Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is just something indescribably wonderful about buying a book by a favorite author and losing oneself within its pages. Although I came a little late to the Lauren Oliver Party, I’m here for the duration.

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.

Because I so loved Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, I took on the quest to read her previous books. When I discovered Before I Fall and saw all the literary awards it had garnered, I thought, “How did I miss this?” My expectations were high. Maybe too high.

Within the 470 pages of this book there is a prologue, seven chapters and an epilogue. Yes. I said SEVEN chapters. One for each day Sam Kingston lives through the last day of her life.

Truth be told, Sam isn’t really a likable girl. She’s popular and at times mean spirited. Why? Because she can get away with it. The high school she attends is like every other high school in America. It’s made up of cliques. But, when she dies and returns to live the same day over, Samantha begins to view all of those cliques in a different light. Those people that were beneath her, that she made fun of, are suddenly important.

Writing experts tell new authors their characters must go through some kind of change during the course of the story. Boy, does Samantha Kingston change. The reader watches as she is stripped bare and put back together again. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking.

Do I recommend this book? Definitely. I believe Oliver has perfectly conveyed the attitudes and social practices of teenagers today. The story is compelling. The characters are both lovable and easily disliked. Just like the real world. I do believe the moniker of Young Adult should be taken to heart. I wouldn’t give this book to anyone under the age of sixteen. Younger minds are more impressionable and there is a lot these characters do and say that most adults would discourage.

I rank this book below the Delirium series but loved reading it. I’m not sure it’s one I’ll want to revisit but it definitely solidifies Lauren Oliver as one of my favorite authors.

View all my reviews