Thursday, February 18, 2010

Barnes & Noble's Teen First Look Selection: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall is the latest Barnes & Noble Teen First Look Selection and the online discussion is currently underway. If you haven't tried Barnes & Noble's First Look Book Clubs, I recommend them. Not only does Barnes & Noble send the book everywhere internationally for free, but they arrange for the author, publisher and author's agent to answer questions online which makes for interesting discussions on the book, the author's writing process, and the process of getting the book to market. Once I hear about another First Look Book Club, I'll post the details!

Before I Fall The blurb:
What if you had only one day to live?
What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samatha Kingston has it all - looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it's her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she relives 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 had ever imagined.

This incandescent page-turner from twenty-six year old debut author Lauren Oliver will leave readers breathless.

Before I Fall
was my first Teen First Look selection, I usually participate in the regular First Look selections. Knowing that the book was chosen for teens/young adults made me read the book a little more carefully, particularly since the book touches on high school life and the casual cruelty and bullying that goes on.

Before I Fall
is told from the point of view of Sam, one of the popular girls in the high school, and it captures the events and actions of her last day of life. The book also describes parts of high school that I hadn't thought of in years (and had blocked out?) - the casual cruelty of young girls.

As I read about Sam's last day of life and the way that she dies, I couldn't help but imbue an additional level of expectation and meaning to her actions and thoughts. As Sam realizes that she wakes up and has a chance to correct the mistakes of the day before, she goes beyond trying to avoid hurting people and tries to make things better. Her choices show another side of Sam and ended up growing very attached to her character.

I thoroughly enjoyed Before I Fall. I think that it captures what it's like to be in high school with the uncertainty, compressed situations, and social pressure. But then, like a good book, Before I Fall takes us far beyond regular high school life to some exceptional characters and their adventures. Before I Fall is heartwarming, heartbreaking, and thoroughly satisfying. I plan to share this with my many nieces and some old high school friends.

ISBN-10: 006172680X - $17.99
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 2, 2010), 480 pages.
Review copy provided by Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club.

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