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.
©2010 Lauren Oliver (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
"Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel...This is a compelling book with a powerful message and should not be missed." (Booklist)
This was a really nice listen for me. Without giving the plot away....it was lovely to listen to a teenage girl relive a day to try to get it right. How often I wish I could have such an opportunity. The ripple affect of each little action is mind boggling. The very ending of the book was nothing short of beautiful. It took my breath away.
I don't believe that Ms. Oliver knows what it's like to be in the popular crowd. She certainly didn't portrait it in the correct light. People aren't either all good or all bad--like her main characters. She portrays all popular people as mean, stupid and evil and all non-popular people are just standing around getting kicked by them.
She did fine.
Engrossing, unpredictable, mind-bending
Sam. It is very much focused on her
Has impeccable timing of emphasis and inflection.
It was like a Butterfly Effect/Groudnhogs day type of book. in fact she mentions both in the story!
This was unexpectedly a great book. I'd never heard anything from Lauren Oliver or Sarah Drew and was immediately drawn into the story. Not being from the popular group in high school, it was interesting to get such an insight. As she keeps reliving the day, she sees how her actions have ripple effects. It demonstrates how everyone's actions make a difference whether you are popular, goth, geek, or outcast.
The narration was really good. At times the voices for the friends ran together as they all "spoke" with a lazy, whiney cadence. Sarah Drew did a great job distinguishing everyone though and the way she narrated the internal struggle with Sam was top notch.
No. I was listening to the same thing over and over again.
without Sarah Drew I wouldn't have even finished listening to the book.
I realy enjoyed 2 previous books (Delirium and Pandamoniam) and thought they were quite good. I purchased Before I Fall based on Lauren Oliver's first 2 books and also based on the performance by Sarah Drew.
The author can write -- and write well -- but brace yourself for hours and hours of mean girls and teenage cliques. The protagonist is intolerable at first but supposedly redeemed at the end. In fact she moves from brutal and self-absorbed to shallow and self-justifying ("we never thought it would hurt anyone"). I hung in despite setting it aside once, but was ultimately sorry I did. A waste of the author's talent the reader's time.
I liked it, I liked Sam as she grew. Funny thing is they are the popular girls but when she was with her friends it reminded me of being with my friends in HS and we were not popular!
Yes. I enjoyed the performance.
I was moved by Sam's transformation.
Very entertaining. Her performance added so much to the story!
I thought the ending was sad, but great!
This is a young adult novel. There are mentions of sex and some extreme partying (the high-schoolers drink and smoke pot A LOT), plus references to rape and suicide. That is, this might not be for the 11-year-old reader.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The premise is similar to the film Groundhog Day-- a self-absorbed protagonist is forced to live the same day over and over, learning lessons each time. I was kind of impressed at the risk the author took, not so much for the repetition of plot events (necessary of course for the overall thematic purpose), but for having really unlikeable "mean girls" as the main characters. Don't let that discourage you-- the author deepens the understanding of their personalities as the book goes on. I never did quite distinguish the two minor friends in the clique (never name similar characters with similar names :), but the protagonist and her best friend were sharply limned and boldly individualized.
I was expecting more of a "wow" ending, and was a bit disappointed by the soft-focus epilogue which didn't really answer the questions the story had set up. But I was really fascinated by the gritty exploration of life in a small high school and within the "in-group" of popular kids and what distinguishes them from everyone else. Well done and scary, and boy, am I glad I graduated and never looked back!
NOTE: I listened to the audio book from audible.com. I didn't think I'd like the narrator because she sounded so young at first, but she was very good at doing the voices of the different kids, and at conveying emotion, so I ended up really enjoying her narration.
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I have listened to it more than once and each time I marvel at how the author created a caste of seemingly shallow characters who are so caught up in their self-centered lives until a strange reoccuring day causes one of them to reassess her choices. It's a wonderful, somewhat predictable novel but it is beautiful in its tragedy.
My favorite character is Kent because my heart broke for him. He is Sam's true hero...a sweet and clear character who has always loved Sam but because she needs a 'cool' boyfriend to fit in with her friends and the popular cliche, she fails to take notice of him until it is too late. He is literally there for her but as fate would have it, he is now beyond her grasp. Kent is one of Sam's lessons, which she gained only after loss.
Sarah Drew's youthful voice was perfect as I was able to perfectly picture a bitchie, spoiled teenager.
It was touching when Sam was thoughtful and when she went through all her 'lasts'. In the end she hugs her little sister for the last time...the last words she says to her parents, etc. This causes the reader/listener to think about what might be our 'lasts' if we were put into Sam's shoes and we knew that certain actions would be our 'lasts'. If we were given a second chance what might we do differently? What would we notice the second time around and what mistakes might we correct?
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