For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it.
But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.“
If I had to briefly describe this book in a single sentence, I’d describe it as Mean Girls meets something that’ll make you thoroughly think about how you’ve been treating the people around you. But I’m talking about the original Mean Girls movie here, and not about that horrible second part they produced a couple of years later, because “Before I Fall” was truly a great and inspiring book.
“Before I Fall” tells the story of Samantha Kingston who is in a fatal car accident with her friends. But instead of dying she suddenly wakes up in the morning, on the day of the accident, and can relive that day once again. This happens several times over the course of the book and she has the chance to change some of the things that happened to try to make them right again. Sam herself is your typical “mean girl” you know from high school chick flicks but probably also from real life (though I can’t judge that since I grew up in Germany). Over here we have a different school system and the whole popular crowd that “rules” the school thing is nothing I’ve ever heard about over here. However, even I remember a time in-between seventh and ninth grade when I had my group of friends in my class and there were people we were sometimes making fun of and that we excluded from our group. Back then we thought it was funny whilst today most of us, including me, are not proud of how we treated them. But while you’re acting that way you don’t actually realize that you might be hurting someone with your actions and just think that they’ll forget about it as fast as you do which they don’t. Instead your actions might leave deeper wounds than you can imagine; wounds that might never fully heal again. “Before I Fall” is trying to show what those actions can do to victims of bullying and how oblivious the offenders are to the impact of their actions.
From my younger sister, I know that even at my old school, bullying has become a bit of a normal thing again. Kids these days are losing respect for not only adults but also for people their age. Back when I was in 8th grade, we read “13 Reasons Why” which is also dealing with bullying and the consequences it can have. I remember that it actually made some people think about things they’ve done in their life and led them to trying to make things right again before it might’ve been too late. I think “Before I Fall” is a book that could provoke the same feelings in some people and would also be a good book to read and talk about in schools. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be gripping enough to also be interesting to younger readers that might have to read it for school. Reliving the same day over and over again to me sounded like a plot line that could fast become repetitive and boring; but Lauren Oliver managed to change things up in such ways that every single day was interesting in its own way. She changed things that I just didn’t expect her to change at all which even made me laugh out loud a couple of times even though the chapters each ended with the same horrible event happening; it was just always a little different from how it was in the previous chapter. The book also shows the reader how complex the web of problems is which Sam and her friends have spun with their actions without even realizing it. Every time I thought I’d finally understood someone’s story, and knew what Sam had to change to make things right, I was immediately proven wrong again. Most of the times things aren’t just made good again with a simple apology. “Before I Fall” shows you this in a very gripping and moving way. It’s a very realistic book which is especially shown by the ending of it which indeed makes one gulp and be silent for a couple of minutes.
All in all, “Before I Fall” is a great book that shines a light on a very important topic. It’ll make you think about how you’ve treated the people you’ve encountered in your life and reading it may be an eye-opening experience for some people. Lauren Oliver has a great writing style and “Before I Fall” is a book you can easily read in less than a day which also makes this book perfect for younger audiences. 4.5 out of 5 stars for this book!
Have you already read “Before I Fall” and did you like it? 🙂