Monday, July 8, 2013

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I am such an optimist. Reading the synopsis of this book I felt for sure that it was a 'trick' summary. Surely the main character doesn't really die. I mean who does that? Especially to a high schooler? Well, Oliver doesn't lead you astray & yes the main character does die. (That's not a spoiler by the way!)

Samantha Kingston is a popular senior living the high school dream. She, along with her three best friends, are the 'it' girls.  They are the Queen Bees that rule the school. Unfortunately that doesn't stop her from dying. The last day of her life starts off as any other - hanging with her girls and raking in roses for Cupid Day.  Getting invited to a party at her former friend, but now weirdo Kent's house, is what leads up to her last moments. All 4 girls are drunk & the weather plays a factor in their crash. Only in reliving the day does Sam realize those aren't the only factors. The only problem with Sam dying is that she wakes up the next day to find out that she is reliving the previous day all over again.  (Think Groundhog Day) She relives it seven times to be exact. So, this begs the question......what would you do in those seven days? Would you change anything? Would you live out your wildest fantasies? Would you try and stop the inevitable?

I never thought that I would recommend a book where the main character dies. I am totally a happily ever after girl. I am the person who asks for details of a movie before I watch it just to make sure I won't be upset at the end. I am the person who skips to the end of a book to make sure nothing 'bad' happens. With all that being said, I liked this book. If only we all had the insight, in high school, that Sam gains during those seven days. If that were true, I think the world would be a much better place.

Oliver takes you on Sam's journey of self discovery in a way that doesn't make you sad. This story isn't a tear-jerker. It doesn't tug at your heartstrings. What it does is take you on a roller coaster ride. On some days you like Sam, on others you don't. She really can be a selfish bitch. Didn't we all know those girls in high school? Maybe some of you were that girl. Fortunately by the end you are back on the peak of the coaster and realize that for all of Sam's flaws, she is a good person underneath.

I guess in some ways this story has it's own happily ever after.

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