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.