Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Came out: March 2, 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins
Age Group: Young Adult
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: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.Instead, it turns out to be her last.Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
There's a reason that this is one of my favorites: this was a spectacular debut. Amazing description and deep passages that will make you think about the world in new ways, this book is beautiful. It's not raw, but it is up-front to you about life, love, and death. I loved Sam: she was honest, thoughtful, and interesting.She reacted very honestly. She reacted in a way and said things that made you realize that no matter how much you try to deny it, everyone is selfish and mean sometimes. She asks whether what she did was so much worse than what everyone else does. She tells hard truths, but they are told in such a way that you are mesmerized by Lauren's words.There's a reason that when my friend read the back, she sat thoughtfully for a minute and said, "That's deep." This book has such beautiful writing, hard truths, and heartbreak, that it is impossible for it not to be talked about.The secondary characters are breathtaking. The unspoken secrets, chemistry, and backstories to them are intricate and intoxicating. You can really see how they evolved into the person they are and how they're probably going to turn out like. Lindsay, Elodie, and Ally all brilliantly compliment the stories with their individual personality and backstories. Not so much like Pretty Little Liars-esque secrets, just ones that nobody really talks about.This book isn't scandalous; it isn't about secrets. This book is about the blurred lines between right and wrong and how your smallest actions can change everything. You can see Sam grow throughout the book and you see what she learns. She talks about regrets, mistakes, memories, secrets, and wishes. It all plays out amazingly.There's even a bit of action in it during her last few days. She tries desperately to undo the mistakes that she has made, but she only has one day to do it that restarts over and over again for a week. Engrossing, deep, and sure to touch your heart, Before I Fall is a stunning debut.Recommended for anybody who loves: Delirium; Lauren Oliver; Elizabeth Scott; deep books; Lurlene McDaniel; etc,.Possible book club questions:DO you think that what she does is so much worse than everybody else?What poll do you think her death will have had on the community?Do you think that Izzie will take over the "special spot"?Do you think she fixed things?How do you think Juliet viewed Sam in middle school?etc,.