Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins, February 14, 2010
Pages: 480
Buy it on Amazon.com

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: (4/5)

I loved this book and literally could not put it down. (I finished reading it in the wee hours of the morning with a tiny lamp emitting the light equivalent to a candle so my husband could sleep.) It’s a pretty long book compared to other YA books I’ve read recently, but it went by in a flash.

The story follows popular girl Sam as she goes through her own version of Groundhog Day after she has presumably died in a car accident. At first I thought rehashing the same day over and over may get boring to read, but each day was so different than the rest and brought new and sometimes shocking revelations.

Sam and her friends are the girls you love to hate, and I did have a great time hating them. I imagined them like the characters from Mean Girls, except not as dumb and more multi-dimensional. Each day we learn more about them through the different events, especially her BFF Lindsay, and you do get to see the flip side to her bitchy persona. Aside from the bullying, the relationship between the four girls actually reminds me of my own group of friends in high school and how we loved driving around, listening to music, talking about ridiculous things, acting like we were adults when we were anything but.

In fact, this book is very nostalgic for me because Lauren Oliver’s description of high school is so close to mine right down to The North Face fleeces and New Balance sneakers, that I’m sure we must be around the same age. I also really liked that this book described the partying side of high school in an accurate light (though now that I reflect back on it, it is pretty disturbing). It wasn’t glorified or taboo and there was no preachy message; she just wrote it like it is.

This is a great book and Before I Fall makes me excited to see what other tricks Lauren Oliver has up her sleeve!

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