Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
Have you ever read one of those books that filled your mind with a myriad of feelings that you found it difficult to breath due to the emotional weight of it all? Well, I have found that beauty and sadness in reading BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver.
As I started to read BEFORE I FALL I admit to not liking Sam, the protagonist of the story, in fact I despised her. She exuded the typical behavior of a stuck-up popular high school girl, but as the story evolves so does Sam and you bear witness to her spectacular journey. The miracle of change, redemption and realization of what matters most in life.
BEFORE I FALL begins with Samantha Kingston reliving the events of the day before the crash that takes her young life. At first you get to know Sam and her friends, and you have to withhold the urge to slam the book on them as you witness their antics and cringe for they are not likeable. The day winds down with all of them attending a party that ends with a deadly crash. Yet, that is only the beginning of this amazing story.
After the crash Sam is somehow suspended in time forced to relive her last day in a sort of purgatory. In fact, she relives the day she dies seven times. At first she cannot seem to understand what has happened to her. Then with each day, as she approaches situations differently, events change and she learns more about herself and those around her, friend and foe. Then Sam realizes what she is supposed to do, why she has been given this gift and although the road is filled with self-doubt and heartache she does not quit until she has that last "perfect" day.
I bet you wonder how a day can be relieved seven times without seeming redundant and boring and that is due to the amazing skill that Lauren Oliver has. Each day that was played out reveiled a new twist and turn that slowly changed your feelings towards Sam from dislike to admiration. I could not stop reading. I had to know how things played out and was transfixed and moved until the very end.
BEFORE I FALL was one of my all time favorite reads and if you enjoyed IF I STAY, ELSEWHERE and THE EVER AFTER then this book is the perfect read for you and even if you haven't read those books you should read BEFORE I FALL for it will stay with you forever.