Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on November 23, 2011 | 1 Comment

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren OliverBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperTeen (3.2.2010)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 470 pages
Source: I own it
Buy on Amazon

5 Stars

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 thoughts

Oh. My. God.

When this book first started, I loathed Sam and her friends. They were everything I hate in girls – snobby, preppy, shallow. Cheating on tests and copying homework. Making fun of everyone they consider less fortunate. Flirting with teachers (gag). I was disgusted by how Sam and her friends treated other people. And I found it irritating how focused on sex they were, like it was the most important thing in a relationship, or something to gain status. Really, who plans losing their virginity?

Then they die. Sam looks back and says, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have (insert wrongdoing here).’ Then proceeds to ask, ‘What did I do that was so bad I deserved to die? …Is it really so much worse than what you do?’ and while what she did wasn’t okay, she had a point.

Sam lets it play out in day 2 basically the same way – like, seriously, no matter how strange, if every single detail was the same, wouldn’t you try to change it right away? But then the next day she does, but she turns to hate and anger instead of cherishing the last of her time. I really lost some respect for her then. While I know it would be enticing to live without consequence, I don’t think she should have taken it out on the people that matter most. Especially her family.

She redeems herself, though, as day by day goes on and she starts changing things little by little. I loved how she started talking to people she wouldn’t have previously given the time of day. She tries to fix things and set things right – even though sometimes that just made them worse. At one point she even said, sometimes bad things have to happen for good things to happen, and vice versa.

Sam starts to realize how different certain things and people are by looking at them differently. “I feel exhilarated, kind of like I’m being spun around a whirlpool, circling closer and closer around the same people and the same events but seeing things from different angles.”

This book made me want to reflect on myself and on my own life. It made me want to go hug all of the important people in my life and tell them that I love them, to say sorry and make amends with the ones who drifted away. “Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.” You don’t. And if I were to die tomorrow I would hate to have loose ends, to die without the people I care about knowing that I care about them. Life is too short to be angry. Too short to fight.

“I suppose that’s the secret, if you’re ever wishing for things to go back to the way they were, you just have to look up.”

I loved this quote. It’s great advice, really. If you’re regretting change, look at the sky. It never changes.

“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup.” 

This was really demonstrated in Before I Fall. One small decision leads to other big changes. Like how they say when a butterfly flaps it’s wings…you know. Definitely something to think about.

The ending made me cry. Like a friggin’ little baby. A perfect yet tragic ending to a beautiful, thought-inducing, emotional rollercoaster ride of a story!

Favorite quote

(because I prefer silly humor to deep and emotion-inducing):
I wonder idly how long I can go without sleep before I flip my shit and start running down the street in my underwear, hallucinating purple spiders.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 5/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing Style: 5+/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Pace: 5/5
Feels: 5+/5
Cover: 3/5

Overall Rating: 5+/5 starfish

Jessi (Geo)

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