Book Review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall

Lauren Oliver

HarperCollins

480 pages

Sam Kingston has it all.  She’s one of the most popular senior girls in school and she is constantly making memories with her three best friends Elody, Ally and Lindsay.  It all changes one night when Sam is killed in a car accident on the way home from a party with all of her friends.  At this point, Before I Fall takes an interesting turn.

Sam is forced to relive her last day alive.  Not once, not twice, but multiple times.  At first, I got a little bored.  I was thinking ‘One day . . . over and over again?  How boring!”  Rest assured, it was anything but.  Sam doesn’t know why she is trapped in some time of purgatory–she has no idea why she keeps reliving the same day over and over and over, but during that repeating day, she keeps learning what mistakes she made in life and what a powerful influence she can have on others.

A big part of the lessons Sam learns is that her attitude and treatment of others matters.  Before her death, she had a devil may care attitude.  She joined in on teasing some peers with her friends.  She rarely showed any affection towards her parents.  She really embodied the negative attitude some people have of “popular girls”.  She behaved as if she was better than everyone and, in the end, she eventually realized that her behavior had a negative impact on some, including herself.

It was unfortunate that Sam didn’t have these revalations before her death.  It took life and death for Sam to realize the mistakes she made and to mend the relationships she had with the ones she loved.  It was almost like too little, too late.

This book came at a really weird time for me.  The wife of one of the attorneys in my office died shortly after childbirth.  Such a tragic and unexpected death resonated a lot more because the parallels were significant.  It made Sam’s plight more personal and realistic, and I empathized with her even more.

Before I Fall is an example of the great YA literature that is becoming more and more prevalent these days. 

Other Reviews:

Presenting Lenore

S Krishna’s Books

Jenn’s Bookshelves

nomadreader

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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3 Responses

  1. Sounds like an interesting, Groundhog Day premise. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for this one!

  2. I’ve seen a lot about this book lately – I’m glad it has your stamp of approval as well. I wish my library had it!

  3. Sounds like a powerful book and a sad time for you to read it.

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