Wednesday, May 9, 2012

YA Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

by Isabelle Doan


Random Information:

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 470
Series: Unfortunately not
Time: Audio was about 14 hours
My Format: Audio (Overdrive)
Rating: Library/Borrow/e-book/Paperback/Hardcover
What if you only had 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: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times 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.

My emotions upon finishing this book: ASDHFJKAHSLUGH

I cannot completely describe how amazing Lauren Oliver is. How completely amazing this book is. How I freaking cried at the end.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is about a eighteen year old girl, Sam, who dies. Sam was a mean girl who thrived on shallowness, especially after rising from total unpopularity. However, for seven days, she gets to relive that day wherein she dies. She gets the chance to live it again, and again, with different results each time. It sort of Heaven's way of saying, fix this mess you caused. (Think of like Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls meet 50 First Dates.)

You would expect this book to be really repetitive. It wasn't. Lauren Oliver has a way of not plunging into long detail without giving us something to think about.

It's kind of like how everyone in your school tells the same story each time, but differently. The original story was that Bob slept with Maria. Someone else says that Bob had a threesome on a plane with Maria and Grace. And then someone else says that Maria was abducted by aliens and then Bob saved her and banged the alien.

I digress. Point is, it's entertaining, and the repetition is there for emphasis.

Also, everything she writes ties back to the main theme. Oliver will write a phrase, like "Maybe next year, but probably not." It seems SO arbitrary at the beginning of the book. Then in the middle, BANG! It comes back to haunt Sam.

Or Oliver will write something completely and utterly wise. 
 Like, in a flashback Sam explains the suicide of popular guy and a bullied kid. The bullied kid hung himself. And the popular guy hung himself exactly one year after, in the exact same fashion, exact time. In the suicide note, the popular guy wrote, "We are all hangmen." It's only for a paragraph, but it's completely moving.

I was so completely overwhelmed all throughout the book. And though death is a touchy topic, it seems believable. Sam has so many quotable moments, like:

“I guess that's what saying good-bye is always like--like jumping off an edge. The worst part is making the choice to do it. Once you're in the air, there's nothing you can do but let go.”  

“So many things become beautiful when you really look.” 

“A good friend keeps your secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets.” 

“How is it possible, I think, to change so much and not be able to change anything at all?” 

JUST TO NAME A FEW. Lauren Oliver...

The main complaint people have with this book is that the main character is not relatable. No, she's not. Don't we all want to get into the body of someone who's like us and find them discover something wonderful, like a vampire boyfriend, or that they're a Shadowhunter?

I guess. But Sam is so refreshing! That's the point guys! She IS like you and me more than we can realize. She changes throughout the book, and really makes a good decision at the end. And though she wasn't noble, being a popular person who laughs at others, are WE really any different from her? We all hold bad qualities, and we get to see an amazing, sad, and moving story.

And guysez, if you want to get into audiobooks, LISTEN TO THIS ONE. It was the best freaking audiobook I have ever listened to. The narrator made the book come alive, and she made me feel sympathy toward the characters.

If you liked books like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, where it' super happy then sad at the end, but you learn something and become a better person, READ THIS BOOK. In fact, READ THIS BOOK ANYWAY.


  1. I have heard mixed this about this book but, I have read oliver's delrium series and I love it! so, I think I might just check out this book lol

    your newest follower,

    1. I think you'll like it Kristin. I'm currently reading Delirium and I see a lot of similar characteristics between it and Before I Fall.

      Thanks for Following me!