Before I Fall: The Last Ice Cream Cone
At first I was at a loss for how to describe this book. I’m going to be a senior, and I have now reread four times- once for each grade level, and with each read I get something more out of it. It’s resonated with my high school experience a lot because I’ve had a taste of all parts of the social ladder. I’ve unintentionally been horrible to other people yet I try to be kind and treat other people with respect.
This is book powerfully shows us how the way we treat others can effect our whole world. Sam experiences the extreme consequence of death. While she is mean and selfish, she is not evil, and she does not deserve to die. There is good in her, but she let her selfishness get the better of her. Lindsay betrays Juliet by placing the blame for something she did on her. Juliet’s life quickly became hell after that, all because Lindsay was ashamed of something that she had done and because she was insecure.
Sam has pined over Rob for as long as she can remember, but now that she dates him, she realizes she doesn’t really know him at all. As she moves through life after death, she lets herself be who she really is and not who everyone else expects her to be, and that is extremely empowering.
So, a few questions:
(1) What connections can you make to your own life?
(2) How does Sam change? Was she a bad person to begin with, or was she a good person that acted mean because that’s what everyone expected?
(3) Does Juliet survive the ending? What happens after Sam dies? How is she remembered?
(4) Had Sam lived, would she have outgrown her high school years and eventually became the person she is at the end of the novel?
If you haven’t read this book, read it. It’s well worth your time.
1. Bullying is everywhere. It’s terrible, because it’s sometimes inevitable. At least once in their lifetime, someone is bullied. It makes me sick that there are girls like Lindsey in my hometown, and girls like Juliet who just want to give up. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve been a victim of it.
2. I believe that Sam was a bad person in the beginning. She was shallow and ignorant, but she wasn’t an evil person. She loved Lindsey, Ally, and Elodie. Her love blinded her to the hurtful slurs and remarks they made to everyone. Her longtime crush on Rob had her blinded to his inner pig. She judged Kent on how he turned out, never mind the fact that they were best friends as children.
She does change at the end, and I grow to love her. She finally sees the truth and errors of the people she associates with, and the wrong in her actions. She does what’s right, and the fact that it was so unselfish is truly amazing.
3. Juliet does live, thanks to Sam. I like to believe that it changes Juliet, to see that someone who cared for her so little risked everything to save her. It shows her that people can change, and that life is worth the struggle. I want to believe that she turned her life around, held her head high, ignored any hateful remarks made at her and lived her life to the fullest, in honor of Sam’s sacrifice.
4. There is a possibility that Sam might have changed, but I am skeptic. If it wasn’t for the days repeating themselves, she would have never grown closer to Kent, or realized just how beautiful life is. I think that if Juliet had died, she would have felt guilt, but that’s it. She probably would have lost her virginity to Rob, got her heart broken, and graduated with Lindsey as the most popular girls of the year. I just have my doubts that she would have changed. She was blind to the truth. She knew what she loved, and she loved what she knew.
Can we PLLEEAAAAASE talk about Kent now?! 8D