5 out of 5 stars.
Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall is amazing, amazing, amazing. One of the most powerful book I’ve read this year, and easily the most satisfying ending of the year. It’s Donnie Darko meets Groundhog Day. I know — you’re thinking WTF? How does that work?
Well trust me. It works.
The story opens with Sam, a snotty, popular high school senior heading to school for Cupid Day. She’s riding high with big expectations for her night, except that it all goes horribly wrong when she dies. But rather than wake up in heaven (or never wake up at all), she wakes up in her bed and it’s Cupid Day all over again. Every day, she dies — somehow or other — and every day, she wakes back up in her bed.
It’s not until she finally figures out what life is really about, where she’s been screwing it up all along, and how to transform into the person she needs to be that the cycle can finally end.
And what an ending it is. Phew. It stayed in my mind for days.
This book was my high school experience 100%, from the clothes to the behavior to the stupid, stupid flowers handed out as a sign of popularity. I imagined the entire novel playing out in my own high school — talk about identifying with the story! The only thing different from my life was that I wasn’t one of the cool kids — yeah, I was the lowly loser in the background wondering how the popular kids could be such jerks.
Though Sam, the main character, is hard to like at first (actually, you pretty much hate her at the start), give her and the story patience — it is a tale of redemption after all. And the secondary characters — especially Kent (swoon!) — are an amazing cast to read about.