Friday, March 5, 2010
Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Released: March 2, 2010
Hardcover: 480 pages
(special thanks to the B&N's First Look program)
My rating: 5 / 5
One night Samantha Kingston was a typical teenager, out with friends. She was part of the 'in' crowd and everyone was headed to a house party. But on the way home, something jumped in front of their car, they swerved off the road and Sam is killed. Sam is given a gift...she has the opportunity to relive her last day, fixing some wrongs as she see's things in a whole new light.
This debut by Lauren is simply striking. A great novel has the ability to suck you in, and this one goes that step further and makes you question yourself. The plot and character development are top notch, it really felt you were back in high school again. Each character is unique: some you love, some you hate and some you just plain feel sorry for. What I loved about reliving the day over and over again was seeing why each character acted the way they did. One of Sam's best friends, Lindsay, was shallow, snobby and just plain mean to others below her and yet by the end you realize why she's built herself up by putting others down. I loved seeing the vulnerable side of her. The progress Sam makes as she relives the same day is also amazing to see. It's too bad she's realizing things after her death, but better late then never. I wonder if the book offers something different for teen vs adult readers? As an adult reader myself, high school for me was portrayed perfectly in the book. Looking back I see how easily someone can go from being popular to an outcast just by one rumor and how people sold their souls just to try and fit in, even hurting those around them to get there. That's not to say what happens is right, just that it is what it is.
The book is a great take on the butterfly effect...what if you could go back in time and set things right.