In Lauren Oliver's novel 'Before I Fall,' Samantha Kingston gets that chance. Published by HarperCollins publishing group in 2010, this book has already become a best-seller, thanks to Oliver's magnificent way of story-telling.
Throughout the book, Oliver keeps you enthralled and bewildered as she takes you through a week (or a day) in the life of Sam Kingston. Before I Fall is and inspiring and perplexing story, which is enhanced through the author's stirring plot, riveting imagery, and phenomenal sense of characterization.
Although the setting in the novel remains the same throughout the entire book, Oliver gives you a sense of novelty by changing the events of Cupid Day, the day that Sam Kingston can't seem to get past. On the night of February 12th, Sam and her friends go to a party at the house of Sam's childhood playmate, Kent McFuller. After the party, and the surreal events that happen there, Sam gets in the car with her friends Lindsay, Ally, and Elody for the drive home.
However, this drive does not go as expected, and more than one life is lost on that dark highway. Sam is now trapped in some sort of continuous time warp that has her trapped on Cupid Day. Now Sam has to find a way to right her wrongs, and try to salvage what she can of what was lost on that tragic night.
Another way that the author keeps the readers involved in this story is through her incredibly detailed and scenic imagery. Although the story and the places that are a part of it are fiction, Oliver finds a way to make them come to life. From the side of the road to The Country's Best Yogurt, these places become real in your mind, like they are just down the street, in your own hometown. Each and every scene is described in such detail that you can actually put yourself into the story along with the rest of the characters.
Without Oliver's uncanny techniques of characterization, this story would not be what it is. Each character is so clearly defined, and you come to know them each so well, they could be one of your best friends. As you progress through the story, the characters begin to take their shapes, and by the end of the book, you feel like you know each and every one of them. From Lindsay's hidden insecurities to Kent's adorable oddities, each of these characters are developed into lovable comrades. Oliver makes the characters relatable and truly easily compared to people you may know in your own life. This aspect of the novel makes it very easy to read, and also very easy to connect to for a reader.
Because of all of these qualities, 'Before I Fall' continues to be a book for almost any age. Though it may be more enjoyed by the female reader, it holds many lessons that everyone should learn. Using her twisting plot schemes, her elaborate imagery, and her copious characterization, Oliver makes 'Before I Fall' a classic story of second chances. By burying themselves into this novel, readers will gain a sense of appreciation and gratitude for his or her life and the moments that create it. For in the words of Samantha Kingston,"...certain moments go on forever. Even after they're over they still go on, even after you're dead and buried, those moments are lasting still...They are the meaning." (Oliver, 470)
This review was written by maddieramsey from Earlham, IA and originally ran on TeenInk.com, a website where teens contribute their own writing and photography. Check out her original post here and leave a comment with your thoughts.