Before I Fall is the excellently written, thought provoking debut novel by Lauren Oliver. This is a gripping, fast paced story that had me hooked from the first pages. It kept me up late a couple nights reading since I could not put it down.
This book tells the story of high school student Samantha (Sam) Kingston. Sam has it all- popularity, best friends, a handsome boyfriend. She loses it all in a heartbeat when she suddenly dies in a car accident. Sam wakes up the morning after her death, to find she is reliving the day again. She relives the day of her death 7 times and finds how making small changes in her day can make a big impact on the lives of those around her.
In the beginning of this story it seemed like a cross between Mean Girls and Groundhog Day. Sam and her friends are in some ways typical mean girls and are selfish and exploit their popularity to put down others. However, as Sam lives her day over and over we see more layers behind her and her friends. It is a really interesting story telling device. And though Sam and her friends make some bad decisions we do get a sense of where they are coming from. The friendship between Sam and her 3 best friends felt very authentic and I enjoyed their scenes although felt like shaking them sometimes.
This story brought on such a roller coaster of emotions – I laughed and cried and felt frustrated, and empathized. I’m sure this story will stay with me for a long time.
Lauren Oliver is a new author to watch and I can’t wait to read her next book. In the meantime I’ll have to read Before I Fall again.