I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 25th, 2010
Genres: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: complimentary review copy
It always takes me awhile to digest a book. I have to let it whirl around in my head and my heart for some time before I can come to a conclusion as to what my true thoughts are, but now that I’m blogging in the book world I’m thinking I should speed up the process a bit. Maybe do some thinking out loud per se.
I have to be honest, with Before I Fall, I had to stop crying before I could sit down to write to this. You’ll figure out about me soon enough, I’m sure, I feel a great empathy with the characters of the books I read. I jump into the pages with them, walk the high school halls or the Quantico fields….whatever genre I’m reading, I’m fully committed and tonight during those last few chapters I was there with Sam as she relived the last day of her life for the 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th time.
What was even more eerie is I was telling my high school daughter the book today, encouraging her to read it once I was finished. I have two daughters, one is a senior, one is a sophomore. OH, if I could just tell you the whole story! but that would take away from your experience in reading the book…and what an experience it is.
We learn about life in the “IT” crowd or the “IN” group, Lindsay, THE IT girl, Sam, her best friend, Elody, and Ally. These 4 girls are the most 4 popular girls in school and are seniors this year. One word from any of these 4 girls and another student would instantly be shunned.
There’s one line in the book that just about tears at my soul every time I go back and read it. The four girls have been drinking vodka since the afternoon and throughout the evening at a party. They leave the party with Lindsay driving, Sam shotgun as always with the other two in the back. You know what happens next.
But before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that?
Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does?
Is it really so much worse than what you do?
Think about it.
Whew. That was tough. Because I did, think about it. And I haven’t stopped thinking about it. But then the book goes on to where Sam relives the day, 7 times. She gets 7 chances to get it right. How many of us get 7 do-overs? And if we had the chance to do-it-over-again, would we do it right? When someone says to us “It’s too late” would we tell them “It’s never too late” and care enough to make sure the actions speak louder than the words.
Please, if you don’t read another book this year, read this one. It’s not the easiest of reads in that Sam has to wake up every day on February 12th for 7 days and some of the high school angst is a little hard to handle if you’re a parent of teenagers; however, the message is important and not just for young adults. The last two pages, I think, are my favorites.