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—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-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 had ever imagined.
After being intrigued by the premise, lured in by the cover and hearing many, many bloggers sing its praises, particularly Sharon of Sharon Loves Books and Cats and Zombies, I was very interested in reading Before I Fall and followers, allow me to assure you that I was not disappointed. This has quickly jumped to being among my favorite reads of 2010.
I had seen some reviews of this book talk about how people didn’t like the main character, Sam, yet were drawn to the story anyways. I didn’t hate Sam at first. I definitely grew annoyed and frustrated with her, particularly her apathy. I was really annoyed that the only thing she seemed to care about was maintaing her position at the top of the social ladder. Yet as the novel went on, I noticed that Sam put a lot more thought into the little things: she thought about what exactly made her happy and how what she did affected others. I was really intrigued by her friends, particularly Lindsay, and I think Oliver did an amazing job of using back story to develop her characters.
The writing, to put it quite frankly, blew me away. Oliver is truly gifted with setting the emotional tone, and I particularly felt this whenever Sam was with Kent. In some of those passages I just forgot about everything else around me and became completely lost in the story.
This novel deals with so many issues that relevant to teenagers and adults including bullying, acceptance coping mechanisms and what things seem to be versus what they actually are. Oliver kept me thinking all throughout her book and long afterwords about how I would change any given day in my life. It made me think about some times I feel pressured to do things not necessarily because what I’m passionate about them but because I know it’s what society expects of me.
As sad as this book was, I felt a mixture of sadness and joy when I was finished. This book made me really want to get out and savor every moment. I read this book about a week ago, but Oliver’s words and the poignancy of her writing have remained with me, and I think they’ll continue to do so. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly suggest you obtain a copy and remedy this situation. Oliver has provided a truly fantastic debut novel, and I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.