Before discussing Lauren Oliver‘s YA novel Before I Fall, I must give a warning: The high school experience in this book feels dangerously real. You might be transported back in time. I was. And after scanning a few reviews on Good Reads, I know I am not alone. All those things you might rather forget will be back in your head.
From the jacket flap:
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.
Told from the brutally honest first person point of view, Sam lives her last day over and over again – and yet it never felt tedious and redundant to me.
For me, Lauren Oliver nails high school. All the complicated messiness of ups and downs, the things that are oh-so-important in that place and time. I knew these people: the bullies and their victims, the jerky yet crush-worthy guys, the dorky but sweet guys who don’t have a chance, the flirty teachers (as well as the ones that are strict or concerned or clueless), the friends who you honestly might hate if you didn’t love them so much.
It was all the interactions and relationships that kept me turning the page. The way her characters are deeply yet honestly flawed. And the reality that all day every day we make choices. Big and small, but each one takes us on a certain path, towards a certain destiny. I love the idea of what if…
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK