Sunday, May 1, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Here's the gist of Before I Fall: Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls. It seems like a typical day for narrator Samantha Kingston. Typical, that is, until the car crashes and she dies. It doesn't end there, because she wakes up again to the exact same day.

For a little background intel, Sam hangs out with a group of girls, Elody, Ally, and queen bee Lindsay. They're the popular ones, the ones everyone admires and the ones everyone fears. Even Sam takes careful steps to ensure she doesn't get kicked out of her group because she ate the wrong sandwich or talked to the wrong person. It's difficult to sympathize with Sam, but she makes a good point: does all the Mean Girls stuff mean she deserves to die?

I enjoyed the book, how Sam learned the effects caused by her actions as she relived the day. It's fascinating how many things are happening around us and we just don't notice them. I wonder how I would react in the same situation. What would I do if there would be no consequences the next day? Would I have the courage to make the same decisions that Sam did?

I started out disliking Sam because she did what was expected, and I never exactly liked her, but I understood why she acted the way she did. I liked that she changed some of her behavior, though it's sad that she had to go through such a big event to do so. Finally, books that talk about mortality usually leave me feeling nervous, thinking about Donnie Darko and crashing buses and the million things converging to ensure that I'm dead. Thankfully, Before I Fall didn't do that for me. It wasn't so much about Sam's death as about her last day, making sure she did all the right things before that final moment.

I guess that's what saying good-bye is always like- like jumping off an edge. The worst part is making the choice to do it. Once you're in the air, there's nothing you can do but let go.

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