Sunday, April 8, 2012

19. Before I Fall

Book #19: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: March 2, 2010
470 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

What if you only had 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 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times 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 book broke my heart. Lauren Oliver captured redemption and love and loss perfectly. Yes all of this could have happened to the character while she was alive, but instead she finds her peace through death after reliving the final day of her life over seven times. Samantha Kingston is your average mean girl: she has her popular clique of friends, has ditched anyone from her past that wasn't cool enough, and is too cool to hang out with her family. Friday should just be another day in her wonderful life but it turns out to be her last, well not really. Samantha gets the chance to do something that we all wish we could do - a do-over. 
Failure, mischief, and complete lack of caring ensue as Samantha goes through that Friday over and over, trying to discover the mystery behind her death. It's exactly the same way anyone who could have the chance to do this would do. You live it up, but still end up alone at the end because you are dead. She hurts some people, gets to know some people better, and in the process learns who she really is and tries to change herself. It's brutal and heart wrenching, watching Samantha become a better person when it's not going to change anything really. And yet, it captured my heart and torn at its strings and I never wanted it to let go.
Each character has a unique story and even they change over the course of the novel even though they aren't the ones going through what Samantha is. There are her best friends, Lindsey, Ally and Elody, who we find out secrets, hopes, dreams and mistakes that change how Samantha sees everything. Kent, Samantha's old friend from grade school whom she ditched once she got popular, becomes a bigger part in her life than her boyfriend. He is caring and has never stopped thinking about Samantha even after she chose to pretend he didn't exist. And of course Juliet, a hauntingly beautiful girl who they make fun of so much without realizing what effect it was actually having on her. 
Oliver's prose flowed from page to page, leaving me breathless. She captured death, life, and pain so perfectly that I believed everything Samantha went through and felt, everything that she faced was real and felt like it w as happening to me. I'm not normally a fan of books about death, since I don't handle it very well, but after reading this, I may just pick up some other ones. It reminds us that this could be our last day on earth and we should live it to its full potential. 
“Here's another thing to remember: hope keeps you alive. Even when you're dead, it's the only thing that keeps you alive.” 

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