Before I Fall
By Lauren Oliver
I cannot recommend this book more. It really stayed with me after I finished reading. In fact, it was good that I read the whole thing in one day. I just could not put it down.
Here is a synopsis from the Kobo website:
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.
This is one of those books that I think is better to read if you know as little as possible about the story. Sam ends up living the same day over and over, conscious that she is in her own sort of Groundhog Day-style situation.
I liked the way Sam tried to change things, a little differently each ‘day’. What she ultimately realizes and chooses to do is something that I think each reader should find out for him/herself, so I won’t give it away. However, this book did make me think about what I would want to do or change if I knew I had one day to live – and then wonder why I don’t do or change those things now.
I think this story would have worked very well as a non-young adult fiction novel, but I’m really glad that it’s young adult, with characters in high school, because I think high school is a time that a lot of us look back on and think that we might have chosen to be different, if we’d known then what we know now. It’s almost like I was living vicariously through Sam at some points in this book.
I also think that the book’s message is one that would be good for current high school students to read. Sam and her friends are pretty and popular, and like most popular girls in novels, they are not always very nice. By living her last day over and over, Sam begins to see things differently and I hope that young people reading this book would come to see things the way Sam does as well.
Overall, I strongly recommend this book. I wish I could talk some more about the plot but I really don’t want to give anything away! If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought about it in the comments!