*This blog post got Rachel tickets in the prize drawing for our Teen Summer Contest. Click here to find out how to enter!*
Before I Fall was one of the few books with a truly unexpected ending – it’s great how the “happy” conclusion still involves the protagonist dying, but doing so in a more meaningful way than she lived her life. I found the climax – and all of the plot twists – surprising and yet still believable, which is extraordinarily rare. I also loved the way the narration flitted around from one thing to another, in one place just describing a scene or action, but then switching to some type of deeply existential thought. I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s exactly the way that my brain works. And I read tons of books with highly clichéd “character development” that only serves to irritate rather than to inspire, but Before I Fall wasn’t like that. Sam changes dramatically in a week – a relatively miniscule amount of time – but every little bit of it was fully justified in my mind. I was with her the whole way, from her point of view at the beginning, to the ending where she is willing to sacrifice her life. It was a gorgeous book!