Before I Fall gives a remarkable sense of the transience of human life, and how precious and unappreciated it is. As much as the main character, Sam, can make you want to slap her, she also makes you want to understand her. But it’s a double edged sword; some people will empathize with Sam. Some will find it hard to feel for her. But Lauren Oliver, master of character development, lets you see through her eyes as much as your own.
Sam Kingston and her three best friends rule the school. And I do mean rule (think Mean Girls). The night Sam dies, she and her best friends had been at a party. Drinking. And being cruel to a girl from school, Juliet. They hit something on the road and Sam feels herself dying, and simultaneously waking up again, to the same morning of the day of the accident. At first, she is reckless. She lives with the kind of abandonment that you might have too, if you thought nothing worse could happen to you. But eventually, she decides that she wants to make the world better, and therein is the drive of the plot.
She is determined to save herself. But as she repeats the day of her death six times, she discovers things she never knew before: Juliet is going to commit suicide that night. Anna Cartullo, who is having sex with another girls boyfriend, is a really kind, funny person. That her best friend, Lindsay, is hiding dark secrets and a past with Juliet. That she herself doesn’t really like the person she is. That she’s falling in love, over and over, with a childhood friend, Kent.
And on the seventh day, Sam finds a way to change everything- for better or worse.
If You Liked: If I Stay, Thirteen Reasons Why, Mean Girls (movie), The Running Dream, Uglies, Something Like Fate, Hunger Games