Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 2, 2010)
Source: My Choice

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.

Wow. What can I say about Before I Fall? It has been on my "to read" list for months, and I was finally able to lay my hands on a copy. I don't know exactly what I thought this book would be, but it turned out to be completely different from everything I expected. As a reader you know from the very beginning that Samantha Kingston dies, but that isn't the real story. The real story is that she is given a chance to do something to change the horror of her death into an honorable life.

At first, I found myself highly annoyed with Samantha's self-serving attitude toward her second chance. It is a credit to Lauren Oliver's writing that I felt such a deep reaction to her writing and her characters. Sam and her friends are those girls we all knew in high school - the pretty, popular, can get away with anything girls - and I didn't really understand them, but all those emotions from high school came right to the surface as I read through the first few pages of Before I Fall.

Samantha's emotional and mental journey is so complete that I almost don't have the words to adequately express what I felt as I read through the last day of her life seven times. The true lesson in Before I Fall is that everything we do matters. Everything we do affects others. Everything we do either serves to build people up or tear them down. We have to make a conscious choice every day to be the best version of ourselves and present that to the world.

We don't get the option of reliving our lives. We don't get the option of getting to "do over" one day until we get it right. But, Samantha did. Her ultimate choice - and her final FINAL day - was purposeful and sacrificial. Samantha's choices at the end show that life isn't always about who you were, but who you choose to be.

Before I Fall is a beautiful, unexpected journey of the heart and mind. It is redemptive and sad, full of emotional encounters and the promise that people will do the right thing, eventually.

~ Emily

No comments:

Post a Comment