Written by: Lauren Oliver
This piece of contemporary young adult fiction starts off as a pathetically stereotypical white girl story. Samantha Kingston practically has a charmed life. She’s very popular, has a gorgeous boyfriend, and her circle of friends are the prettiest and most popular girls in school. By all means, the twelfth of February or Cupid Day should be yet another inimitable and normal day in her life. Yet, not all things go as planned, and Samantha is killed in a tragic car accident on her way home from a party. It doesn’t end here; however, the protagonist relives her last day seven times. Samantha discovers how her actions and decisions affect the course of the day until she finds out some hidden truths, and chooses the “right” thing to do thus ending the time loop where she ambiguously fades.
Admittedly, this novel isn’t exactly my cup of tea to peruse, and honestly, I didn’t truly enjoy it especially because of the introductory chapter where it just drones on about the minutiae and romanticised musings of a popular girl. The added supernatural and spiritual element that was added after her death managed to perk my interest a bit in an otherwise ostentatious white girl book. Samantha does things that she normally wouldn’t even dare do in a normal situation, but the daunting idea of the inevitability of her death makes her rebellious and apathetic for a while.
Afterwards, she gains a sense of purpose because there must be a reason a dead person is having her last day replayed, after all. When Samantha finally realises this, she unveils some lacklustre secrets about her best friend and her relation with Juliet, the lonely, unpopular girl.
I have to say kudos because for a romantic young adult novel, Samantha has the most wonderful character development. I’ve observed that heroines of YA books these days hardly go through character development if at all.
Disregarding the tedium of reading the reflections of a typical popular stereotyped girl (Some of her thoughts made me wince and put down the book more than once.), there is a poignant tone to this novel. It shows us how our action and decisions affect the course of the day, and like Samantha brutally shows us the consequences of what we have done and not done in a day of our limited lives.