Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

‘They say ‘live every day as if it’s your last’ – but you never actually think it’s going to be. At least I didn’t.

The thing is, you don’t get to know when it happens. You don’t remember to tell your family that you love them or – in my case – remember to say goodbye to them at all.

But what if, like me, you could live your last day over and over again? Could you make it perfect? If your whole life flashed before your eyes, would you have no regrets? Or are there some things you’d want to change…?’

What can I say about this book? It is one of the most beautifully written and moving stories I have read in a long while.

Sam is dead. But she has a unique chance, to relive the last day of her life seven times over. Seven chances to make things right. It sounds simple but this is a plot so intricately woven, where even the most basic of events are significant and have their repercussions, that it never becomes repetitive or dull in any way. As you read, you come to realize just how linked we all are, and how even the smallest of choices can affect those around us in ways we never knew.

I started off strongly disliking Sam, and disliking all of her group of close friends, but this is intentional. Don’t let it put you off from continuing. As the story progressed I began to understand them all a lot better: all flawed, all incredibly young, but despite their ugly sides, all loyal friends to one another. I grew so attached to Sam that I experienced everything right alongside her. Her emotions were my own. I raged with her, cried with her, laughed with her, fell in love with her and said goodbye with her.

This is a breathtaking story about love, friendship, growing up and the choices we make along the way. It asks the question – what would you change if you had one last day to live? How would you want to be remembered? And the realisation that perhaps reliving this one single day isn’t about your life at all, but just maybe it’s about changing somebody else’s.

A very special novel, one I will read again and again. It is heartbreaking and tragic and wonderful. Read it. You won’t be disappointed.

Recommended Reading Age: 14+

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