Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
Published October 25th 2010 by Harper
What if you only had 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 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times 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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Purchase link: Amazon
I’m not going to touch another book for a week. Reading another book right now would taint it, as it would be completely incapable of comparing to this. And then it would spoil the feeling I have lingering over my skin, the way I’m looking at the world in just a slightly different shade of light. This book has changed me, at least for one day. Maybe when I go to sleep, I’ll wake up and forget. But I hope not.
I had been meaning to read this book for so long, and had been hearing so much about it, that I could only resist for so long. Of course, when I did finally crack the cover, it was with a stiff upper lip, thinking “It can’t be that good.” Right off the bat, I noticed that the writing was great. Perfect, even. While I didn’t like the main character much, I knew it was because I wasn’t supposed to like her. Yet. And even while I disliked her, and disagreed with her actions, I still GOT her; I felt what she felt.
I had so many flashbacks to highschool, I’d swear I’d done acid! I had such a clear picture of the hallways, the cafeteria, the teachers, and of course, the kids. I was never one of the popular kids (nor did I want to be) but I wasn’t exactly a social pariah either. I suppose you could’ve considered me a “floater”, never belonging to any one single group, bridging the gap between the slackers and the brainiacs. I was a band non-geek; I played the flute (insert band camp joke here). Oliver brought it all back, with her perfectly placed words. I got pretty lucky with my school’s “cool kids”. They were genuinely nice (most of the time), although still above and apart from the rest of us lowly teens. This book made me wonder what kind of social experience they had, going to the same school as I did, but in a totally different way.
The best part of Before I Fall was that the characters were absolutely human. We all make mistakes, especially in high school! Peer pressure, raging hormones, bullying and being bullied. It’s something we all have to live through. Except there are those of us who don’t live through it. This is a book I wish all teens would read, getting a look at both sides of the bullying coin. Teen suicide is something that breaks my heart, time and time again. I wish it was as easy to fix as someone saying “It gets better”, but that’s like sticking a bandaid on a gunshot wound. Oliver made me feel! I could feel Sam’s frustration, Lindsay’s embarrassment, Juliet’s desperation. And I was helpless to stop it.
If I’m lucky, I can find a book that gives me goosebumps. Maybe one that makes me a little misty. This one made me downright bawl! We’re talking blubbering, slobbery, snotty wailing! I can’t stop thinking about this book, and I don’t want to! I want to keep it tucked away behind my eyes, reminding me that there are consequences to my actions, every day.
Read this book. Please.
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