Jul 31, 2010

IBBMP 2010 REVIEW #2 Before I Fall

Lauren Oliver

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • ARC: 472 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006172680X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061726804
  • Source: received the ARC from Lenore
  • My rating: 5/5
Summary: 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.

This novel has been on my radar for a while, one that I was very eager to read. Imagine my joy when Lenore offered to send it to me. It didn't disappoint me, it ranked far above my expectations and is now one of my favorite reads this year. 

Samantha Kingston is reliving the day of her death seven times. She's done it all; from the "I simply won't be there" phase to "I don't give a damn, I'm going to die anyway" attitude. Somewhere in between, she's realized that it's not at all so simple. Someone has to pay the price. The best thing Sam can do is to be the best of herself and to live the last day in the way she wants to be remembered as by her family and friends.

 I was slightly surprised by the length of this novel. It consists of seven chapters, one for each day. Soon I found that it's unbelievably easy to read. The pages are just flipping as you race through this great novel. The pacing is not so much the reason; it's the style, simple and easy, that makes the story flow. Yet, knowing that it's kind of a voice from the grave, many times I felt chills down my spine. There's nothing gory or gruesome about it. It's the tragedy of a young girl who could be just any teenager you know. It's the (un)predictability that scares-because, let's face it- we always believe that these kind of things happen to some other people.
There's a powerful message to the novel, which makes me recommend it to everyone, being a YA or not. It got me thinking long after I've finished the book. What would you do on your last day? How can you ever tell that this is not your last day? Sounds depressing, but it's not; it has to happen; the question is only what we leave behind.

The change in Sam's personality is wonderfully done. All the other character are well-crafted nicely layered as well. They quite bothered me at first; four shallow, superficial party animals. Later, as they unravel, they gain on credibility and depth.

If you can't tell already, I really loved this novel. Entertaining and deep at the same time, an amusing read with a life lesson... The ending has left me with swirling emotions; the mix of "this can't be the end" and "I guess it had to happen", the inevitability of death and wanting...more.

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