Aug 28, 2013

Before I Fall

Samantha Kingston dies in a car crash...then she wakes up in the morning and relives her last day on earth. It happens again and again without reason. Even changing her behavior and patterns doesn't prevent her from reliving "Cupid Day," the Friday before Valentine's Day where students send roses to one another as a sign of popularity (think "Four for you Glen Coco, you go Glen Coco!"). Reliving Cupid Day shines a new light on Samantha's outlook on her friends, her less than affectionate boyfriend, her family, and the outcasts she looks down on. She's quite literally forced to face herself and make changes before she can move on, whether or not it's in life or death.

Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is pretty popular with the teens at my school.  I can see why. The cover is attractive, and it has an interesting premise, good lessons, and high school drama from varying angles that any tween/teen can connect with.  Originally I felt that it wasn't the best written book - as the day repeats, characters seemingly change motivations - but when I realized this was happening as a reflection of Samantha's maturing, I had a lot more respect for the work. It still feels clumsy here and there, but for teens looking for a realistic plot about self discovery and life lessons, it's a respectable choice.

And yes, it is a less funny Groundhog's Day in YA novel form.

Because I mentioned it above: 

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