etc. but as she’s forced to relive the same day over and over, she grows and her perspective changes, but not so drastically that she still isn’t Sam. That’s the real art in this story - the character changes for the better, but not so drastically that she still isn’t her; it’s a very subtle, but profound shift and brilliantly done.

I was blown away by the character arch in this book. Sam’s reactions to her Groundhog Day experience is very natural. She goes from “I must be crazy” into denial, anger, and acceptance - the full spectrum of grieving is covered. As each day progresses the reader discovers more and more of not only Sam, but of her friends. There’s real insight into the behaviors and tragedies of her past and her friends'. It makes the “mean girls” real and very sympathetic.

This book was heartbreaking but so well done that I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. I fell instantly in love with Lauren Oliver’s style and can’t wait to read her next book, Delirium.



Reviewed by Megan
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