I gave this book 4 stars!
I really enjoyed this book, as I have all of Lauren Oliver's other books that I have read. If you haven't read any of her books, I highly suggest you do and I especially suggest this one! Aside from Before I Fall, she has also written the Delirium trilogy (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem) as well as her latest novel, Panic.
Anyways, here is the basic plot: Samantha (Sam) is a high school senior who has it all. She is popular, her boyfriend is the boy she has had a crush on for years, and she has three amazing friends who are as thick as thieves. Today is February 12th and also Cupid Day, a popular Valentine's Day ritual at Sam's high school that is one of her favorite days. It is also the day that she is supposed to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Rob. Among all of these special events, an old friend of Sam's is having a party that evening that everyone is going to, how fun! Long story short, Sam and her friends go to this party and when they leave (with no DD), they end up getting in a car accident where Sam dies. The next morning Sam wakes up not realizing what happened the day before, and comes to find that it is February 12th AGAIN. From this point on, Sam lives February 12th every single day for a week. Every time she relives the day, she tries to do different things in an effort to reverse her death and to ultimately improve the lives of everyone around her.
Now I have never read a book that had a story like this, so this was a great idea! I am sure there are similar books, but for me this was new! I am now going to highlight the things I did and didn't like, as always:
Things I did like:
I loved this storyline as I mentioned before. It was very unique and it was constantly reeling you in as you neared the end of one day and were heading into the next one. What things would she change? How would she act on day X? Will she find a way out of death? These were all things that I thought of at the end of each day and I think provoking thought in the reader is a great thing to do.
I also really liked Sam as a character. Although I did not party and was not as popular as her when I was in High School, I felt that she really had a good heart and I could relate to her, as well as the other characters, in many different ways. This made me feel for them when things went wrong or felt enlightened when they took part in certain things.
Lastly, the idea of trying to improve the lives of the people around you and trying to live your last day as fully as you can is beautiful. It was great to see Sam come full-circle and see how she evolved as a person from day one to day seven. Oliver did a beautiful job writing this book and I believe that it is an extremely strong first novel for her.
Things I didn't like:
It seemed as though that Oliver wrote the characters as "All popular kids drink and party every weekend" which is definitely not true. That slightly bugged me, but it wasn't a big issue.
I also was so sad that she discovered her true feelings for Kent but it was too late. I am a sucker for good love stories and that one was completely destroyed. I was quite sad about this, but I suppose it is better than her ending with an unhappy relationship. All in all, there weren't many things that I disliked about this book, so yay!
Overall, I loved this book and love Lauren Oliver! I had already read the Delirium trilogy, but look forward to reading her most recent YA book, Panic.
Happy reading! :)