Thursday, March 3, 2011

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

iconiconAfter taking so long to read Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition, it's been kind of nice to read a couple of books that I can finish quickly, right in a row.  I blasted right through Before I Fall — I read until 2am Tuesday night, completely unable to put it down even though I could hardly keep my eyes open, and read instead of working this morning, too.

Before I Fall has a similar theme, in a way, to If I Stay, another young adult novel about death that I read recently.  This one, however, is about a 17-year-old girl who is pretty easy to dislike at first.  She and her friends are extremely popular, and not very nice to the "lesser" students at their school.  But after a party one night, Sam and her friends are in an accident, and Sam dies.

But the story doesn't stop there.  Sam is forced to relive her last day again and again, and each time she realizes a little more about what's really important in life, and recognize the people she ought to appreciate more.  It takes some trial and error until she gets it right, but every time she gets a little closer, until finally she realizes what she has to do.

It's a beautiful story about second chances (or seventh chances, as the case may be), and realizing how much we take for granted.  It's the kind of book that I will probably be thinking about for quite a while, even though I'm done reading it.  I can't help but wonder if it affects teenage readers as deeply as it affected me.  The ideas that the novel presents — appreciation of life, the interconnectedness of things, and a deeper sense of right and wrong — usually come with experience, which means when you're older.  I don't know if any teens read my blog, but if you do, I am curious — how much did this story affect you?  Do you think it made any impact on your behavior?

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