Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.
(Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. New York: Harper Collins, 2010.)
Read an excerpt
Popular Samantha Kingston has it all–a hot boyfriend, fabulous best friends, and the best of everything at her high school. Until February 12th. Her last day to live. “Then 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.” (fm Goodreads)
A Groundhog Day for teens, this book took me from disliking Sam to absolutely loving her. I didn’t know too much about the premise of this story when I began, so I was skeptical when I read the first chapter. Sam was not the kind of girl I wanted to follow through an entire book, even knowing from the first line that she was going to die in the end. She reminded me of all the girls I disliked in high school. But like in Groundhog Day, as she relives the one day over and over, she grows in huge ways and becomes a likable character.
I’m a huge fan of books like this–the books that help the reader to open his or her eyes to how one persons actions can affect other people’s lives. A fact of being a teenager: sometimes they can’t see past themselves. And I love that there are so many books that are promoting looking past oneself.
Really, the best part of this book is Sam’s progression. She turns into a strong young woman who makes her own decisions independent of her friends and peers. She also comes to realize the relationships that really matter. This is a great book for teens–both entertaining and insightful.
*news about BEFORE I FALL*
A Page from Lauren Oliver’s Book: She does a fabulous job with character progression, taking Sam from an unlikable character to one that you really love at the end. Even if you’re not writing an unlikable character, this is a great one to read just to study up on successful character arcs.