released: March 2, 2010
hardcover, 470 pages
intended audience: Young Adult
Description from goodreads.com:
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Review: It took me a second after flipping the very last page of this book to realize how much it effected me. It was an incredible debut novel. It was heartfelt and amazingly honest, shocking and hopeful, and very, very smart. It felt important; one of the first things I did after finishing it and letting it settle in my brain was to hand it to my almost-fifteen-year-old daughter and say "Read this." I was unsure at the beginning--I absolutely disliked the main character, Samantha,--- it was a challenge to connect with her on any level because she and her friends were so cruel and irresponsible. BUT you have to start there to really see the meaning of this story. It was incredible to watch her grow and mature, to see her learn what really was important in life and how she would attempt to capture it.
The plot itself was not, by any means, unique---as a matter of fact it reminded me so much the "groundhog day" plot that I was not the least bit surprised to see that very movie mention in the pages of this book! (Of course, I noticed it probably more that some because I've literally seen that movie at least 15 times!) However, the author has taken this plotline and put such a wonderful spin on it, giving it so much more depth and meaning, that the similarities hardly mattered in the end. It was captivating to see what Sam did and what she tried to change as she relived the day of her death over and over again.
I have so many more thoughts on this amazing story---but nothing that wouldn't give away too much if you haven't already read this one. And if you haven't, I suggest moving it closer to the top of your reading pile!