Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver [Review]

4 out of 5 Robots!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult
Release: March 2, 2010
Hardcover: 470 Pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
My Copy: Personal Copy
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:

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.

Shannon's Thoughts:
Lauren Oliver is such a great writer.  If it wasn't for her great writing, I would not have enjoyed this book nearly as much.  Samantha Kingston (Sam) is your typical "mean girl".  She has clawed her way into the upper echelon of high school and now is a part of the popular clique.  She is not a likeable character.  She has little regard for others feelings and makes fun of people without a thought.  She is not one-dimensional though.  She isn't mean just to be mean or to fulfill an archetype.  It is more that since little affects her from her top position she just has no idea how harmful her actions are.  This is the crux of the book.  Sam dies in a car accident, only to wake up the next day to relive it all over.  Each relived day she makes different decisions and the outcome always changes.  Finally she starts figuring out what she needs to do in order to "make things right".  

On one hand, since she isn't a likeable character, so she can only improve, right?  But even at the end, I felt like she could have come a lot farther.  Maybe it isn't realistic to believe that someone could change that much in a week, but I just wanted...more.  I wanted to learn more about the other characters and how Sam went from being a nobody to being an "It" girl.  Also, I felt like you really don't start seeing any redeeming qualities in her friends until the very end.  This frustrated me a bit because it made them pretty one dimensional right up until at the end.

This story in the hands of a less accomplished writer would have fallen flat.  But Oliver gives her protagonist a strong and clear voice.  And seeing how Sam's actions change the day's events is really interesting.  I found the book over all to be a little melancholy, but since it is about Sam's death it makes sense.  I do recommend this book because of the beautiful way it is written, even if some of the plot points are lacking for me.  


  1. I haven't read this one but it sounds really interesting. A kind of new spin on Groundhog Day (which by the way I love that movie!) It's nice to hear that Sam has a strong voice throughout this book, the concept is definitely one that many authors would have difficulties with. Great review!

  2. http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/05/before-i-fall-by-lauren-oliver.html just finished reading this book, i love your review :)



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