Before I Fall
By: Lauren Oliver
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—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.
My Rating: 5/5
Every once and a while, as a reader, you have the pleasure of opening up a book that you are able to take so much away from. Before I Fall is one of those books. It will make you look at your own life differently and evaluate it as well. It will make you realize that life really is precious, and that it can change drastically at any given moment. It will make you grateful for all the small little things that you take for granted on a regular basis and often overlook. It will also make you examine your multiple relationships with people and how great of an affect you can have on a human life, even if you don't realize it.
Books like Before I Fall remind me of why I love to read. As a reader, you're able to take away so much from a life that isn't your own, from experiences that are not yours. You can learn and grown in the course of a few hundred pages. This novel is like a journey that's worth every second and that you don't want to end.
I will start off with the characters. I've read a handful of reviews on Before I Fall and many highlighted the fact that they disliked Samantha. Many actually loathed her, especially in the beginning. I never felt this way about Sam. She was just trying to fit in, to belong. She'd lead a fairly simple and egocentric life and didn't really pay much attention to anything else which so many of us are guilty of doing on multiple occasions. I couldn't blame her for wanting to hold onto acceptance after having achieved it. I didn't like the way she behaved at times, a few occurrences even made me cringe yet it's difficult for me to truly hate a protagonist. There are always two sides to every story and I always do my best to take both of those sides in, to try and understand the character and why they're acting the way they are. I also got the sense that deep down, there was a kindness to Sam that she may not have necessarily always outwardly portrayed. She was flawed which to me, only added to her depth. After all, none of us are perfect and we've all done things we're not proud of.
One of my favourite parts of this novel was the friendship between Sam and her three best friends Lindsay, Ally, and Elody. Each friend was different and brought something interesting and dynamic to the plot and to Sam's life as well. The bond between these four was so authentic and realistic. I don't think I've ever come across a friendship that's been portrayed so honestly and so true. If anything, it reminded me a lot of the friendship I share with my closest friends. The moments where you just laugh for minutes at a time, forgetting what was so funny in the first place, the silly things you say, the inside jokes that make no sense to anyone but you and them, the sad and difficult moments where they're the only ones that can make you feel better. All of this was present in Before I Fall. Even though Sam's friends weren't always the nicest, and I didn't agree with how they felt and treated others, I still really enjoyed them which I think can largely be attributed to the fact that they brought out the best in one another. Like Sam, Lindsay, Elody, and Ally had their flaws but they also had positive qualities as well. It is impossible to like everything about a person and I feel that's true about characters in novels as well.
The originality of the plot is another aspect I greatly enjoyed. We've seen this whole waking up to the same day premise before (umm Groundhog Day anyone?) but that's where the similarities end. The rest of this novel is authentic and so much fun to read. February twelfth varies so greatly in the novel from one day to another. Sometimes, it made me feel as if I were reading a different novel. I loved the contrasting days a lot and I enjoyed as Sam grew and developed over the course of those days and experiences.Best of all, I really had no idea where the story was taking me or how it would end which only made me more eager to read on. The plot also showcased to the reader just how different a day can turn out based on simple choices that we make all the time, most without even realizing it.
In conclusion, I think everyone should read this book. I really could go on for days about the aspects in this novel that I enjoyed. I've highlighted only a few because there were just so many of them present in Before I Fall. It is a truly fantastic read. I cannot wait to see what Lauren Oliver writes in the future.