Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Source: Self Purchased
Available as of March 2, 2010
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.
When I first read Before I Fall, I thought it was good. However, I never caught the little details, the bits of irony, or that maybe this was what Sam deserved for the way she lived her life; I was too caught up in wondering how each day would end. Would she wake up and live or would she have another repeat. Upon a second reading, I really thought about how I would feel if I had to relive the same day over and over again.
Samantha Kingston begins day one, Cupid Day, as a selfish, judgmental, irresponsible follower of Lindsay Edgecombe. She is the epitome of popular and because of her status she can get away with anything knowing there will be no consequences for her actions. She has no respect for herself or her teachers and looks down upon all other students. And then it happens, upon leaving a party Lindsay loses control of her vehicle and goes careening off the road. Sam dies and begins to dream of falling. She wakes up at 6:50 AM to her little sister Izzy saying she is going to be late for school. She begins reliving Cupid Day all over again, but this time she gets to make new choices. As the story progresses, Sam realizes she doesn't like the person she has become and tries to fix herself in order to, hopefully, live to see the next day.
Throughout the novel Sam takes breaks to talk to the reader directly. She makes comments asking us to think about ourselves before judging her for her actions. I enjoyed these little snip-its the best because I got to take a break and reflect upon my own life. I asked my self questions like: how will I be remembered, am I who I want to be, and do I do at least one good thing a day? This book made me question myself and my morals.
Lauren Oliver did a great job weaving in ironic statements for the characters. The most memorable statement for me was a quote of Sam's saying, "When my grandmother was still alive we would visit her, and even thought I was no more than six, I remember thinking: I hope I die young." All I could think after reading this was, "Well, you get what you hope for."
Overall, this book was a wonderful read. Granted the chapters are long (only seven!), they are sectioned off by headers to make finding a good place to stop easy.
This book satisfies one of my twenty books for the 2012 Completely Contemp Challenge.