Review: Before I Fall

Review: Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harper on October 25, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 470
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

First Sentence: “They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”

Review:
Obviously, I’ve heard a lot about this, long before I opened it. The concept sounded fascinating and I enjoyed Delirium, so I was definitely super excited to read this one. Anyway, the opening section totally caught my attention with the cleverness of the writing and the strength of the voice. Even though I could immediately tell that I would kind of hate the main character, I was hooked.

Seriously, I spent the first half of the book wanting to do nothing so much as punch Sam and her friends in their made-up faces. Ugh. It was awful. Basically, most of this book reminded me just how much I hated high school. I’m so glad I’m through with that part of my life, and I would not go through it again, even if I could take all the knowledge I have now with me. People are so cruel and all of the emphasis put on popularity, on being this cookie cutter person who dates the right people and goes to the right parties; it’s all bullshit.

What’s important to know, though, is that even during the many, many pages where I wanted to punch pretty much everyone in the face, I still really enjoyed reading Before I Fall. The writing is completely captivating. Lauren Oliver very much captures Sam’s voice, and manages to let Sam’s character grow at a very natural pace.

Obviously, this plot is like Groundhog Day mashed up with Mean Girls. Much like the former film manages not to be boring, even though he’s living the same day over and over again, Oliver’s book never dragged. Even thought the events that transpired as Sam lived the same date over and over again remained pretty consistent, the smallest changes made huge differences or no difference at all. I really loved the emphasis placed on how much and how little can change in just a single day. Really makes a girl think about carpe-ing that diem.

My very favorite part of the novel, other than the really awesome concept and the writing, is Kent. He is just the cutest, so nerdy and himself. Were he not so brave, he could pretend and be as popular as anyone, but instead he embraces his weirdness, and I just love that about him. I wish I’d had a guy like him in high school, but I also know that I would have been too afraid of venturing out of the mainstream that I totally wasn’t in anyway to go for it. That’s the message I want to leave this post with: life’s too short to pass up an amazing, cute, nerdy guy…now I just have to find one (that’s not fictional).

As for the ending, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it just now. Honestly, I’m not sure what happened entirely, but I definitely want to bawl my eyes out (figuratively, because literally would be really gross).

Favorite Quote:

“Chance. Stupid, dumb, blind chance. Just a part of the strange mechanism of the world, with its fits and coughs and starts and random collisions.”

9 responses to “Review: Before I Fall”

  1. Heather says:

    I felt the exact same way! I’m so glad you finished this one so we can discuss it without me spoiling anything 🙂

  2. It sounds very interesting. I’ll check it out!

  3. Christina Kit. says:

    I think the fact that you wanted to punch her in the beginning was a way of highlighting how much she matures by the end.

    What I find incredible is Lauren Oliver’s writing. She just pulls you right through a story.

  4. Tabitha says:

    I loved Kent too! He was so adorable and I wish him and Sam would have gotten more time together. I’m glad you liked this book (:
    Great review!

  5. rachchan2006 says:

    I absolutely loved this book. It’s such a great debut, and showcases just what a talented author Lauren Oliver is. It’s great to see how much Samantha matures over the novel; trust me, this is not your typical YA novel! The ending, while sad, is amazing and poignant and makes you feel like crying your eyes out. BEWARE, it’s a book that draws you in and sinks its claws into you!

  6. AUTUMN GIRL says:

    Oh,this book was amazing. I read it before Delirium so I like it more than Delrium.

    • Christina says:

      I definitely think it’s a better book than Delirium. That was like a 4 star read for me. BUT the first 100 pages were painful to read, by design but still. Ow. My high school self is still crying.

  7. My mother always used to tell me that ‘your school days are the best days of your life’. I mean is she mad?! I hated school too. Stuff matters so much in school that is totally irrelevant in real life. Like the idea that this book is ‘groundhog day’ meets ‘mean girls’. Think I will give this book a read 🙂

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