21 November 2011
Book Banter -- Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Length: 470 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Planned Television Arts
Plot Basics: High school senior Samantha Kingston seems to have it all -- popularity, good looks, a great group of friends, a hot boyfriend. But her life changes when she dies on Friday, February 12th coming home from a party. She awakes the next morning, living the day over a number of times and coming to terms with her actions and how the choices she makes affects the people around her.
Banter Points: This book completely surprised me and I'm happy to give it a big thumbs up now because of it. At the beginning of the story, Sam and her friends are horrible people and as the reader, I really hated them. They epitomize mean girls and the agonizing culture of putting others down and just general reckless behavior. But, as the story progressed, I really found myself rooting for Sam and her efforts to put things to rights, restore relationships with those she hurt, and try to make sense of what kept happening to her. By the end, I nearly made myself late to an early morning meeting to spend a few more minutes reading to finish the book before work.
Bummer Points: I firmly believe in ending stories at the right point and Oliver did that, but I would have happily read another 300 pages to get to know Sam better.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you've got teens interested in things like Gossip Girl (sheesh, is that even popular anymore?), pluck those out of their hands and put "Before I Fall" in its place for better writing and better outcomes and better (eventually) role models of how we want to girls to act.