Saturday, June 26, 2010
Before I Fall
HarperCollins, March 2010
Realistic fiction with fantastical elements
Initially I was concerned about how Oliver would make this plotline interesting and orignial, and not just a Groundhog Day retelling. It had to be more than the same basic events over and over again; there had to be something really good to keep me reading about the same day seven times.
And there definitely is; I couldn't put it down.
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 surrronding her death - and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. From the HarperTeen website
Sam isn't a very nice person, actually she's a bit of a bitch. But she's a far cry from many of the one dimensional mean-girls characters that riddle YA at the moment. In fact none of the characters are flat, not even Sam's younger sister who only makes minor appearances. You are drawn into her life as she attempts to figure out why she's reliving her last and discovering what sort of person she really is. oliver creates a character whose changes and growth we can actually believe. We want her to change, to help the outcast, to kiss the boy, to find herself before it's too late.
Although the entire book is just one day over and over again, Oliver has repeated just enough to get you into Sam's mindset as she struggles to figure out what's happening to her and how to stop it. She doesn't repeat the unnecessary or let the novel get bogged down in the middle around the fourth time she relives her day. Being able to do this makes Lauren Oliver a brilliant writer - at least in my humble opinion.
Before I Fall makes you think about all the things you've said and done and how they may have affected someone else, without being preachy or overstated.
Add to the top of you to-read pile