READING WITHOUT AN ACCENT: BEFORE I FALL BY LAUREN OLIVER

I grabbed this book on a whim from the library and I don't know why, but once I started it I couldn't put it down.




This is the story of a 17 year old girl named Sam, who's part of a 4 girl clique of mean girls, and one night, the night of the first day we get to know her, there's a car accident and she dies. But she doesn't go to heaven or hell, although, after that first day many would conclude she does belong in one place more than the other, but she stays on Earth, reliving that same last day of life 7 days. She doesn't know why at first, it's torture, why does she have to relive that same day over and over? But most important, can she change it? Can she alter the outcome?

I thought this was a very good novel on many levels, there's good description of characters and emotions, there's character development on the main characters, because the rest are just living that same day without knowing so. The story is disturbing at points, but it gives a very real portrait of how high school can be in the US. As I was reading it I kept thinking of how lucky I was that I went to high school in Argentina, because at least in my time, there were no mean girls, losers, bullying or anything like that, we were either friends or we weren't and we mostly left each other alone. Of course there were fights and bickering, but not to the point of the abuse we say happening in the US. 

This book puts all that on the table, it even deals with suicide as an attempt to escape. I think it's a story worth reading, the writing was very good, it almost seems like at times we're the ones flying and falling. 


SPOILERS:

I have no doubt that Sam would suffer a transformation after having to relive the last day of your life 7 times, and I saw that the author was very good at showing that gradual transformation in a way that didn't seem done overnight and forced. However,  I was left with a few questions at the end: if Sam realizes she has to save Juliet from dying and she takes her place, does she think that after her friends watch her jumo in front of the car and pushing Juliet away to die instead of her they're going to leave Juliet alone? Does she think Juliet won't think about suicide anymore? I feel as though Sam's saving Juliet might have been in vain because someone who's already thinking about dying, whether it be due to the bullying or what not they will always have that as an option unless they get serious help. Sam's friend were already abusing Juliet, and they don't know anything that Sam went through, they don't know Sam died, or could die, or any of them could die because Juliet was going to jump in front of their car, so my question is: aren't they going to blame Juliet because Sam died trying to save her?

Another question I have is: Sam dies on that first day we meet her and after reliving that day a few times over she has the epiphany that if she saves Juliet, she can finally leave limbo and die in peace, but how does she know it will end there? How can we be so sure she won't wake up the next day reliving that same day? I know that in the story she needs to get to that point of altruism and selflessness to be able to give her life for others, but it's extremely sad to think that the biggest mean girl of all, Lindsay, is still alive and there was no change whatsoever on her, and she will go on with her life bullying other people. 

What do you think about these points? Did you read the book, do you agree?

I really liked Kent's character a lot, but I was so sad when they didn't a second chance at the end, theitrstory left me wanting more but I guess it would have been too perfect for Sam to be able to keep on living after all. 

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