Before I Fall

What would you do if you knew today was your last day on Earth?  Would you tell people what you really thought of them?  Would you spend the day with friends and family?  Would you avoid everyone and be depressed all day?  Before I read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, I thought I knew the answer to this question.  I thought I’d tear into my “enemies” and let them know what horrible people I thought they were.  I thought I’d eat all of my favorite foods without worrying about my blood sugar or weight.  I thought I’d have a Star Wars movie marathon.  I thought I’d spend a little time with my family.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Before I Fall really made me think about how I’d want to spend my last day, what’s really important to me, and what I could do now to change people’s impressions of me before it’s too late.

Samantha Kingston is one of the most popular girls at Thomas Jefferson High.  She’s got awesome friends and a hot boyfriend.  She’s invited to all the parties.  She gets the best table in the cafeteria.  So what if she and her friends can be a little mean to the people around them.  It’s high school, right?  Survival of the fittest and all that Darwinian drivel.

This day should be like any other for Sam.  She goes to school, cuts a class, gets some roses for Cupid Day, makes plans with her friends and boyfriend, and goes about her business.  But today is Sam’s last.  Her last everything.  In the blink of an eye, everything stops…then, it starts again.

Sam has an opportunity to change things.  Somehow she’s living her last day over and over again.  She can make different decisions.  She can be nicer (or meaner) to the people around her.  She can right some wrongs.  But will she?  And what impact will these changes have on how things turn out for Sam and the people around her?

Sam relives her last day seven times.  Does she learn anything?  Does she become who she really should be?  Does she realize what’s really important?  I’ll let you find out for yourself when you read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Before I Fall is an extremely powerful book, and it really makes the reader think.  Like I stated before, it forced me to think about what I would do if I knew this were my last day on Earth.  Honestly, I don’t have all that figured out (and I hope I never actually have to), but I like to think I would spend as much time with my family as possible, and everything else would fall into place.  Given recent events, especially the increased number of suicides among gay young adults, I think this book also helps readers see that actions, whether positive or negative, have lasting and often unintended results.  You never know what’s going on in someone’s head or how your words and actions could impact them.

If you liked Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, I think you’ll be really pleased with Before I Fall.  To learn more about this amazing book and its author, Lauren Oliver, visit http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/.

2 comments on “Before I Fall

  1. Tamara Cox says:

    This sounds really great. I’m definitely going to look into getting this for our school.

    • klknight says:

      While this is an excellent book, I don’t know that I would recommend it to middle school students. It has a lot of mature themes and deals very candidly with sex, alcohol, drugs, and death. I would even say that many high school librarians should use caution when recommending this book. Some students (and parents) may be uncomfortable with a lot of what takes place in the book. That being said, I loved the book, and I think many adults, young or otherwise, may also enjoy it.

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