Last Saturday, I wandered into the book aisle in the grocery store, searching for something to keep me preoccupied for the evening as my husband was working overnight—all in an effort to avoid devolving into a Netflix binge. The pickins were slim, (so many Harlequin romance books. Not my thing.) but my eyes fell on Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver. I read the back and right away knew it was something I’d like— with the words ‘death’ and an endorsement from Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why, I was sold!
I gave it three stars on Goodreads because it did take me awhile to get into. There are a lot of high school cliches (popular girl in a relationship with insensitive boy, division between the haves and have-nots, annoying but well-meaning parents), but those start to melt into the background once the conflict begins to unfold. True to YA lit form, your heart feels for the loss the characters experience, but seeing the growth in Sam, the protagonist, is well worth it. I think that many of my students would enjoy reading this book, as it explores the question—“if you know you’re going to die, how do you spend your last day? And what happens when it keeps repeating?”
It’s a quick read and definitely worthwhile to highlight effects of bullying, as this is a major theme throughout. And guess what? It’s being made into a movie this year, so read it before you see it!