Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

After dying in a car crash, popular high school senior Samantha has to re-live Cupid day, facing up to her own weaknesses and those of her best friends, and finding a hope that fuels her will to find out how she can avert her own inevitable fate.

Before I Fall was recommended to me by YA book reviewer extraordinaire Renee Fountain, whose site Book Fetish is chock-a-block with a wonderfully diverse assortment of reviews. I had a lovely breakfast with Renee and enjoyed getting to talk books with a fellow YA-aficionado. She told me I had to read this book, and she was absolutely right.

The story follows a popular high school girl who lives an unexamined life of keg parties, teasing the less fortunate, and basking the reflected glow of her popular best friends. Samantha has never stopped to wonder if she’s cut out for anything more until the night when she is killed in a car accident. The next morning she wakes up on the day she died, and it seems like she’s being given a chance to make things right. Only Sam can’t figure out what she’s supposed to do, and makes some hideous mistakes before finally figuring out what it is she’s supposed to live for. I was tremendously moved by Sam’s journey and loved the way Lauren Oliver made me care about the kinds of girls I tend to hate, the popular, beautiful, lucky ones who don’t care who they hurt as long as they remain on top. The story is fearlessly told with ruthless honesty and no fear of the darker side of life. I loved it!

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