Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 25th, 2010
Pages: 470
Song I Played While Reading: Young Blood by Bea Miller
Rating: 5 stars

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.

I have been wanting to reread this for so long. It's one of my absolute favorites and it killed me. Again. 
Never has a book been so cruel and sad, yet also so achingly beautiful and honest that it takes your breath away. Its honestly so hard for me to write this review because it's left me speechless. The only way for you to understand how stunning this novel is is to read it. Then you'll want to break things and scream about how unfair life is, like I feel like doing right now. 
My high school is nothing like the usual high schools you read in books and see on tv. We don't have a bullying problem. We don't have cliques. Its... bland, I guess you call it. Each class is divided only by the people you hangout with, and theres usually no issues between them. And we're all so friendly with each other that most of the grade shows up to parties. So I've never been able to relate to the all-american high school or had to deal with "the popular girls". Nor have I been as mean as Sam was. Don't get me wrong I did stupid shit and maybe hurt some people in the process, but the amount of times I did it with the full intent of malice? I can count them all on one hand. And most of it happened in 6th grade. So the kind of cruelty Sam, Lindsey, Elody, and Ally throw at Juliet still to this day makes me cringe. 
But this book is also filled with that kind of friendship that I've always wished I had; the glamorous kind, where you dress up for school and gossip and party and smoke cigarettes and basically get away with anything you want. It reminds me of Gossip Girl. So I absolutely loved that aspect to this book, even if the friendships did get a little ugly. 
I'm a sucker for good character development, and oh Lord did this book deliver in that area. Actually, it almost delivered it too well (Sam realizing and accepting the direction her life was heading?? I DONT THINK SO, DAMNIT). It reminds me of the five stages of grief:
Personally, angry Samantha is my favorite. She doesn't give a fuck and does whatever the hell she wants, and its invigorating since it's so unlike her. Can you imagine doing whatever you wanted for one day, knowing time will rewind itself? The possibilities are endless. I would like it if I had someone there with me, and knew it would end at some point. 
I loved all the characters, even the annoying ones. They all helped her along her journey. And it was absolutely insane realizing that a single action could create a reaction that could make or break someones day. Or by not doing that action, it could create a whole different set of reactions. All the different counteractions we see when Sam does something different is cool but it also kinda gave me a headache. I always end up thinking way too hard on the topic and it just gives me a giant brain fart. 
Please, please, please do yourself a favor and read this book. It'll make you cry at how beautiful life can be. It'll make you appreciate your family and friends and all the little things in your life. It might make you realize some things and hopefully guide you along to changing them (if you find that you need to). It'll also be a kick ass ride and you'll fall in love with Lauren Oliver's writing. 

"His hands inch over my stomach and his fingers are pulling at the underwire of my bra. He's not very good with bras. He's not that good with breasts in general, actually. I mean, it's not like I really know what it's supposed to feel like, but every time he touches my boobs he kind of just massages them hard in a circle. My gyno does the same thing when I go in for an exam, so one of them has to be doing it wrong. And to be honest, I don't think it's my gyno."

"Walking into parties always gives me a crampy feeling at the bottom of my stomach. It's a good feeling, though: the feeling of knowing anything can happen. Most of the time nothing does, of course. Most of the time one night blends into the next, and weeks blend into weeks, and months into other months. And soon or later we all die.
But at the beginning of the night anythings possible." 

"Heres one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning. It's like that old riddle about a tree falling in a forest, and whether it makes a sound if theres no one around to hear it. 
You keep drawing a line farther and farther away, crossing it every time. That's how people end up stepping off the edge of the earth. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to bust out of orbit, to spin out to a place where no one can touch you. To lose yourself- to get lost."

"So many things become beautiful when you really look."

""I'm gonna flash them," I say, and am suddenly thrilled with the perfect, pure simplicity of it: I'm going to do it. So much easier and cleaner than Maybe I should or Won't we get in trouble? or Oh my god, I could never. Yes. Three letters."

(Image and synopsis from Goodreads)

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