June 9, 2011

Book Review: Before I Fall

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
On-Sale Date: February 22, 2010
Length: 470 pages
Format: Hardcover

Samantha Kingston dies.
School.  Boyfriend.  Friends.  Parties.  This was Sam’s life.
Only, Sam isn’t really dead.  Or is she?
Every day she wakes up and lives her last day.  She has seven days to live and possibly change the outcome.

This book begged you to ask questions.
What would you do on your last day, if you knew it was your last?  What would you change if you could?  Would you take advantage of a stolen opportunity?  Would you ever make the right decision, or lie down and wait for the inevitable?  Would you ever openly choose death?  Would you welcome it in the end?

I wasn’t particularly fond of the main character in the beginning, so I took great pleasure in knowing she was going to die in the end.  She was too mean for someone so young.  She was too cruel.
You didn’t like her character, (or I didn’t).  Now, either that made her memorable or made you not want to continue.  I shook my head at her and had to pause for brief moments, but always wanted to press on.
I learned that a good character didn’t need to be likable.
Despite the character that Sam began as, I never wanted to stop turning the pages.  I wanted to keep reading so I could see what she became.  There were times that I wished it wasn’t her last day, because she wasn’t only what you saw on Day One.  Lauren gave depth to a character that seemed flat.
Sam was a good friend.  She was not beloved, but she did have people that loved her.
She had fabulous and messy friendships.
Her mother would have been a wonderful character to get to know.  Their relationship was something, and it could have been more.  It could have been anything.
Sam was a bad girl.  She was the text book definition, and she played her part exceptionally well.  Sam’s attitude and actions continuously reminded the reader that she was not an innocent little girl.  She wasn’t so terrible, but she was certainly no angel.  She had a lot to be blamed for.  She had a lot to atone for.
You saw more sides of Sam as her final day was continually relived.  I believed that she was living through a different stage of grief everyday.  Sam grew.  She still wasn’t kind, but no teenager would be a complete treat.

If you knew you were going to die, how would you handle it?  What would you change in one day?  How long would you remain in denial?

During the first few days Sam acted like her regular self, and she even became a nightmare, but she was never evil.  She felt the mix of emotions that anyone would have expected to feel, especially in her unbelievable situation.

Would you hope beyond hope?

Sam’s surroundings were one of the most interesting things.  You got to see the ramifications of one little action or misstep, because Sam did change, and didn’t follow the same path throughout each day.  It was an intriguing concept.
This was incredibly sad, because die by the end I didn’t want Sam to die.  I wanted her to have more stories, and for it to continue.  But you knew, (and so did I), that Sam was already gone.
It took death for Sam to live.
Sam would have remained unchanged and unpleasant if that day, (or days depending on how you looked at it), never happened.
I was left wishing I could have spoken to Sam before the final pages.  I wanted to speak with the author, although I had no idea how to put words into sentences.
I felt that ending.

Sam died in the best and worst way possible.
Maybe I never fully understood what Lauren Oliver was saying through Sam, but I was ultimately changed after reading that last sentence.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


  1. I read "Before I Fall" over a year or so ago and I was amazed by it. This book is really thought provoking, as you said. It's raw and emotional. It speaks the truth, especially regarding teenagers today. I mean, I sound so old when I say that but that's how I feel it is. Sam wasn't a very likable character in the beginning because of how she acted and the actions she decided to take. In a lot of ways, I think it was more about what Sam didn't do rather than what she did. I was very pleased as Sam's character grew throughout the story. Once everything really began to sink in, she changed her entire outlook on things and began to actually feel what was going on around her. It's such a beautiful and tragic story. It displays how one persons actions, big or small can effect another's so much! Your review is amazing, darling! I adore it :) Xo.

  2. I love this review. I haven't read Before I Fall yet, but I've been meaning to, and for you to say that you didn't like the main character yet she was still ensnaring enough to make the book an enjoyable read makes me incredibly interested. Definitely looking forward to this one.

  3. Beautiful to me, lady! I'm here for you. Great review and thank you for reading (finally). :P And hi, Cary!!

  4. Arggg I remember feeling similar when I reviewed this book, I really hated Sam in the beginning but I really liked how she learned from her experiences and became a better person. In the beginning though, I really wanted to throw something at her. Glad you got around to reading it!

  5. "before i fall"is so beautiful and inspiring..i guess it really states the facts of life and i salute THE AUTHOR for such a great work..

  6. and i was just sad at the ending part because samantha and kent didn't live happy ever after..

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