Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times 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.
If I had to describe this book it would be 'inspiring yet heartbreaking'. It's an emotional roller coaster filled with characters that you'll hate and characters you'll love and characters you won't know how to feel about them. One of those characters is the protagonist herself: Samantha Kingston. She's popular, very popular. People love her and they hate her. She has the best boyfriend, the best friends, and the life that every high school girl wants--or so it would seem. Until one fateful night, she's in a fatal car accident and finds herself waking up on the last day of her life seven days in a row.
At first Samantha is confused, thinking that the wreck was just a bad dream and that it's Saturday. That is until she gets a text from her best friend Lindsay that says the exact same thing it said the day before. And the calender on her phone says the same: it's the day before. Each day Samantha relives the last day of her life, she discovers more and more about the people around her and most importantly about herself. She goes from being confused to frustrated to trying to save her own life to being angry and frustrated to trying to save the lives of others. All the while hurtling towards an inevitable fate.
To be honest, I couldn't stand Samantha. She was rude, selfish, and to put it bluntly: a bitch. I hated her for the most part throughout the book, only finding her appealing in the random moments that her goodness shined through (mainly at the end). It broke my heart every time she had a good day, fixing things that were broken and helping those who needed it, just for her to wake up and have to repeat the whole day over again. I could see where the anger and frustration would come in. I mean, not know how long you were going to have to relive the same day--the last day--of your life, trying to fix your own life as well as others, discovering things about people you hated and the people you loved the most, things that you didn't like about them and things that you never would have imagined about them... it would make you crazy, even if you are dead. Some days, she would be completely reckless and uncaring about what happened to her and the people around her because she was just going to relive it again anyways and other days she was making nice with everyone she could, especially the people who she and her friends tormented on a daily basis. My favorite moments were those she shared with Kent, the boy who has been in love with her for years but who she never gave the time of day to until she realized that he was the one for her. And that it was too late. It was just all so heartbreaking.
All I know is that for everything I hated about Samantha, I loved this book even so. It sucks you in and keeps you reading and you know what's coming at the end but you still don't want it to and you hope that some miracle happens and she comes out of it alive so that she can do everything right and be with Kent and be friends with the people that she thought she hated but didn't even know and if she had known she would have been friends with.. It's just all so emotional and filled with hope and despair and something that you can't quite put a name to but you know you feel it and when the book is over you're just sitting there staring into space thinking "is that it? Is that really the end?" and you don't know what to feel anymore. The only thing you know is that your heart and mind are a complete mess but the world is still going on around you but you feel like it has stopped... *takes deep breath*
I guess it's safe to say that I really loved this book. And that it stays with you even after you've turned the last page because it makes you realize that some things you just can't control no matter how much you want to and that every little detail is intertwined in some way and if one thing is off everything can spiral into a completely different direction. Things just happen and they continue to happen even when you're gone.
I suppose that's the secret, if you're ever wishing for things to go back to the way they were. You just have to look up.
It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It's never occurred to me before; I've never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.
Most of the time--99 percent of the time--you just don't know how and why the threads are looped together, and that's okay. Do a good thing and something bad happens. Do a bad thing and something good happens. Do nothing and everything explodes.
And very, very rarely--by some miracle of chance and coincidence, butterflies beating their wings just so and all the threads hanging together for a minute--you get the chance to do the right things.
Here's the last thing that occurs to me as Sarah recedes in the rearview mirror, slamming out of the car, jogging across the parking lot: if you're one tardy away from missing out on a big competition, you should probably make your coffee at home.