Before I Fall
By Lauren Oliver
(HarperCollins, Hardcover, 9780061726804, March 2010, 480pp.)
The Short of It:
Absolutely riveting, from beginning to end.
The Rest of It:
After dying in a car accident, Samantha Kingston is forced to relive her last day a total of seven times. As repetitive as this sounds, each day is slightly different, and with her being a popular high school student, there are lots of choices to make. Some good, some bad and some with horrible consequences.
Realizing that I would be taken through her last day over and over again, I worried that it would be a bit like that movie Groundhog Day, where the main character was forced to repeat his day again and again (I really didn’t like that movie), but Oliver manages to keep it interesting. I could not put it down and sped through it in just a couple of sittings.
Samantha is a popular girl and runs with a fast crowd. There is a lot of drinking, and sex is THE big topic of discussion, but if you are able to put that aside, you’ll see Before I Fall for what it is, an absolutely riveting read about living life to its fullest.
Would I let my daughter read it? The Girl is only seven, but if she were thirteen or fourteen, I’d have no problem with her reading it. It brings up issues that teens face every day: underage drinking, sex, eating disorders, popularity and being different. I don’t think it hurts for young girls to think about these things. In fact, I think it helps them make better decisions in the long run. I think male readers would find value in reading it as well.
That said, once you start this book you will not be able to put it down and although it’s certainly geared towards young adults, older readers will find it just as readable. Highly recommend.
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