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)
I finished listening to the audiobook this morning and I know that this book is one that will resonate with me for a long, long time.
The quick synopsis is that Sam Kingston is a high school mean girl who dies and then experiences her own version of Groundhog Day for a week.
I must preface my review by saying that the emotions that bubbled up as I read Before I Fall ran the gamut from remembered pain, conviction, frustration, compassion, regret, anger, and elation. I hated high school for so many reasons, including dealing with the silly cliques as portrayed in this story.
Oliver remembers high school too well. Even as one who attended high school 25-30 years ago, the same issues remain for poor, poor adolescents. And even adults, really. We all carry hidden pain and insecurities, right? It just seems that they are magnified when you're a teenager. What Oliver has done with this book is to allow us, through Sam, to experience a sort of theraputic reminiscence of those terrible years. You will come away from it thinking of the people you knew from those days - the mean girls and the rest, too.
I won't mention any specifics from the book, because I prefer not to read or write spoiler filled reviews. From the first words, so perfectly narrated by Sarah Drew (who, as my sister said, completely nails teen girl voice), this book hooked me in. I was disturbed throughout most of the book, but in a good way. And the journey that Sam takes in her repetition of the day she died is a wonder.
I love Lauren Oliver's writing style. She writes beautiful prose, with real characters, and realistic dialogue. She is a master. That Before I Fall is her first book is testament to her skill.
I highly recommend Before I Fall, especially for fans of young adult fiction. It does contain adult language, drug/alcohol use, sexual discussion - pretty much what happens on a daily basis with most teenagers. But I think it's a valuable read.
I have enjoyed other Lauren Oliver novels so I thought I might like this one. It's not my first YA novel but it is one of the younger ones. It's about a girl who relives the same day over and over for one week. It has a good message where as the more days she repeats the more she realizes what's really important. Kind of like the seven stages of grief. I would recommend it for a YA but don't forget the author's description, prepare yourself for the plot.
I don't want to spoil it for anyone so if you want to be completely surprised, stop reading now..................Even though you know the outcome of that last day you find yourself hoping the author found a way to change her fate. You end of hoping for it and being a little disappointed, but at the same time, the end result was for a good reason.
I managed to finish it, but I was certainly not excited to start listening. If I got it for free, I probably would not have finished.
This was a fantastic listen. Before I Fall was one of the best audiobooks I have listened to.
All of the characters are written with empathy, so I liked them all despite their faults.
This story lends itself well to the audio form, and Sarah Drew reads the story very well. Her teenager voices are very accurate. If you find teenagers to be very annoying, you might find her voices too good!
I found this story amazing even as a 40 year old reader. Lauren Oliver did an amazing job of taking me back to my teen years and struggle through the challenges of fitting in and finding myself. I laughed, I cried..Great book. Made me take a second look at life and remember the things in life that are important. I will read anything Lauren writes in the futures. I have done this to date and am a big fan so far.
Native Californian, but lived in TX for 2.5 yrs where I joined a neighborhood book club and never looked back! I listen and read books! After 5 years of raving about audiobooks, I finally got my husband hooked!
I was very surprised by this story. At first I didn't like Samantha much or her friends. She and her friends are "mean girls". But each day that is lived over again, peels back a layer of Samantha and her life, as well as her friends. You are made to realize that they are just as vunerable and flawed as everyone else. When Samantha learns that she dies, she goes thru the process of "grief", there is denial, pain/guilt, anger, depression, upward turn, reconstruction, and acceptance. She sees, with maturity, how her actions have affected others. By the end of the book, I was in tears and I already know from the beginning that she dies over and over again. The story builds with each day, and while each day is the same day, how she changes it is very different. The story flows until you cannot put it down. I highly recommend this book, especially to teen girls as well as parents.
About the middle.
Most of the main characters friends were narrated in a lethargic, stoned style. Not my favorite.
No. Narration of supporting characters was difficult.
I loved it! Kept me hooked that whole something completely different!
But I don't think this is a young adult book. I am not a young adult and I really enjoyed this but I am not sure that I would have been appropriate if I was a teen.
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.
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