From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lauren Oliver: Before I Fall

I was thrilled to be a part of Barnes & Noble's First Look for Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (March 2 / HarperCollins). I finished reading it two weeks ago and cannot stop thinking about the story and characters.

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.

Fortunately, 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.

I have never hated fictional characters as much as I hated Samantha and her best friends Lindsay, Elody, and Ally. They are self-absorbed, superficial, and ruthless. Every waking thought is about fashion, parties, and hot boys. They are popular, and being popular means staying away from people who could cause their social stock to plummet. For Samantha, this means her childhood friend Kent and the school's "freak" Juliet are off limits and often the targets of cruel jokes and gossip. As she's forced to live February 12th over and over again, Samantha sees people for who they really are and slowly starts to realize that there's more to life than social status.

Though Before I Fall has a definite "Groundhog Day" vibe, this isn't a comedy. The story is very raw, fraught with emotion, and sometimes very sweet. Watching Samantha relive her last day and evolve--making changes in her routine, connecting with people outside of her clique, discovering who she really is, thinking about what she could have been, and righting wrongs--was a frustrating and beautiful journey. By the end, I thought she was very brave and kind. It amazed me how I could go from absolutely hating someone to loving them.

Lauren Oliver skillfully created an insightful story and compelling characters that I'll never forget.

For more information, visit Lauren Oliver at:

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