Thursday, May 13, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

While reading this book I was reminded why I try to be aware of what my children are reading. This is a young adult book and looks like the sort of book my daughters would be interested in reading. My 20-year-old read it before I did and when I asked her about it she sort of shrugged and made a face that said "not so hot". My 17-year-old started reading it and quit after only a little.
The story is of a girl who relives the last day of her life several times, kind of a "Groundhog Day". She and her 3 friends are popular seniors and are constantly bullying the other kids in the school. As Sam relives that day, she learns many things about herself and her friends, and some of the other students. She discovers why many of them act the way they do and by the end she is trying to change for the better. I liked that part of the story although I really didn't like the ending at all but the overall tone of the book, kind of the "teens will be teens" sort of attitude towards sex, drinking, smoking, etc. that really bothered me. Just about any kid who was decent was at the bottom socially. There are a lot of sexual references (Sam expects to lose her virginity that night and seduces a teacher), lots of drinking and drug use, and lots of language although not the worst kind. Really not appropriate for younger teens and with older ones, I would suggest reading it first and then making that decision based yourself. It could bring up topics for discussion (bullying, drugs, partying, etc.) but I'm glad that my 17-year-old didn't read it. I consider this one rated R. There was just too much in that was objectionable.

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