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18 January 2011

The One Where I Talk About "Before I Fall"

Over the weekend, I read Before I Fall, the debut novel of Delirium author, Lauren Oliver.  I wanted to get a feel for her writing style before I read Delirium

Before I Fall is the story of Sam, a high school student in the "popular crowd", or as I would call them, "the mean girls".  Sam explains it as they are popular because they get away with stuff and they get away with stuff because they are popular.  They are the girls that say nasty things about people, without even realizing that it hurts.  Because of that, I really wanted to hate Sam and her friends, but I couldn't.

The story starts out on February 12, or Cupid Day, at Sam's school---where freshmen deliver Valograms (flowers) to the rest of the school.  The more flowers you get, the more popular you are.  Sam gets a bunch, from her friends, from her boyfriend, and even from an old friend who is now uncool.  Sam is worried, because tonight is the night that she plans on losing her virginity to her boyfriend, after a party.  But, Juliet Sykes, whom the girls call "Psycho", crashes the party and calls them all "bitches".  Sam is upset and doesn't go home with her boyfriend, instead gets a ride with her friends.  The girls get into a car crash, and Sam dies.

But she doesn't.  She wakes up, and its Friday, February 12 again.  Its like she's in Groundhog Day.  She gets a second (even third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh) chance to relive that one day and make things right.  In the process, she discovers the gift of spending time with family, how to treat people, what true friendship is, and even what a good boyfriend is.

It is not one that I would suggest to my elementary school students, but, if I taught high school, I wouldn't have any problem with students reading this in my classroom.

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