Published by: HarperCollins on March 2, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Also by this author: Delirium
With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.
For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam 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 ever imagined.
Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.
Honestly, if I weren’t a fan of Lauren Oliver already, I would be after reading this. I loved this book. Even though the whole “living the last day over and over again” theme has been used in the entertainment industry plenty of times, Oliver does an outstanding job at standing out and giving readers a truly memorable story.
This story is told through the eyes of Samantha Kingston, a popular teenage “mean” girl who gets into a tragic car accident after leaving a house party and then has to relive that same day seven times in an effort to learn something from her life and possibly, change things for the better. You would think since you’re reading about the same day over and over, things would get repetitive, which was what I was afraid of, but I was thoroughly impressed with how Oliver managed to do it all. You sometimes forget all the things that can happen in a single day and how the slightest change of mind or action can cause a different reaction or effect.
I love how Oliver writes each day exactly how I, or any person I think, would handle the situation. At first, you get all freaked out because you don’t know what’s happening. Then, you enjoy the day, doing things you never thought you’d do like kissing a secret crush or spending a bunch of money on stuff you’ve wanted for so long. After all the fun and reality sets in, you start to wonder why this is happening and what you need to do to move on. That’s how it is for Sam.
The story is pretty tragic and a typical tale of bullies, lies, depression, and fitting in while in high school. Even though you know Sam is already dead, you kind of wish she could fix things so that she might live, but that’s not the point of the story. You see the veil start to lift on her so-called “perfect life”, and Sam learns who her friends really are, what true love really is, and how to right the wrongs she helped to create. The ending was so perfect, even if you wished it were something different, you knew it just had to end that way.
A truly gripping tale with such a strong, important theme, you’d be a fool not to read it. Oliver’s writing is superb, thought provoking, and genuine. I became engrossed in this novel and its story will stay with me forever.