By: Jenna Hathaway
Recently I picked up this book to break from my supernatural genre, and it turned out it was a great read; something that I feel I should recommend to others. While the book still has its own magical element, it’s not so dominant and it doesn’t have your usual supernatural creatures that run rampant in these days’ young adult books. Before I Fall tells the story of Samantha Kingston, a teenager who might not be the nicest person and might even have participated in bullying others in her day to day life. But then one day she died. And then she was forced to relive her last day—the very same one—over and over again until she got it right.
None of us can see it coming; the time when our life here ends. And neither did Sam. Her life that last day was just like any other day. She went to school, met her friends and boyfriend, brushed off and made fun of the uncool kids, and went to a party. Only she never got home from that party. And after she died, she woke up right back in her bedroom the very same morning of February 12, the day she supposedly died. At first of course Sam thought it was all just a dream, and she relived the day with its eerie déjà vu without trying to do much to change things. And then it all happened all over again the next day, and she started to realize that something was wrong. She started to realize that she had indeed died, and she had no idea whether this was purgatory or if death meant you got stuck in time forever.
But she eventually started seeing things that she missed before. She saw kindness in an old friend she had not spoken to for years. She saw that every person she had ever made fun of was actually not that bad. That they were human too. And most of all she saw how her acts have harmed these people and caused certain things that couldn’t be reversed. When she eventually started learning about what it meant to not take life for granted, to not take everyone around her for granted, she started changing.
As the days started over again and again, every day she became a better person. Oh, she had her low points too. In one particular day she decided to just give up and do anything she wanted to do because tomorrow all of it would be erased and she would get a blank slate again. But eventually, slowly and painstakingly, she learned. She learned that her best friend was not as great as she thought; that beneath all that layers she was scared and human too. And Sam also finally learned the reason why she had been forced to relive the day over and over again, and it might not be the reason that she first thought of.
Before I Fall is a beautiful, haunting story that will make you think about your life and maybe regret the choices you have made yourself. It makes you think that life is fragile and it can be taken at any moment. It forces you to not take things for granted and see people as more than they just seem at the surface. It has a great lesson to teach, and the ending might be difficult to bear for some, but I personally think it ended the only way it could. I would recommend this book to everyone. It’s not as ‘heavy’ as it might look; in fact all of it is presented in a very familiar way to all of us who has been in high school before or is still going through it. I hope you will enjoy the read as much as I did.
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