Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Before I Fall

If you were to ask me which book every teen should read, I would tell you Before I Fall. The book came to me through the First Look program. I picked it up and couldn't stop reading. It was one of those books that you have to read just five more minutes when you know you should get to sleep because you are getting up really early for work. Like a hundred pages later, you look at the clock and totally cringe because it's 2:00 am and you have to be up at 4:00am. Not good for sleep, but wow, and excellent book.

Mean girls. Every high school has them, right? In this book, one of our mean girls goes to a party and ends up dying in an accident. When she wakes up, she starts to relive the last day of her life. She goes to bed again and wakes up to the same scenario. Again.  As I was reading, I kept waiting for her to just do some kind of Pollyanna moment where she feels bad for all the things she did, but that doesn't happen. She keeps making mean girl mistakes and stumbles through her days, slowly realizing that the smallest thing she does can have a ripple effect on the people around her.

The book is a little like the movie Groundhog Day, but a whole lot deeper. As our character goes through her days, she starts to get that her friends may not be the people she thought they were, and the girl who they had been bullying for years may have more worth than she ever knew.

The point I took away from this book is this: You never know how the smallest thing you do (or don't do) will effect someone. Events spiral out like a pebble on the surface of a pond, and everything and everyone is connected.

I think of this book as I watch the local news about bullying legislation and hope that changes can be made in the way bullying is handled in schools.

For my part, I will try to tell everyone about this book, and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why and hope my suggestion might be a pebble that ripples out to help someone else.

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