Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pub. Date: March 2, 2010
Main Themes: Death, Choices, Moving on, Romance, Friendship, Family
Plot (from GoodReads):
“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—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-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 had ever imagined.”
Lauren Oliver’s debut novel left me speechless. Well, I suppose I did a fair amount of babbling, but it wasn’t exactly coherent – I was in awe. I never expected that I’d be up all night because I simply could not put BEFORE I FALL down!
The plot of BEFORE I FALL is not one that is new to readers, but it is classic. Samantha dies unexpectedly, but does not “pass on.” Instead she relives her last day repeatedly, until she figures out the key to escaping the limbo-like state. Oliver’s take on the premise added twists that made BEFORE I FALL truly unique.
Oliver characterized her main character, Samantha, perfectly. She had so many layers and even as she did horrid, mean-girl things, she pulled me in and made me understand her. I can honestly say I identified with Samantha. She is now one of my favorite narrators!
Samantha’s growth throughout the novel progressed perfectly. She does not immediately change her self-centered ways, she must make an effort to change. She must slow down and notice all the small details in her everyday life and how even her smallest actions make ripples and affect others. I am so glad that BEFORE I FALL was so lengthy, partially because I didn’t want it to end, but also because it allowed for the plot to unfold at just the right pace.
There is a romantic plot line… and it was so, so good… but it was also so very painful. This aspect of the novel cemented my love for this novel. I adored the entire plot and novel, but his seemly doomed story was just so utterly romantic. I am a romance junkie and BEFORE I FALL totally fed my obsession. It made me cry, but was still satisfying.
BEFORE I FALL is a must-read. And, I think, a must-buy! Oliver’s novels will all have a spot on my bookshelf… I’m already anxiously awaiting her next novel!