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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives 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.


Before I Fall is a very quickly-moving, stick-to-the-point type of book. I really liked it--but I also wasn't very surprised by it. It was just one of those books that you basically know what's going to happen just by reading the inside flap. This isn't to say that it was predictable--it is just to say that you know, even before you start reading, that she relives her last day seven times. Which is, virtually, a basic outline of the entire plot.

If you don't look at it critically, though--which I didn't, while I was reading it--it's a really great book. It has a ton of teen girl drama, a pinch of romance to keep you going, and Oliver did an amazing job of only putting in the interesting details of the endless Cupid Day. It also touches on the questions we all can't but help but ask in regards to death; What happens to me after I die? It also deals with the idea of fate, and that every single thing that we do can lead to something huge and monumental.

While I really loved this book, I have to admit that I really, really, really hate just about every single one the characters--especially the girls. So much, in fact, that I'm surprised I was able to finish the entire thing. The girls are all just . . . well, let's face it, they're mean. The guys--especially Sam's boyfriend, Rob--are absolutely terrible (major douche-bags and jerks), and the teachers are sexually charged. Basically, they're all awful (personality-wise). But, for some reason, I still couldn't but this book down.

Another thing that really got me is that she kept on making the same mistakes. You'd think, hey, this killed me the first time around . . . why not have another go at it? No! No, no, no, no, no. Practically the entire book I either want to slap Sam, yell at her, reprimand her, and, finally, applaud her. Even with all of that bitchiness and mean-girl attitude, she's still a very strong female character. Sure, she's mean--but she still has a ton of personality, depth, and overall, great development.

And I hate to say it, but . . . I hate the ending. Sure, it's hopeful and inspirational and whatever, but it's also just generally depressing in an uber-annoying way. I'm not going to spoil it, but I'll just tell you this: what you're hoping will happen will not happen.

But, when I look at this book as a whole: I have to admit that the good aspects of it overpower the bad ones. I honestly did really love this book--and I cried when I finished. Definitely give this one a go.

Grade: A-


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