Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 470 (Hardcover)
Release Date: March 2, 2010
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.
Sam is one of the worst YA characters I have ever experienced. Not that the author wrote her poorly, just the opposite. She is so real and I can definitely picture her clearly. She's just a bad person. She's mean, shallow, dishonest, and a bully. Her friends aren't any better either. Does this mean she deserved to die? Well, no, of course not, but she is truly awful. However, it does take dying for Sam to realize something has to change.
This could have gotten extremely repetitive since it takes place on the same day multiple times, but each time it's a little different. At first it seems like Sam has gotten a second chance at life, to change the events of that fateful Friday and stay alive. Of course there's a twist, but Sam is so self-absorbed that she thinks this all about her. Sure she had a hand in what happened, but her second chance is not about her own life. It's not even about her equally awful friends' lives. It takes her a few days and numerous questionable decisions to finally realize this.
The author has tackled a very tough subject with Before I Fall and in a very interesting way. She shows just how damaging bullying can be, even if you don't think what you're doing is that bad. We all really need to take a step back and consider how our actions affect others. I don't think this book is preachy at all, but a very realistic portrayal of the effects of bullying. Does Sam magically become an amazing person by the end? No, and I think that's okay. She realized her mistakes and tries to make amends, even if her methods are shallow. But that fits her character, and the ending would be completely unbelievable otherwise.