Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
YA; Contemporary; Supernatural
Summary: Sam is reliving the last day of her life, seven times. She has the opportunity to rethink the way she's treated her friends, her former friends, her boyfriend, her family, and her classmates. Every small change affects her last hours and reveals how much power she has.
Thoughts: As I read this, I was reminded of Help! I'm Trapped in the First Day of School by Todd Strasser, which I loved in elementary school. They have very similar premises in that the main character repeats one day, examines his/her friends and popularity choices, and sibling relationships. The main differences being that Jake's death didn't precipitate the repetition and it's meant for MG so is shorter and absolutely clean.
At first I didn't like Sam; she's so image obsessed and she and her friends are mean-to each other and to everyone around them. But as Sam repeats the day, she starts thinking more about other people and seeing how she has influenced people negatively. She starts being nicer to her parents and her younger sister. She tries to change the popularity status quo at her school. The story itself was fairly predictable although the Spoiler explains a part I didn't expect. At first she goes wild, doing absolutely out-of-character things and pissing everyone off. Then she blows off school and hangs out with her sister Izzy all day (Loved this) and then she tries to figure out why she has this opportunity to relive the day.
Spoiler: I did not like the end-I didn't want her to die! I thought the changes she made would save her. Poor Izzy (her sister) and Kent (her former best friend and new crush after she dumps her loser boyfriend)!
Warning: Language, Drug Use, and Sexual Situations but nothing too graphic.
Overall: Outstanding debut! I already have Oliver's Delirium queued on netgalley so expect that sometime next year.
Cover: I actually am not a big fan of the cover and found it creepy; that's part of the reason that it took me so long to get around to reading it-because I didn't want to buy a book with some creepy girl staring at me.