Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins, February 14, 2010
Book Synopsis (from Goodreads): For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam 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 ever imagined.
I loved this book and literally could not put it down. (I finished reading it in the wee hours of the morning with a tiny lamp emitting the light equivalent to a candle so my husband could sleep.) It’s a pretty long book compared to other YA books I’ve read recently, but it went by in a flash.
The story follows popular girl Sam as she goes through her own version of Groundhog Day after she has presumably died in a car accident. At first I thought rehashing the same day over and over may get boring to read, but each day was so different than the rest and brought new and sometimes shocking revelations.
Sam and her friends are the girls you love to hate, and I did have a great time hating them. I imagined them like the characters from Mean Girls, except not as dumb and more multi-dimensional. Each day we learn more about them through the different events, especially her BFF Lindsay, and you do get to see the flip side to her bitchy persona. Aside from the bullying, the relationship between the four girls actually reminds me of my own group of friends in high school and how we loved driving around, listening to music, talking about ridiculous things, acting like we were adults when we were anything but.
In fact, this book is very nostalgic for me because Lauren Oliver’s description of high school is so close to mine right down to The North Face fleeces and New Balance sneakers, that I’m sure we must be around the same age. I also really liked that this book described the partying side of high school in an accurate light (though now that I reflect back on it, it is pretty disturbing). It wasn’t glorified or taboo and there was no preachy message; she just wrote it like it is.
This is a great book and Before I Fall makes me excited to see what other tricks Lauren Oliver has up her sleeve!