Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper
Page Count: 470
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 25, 2010
Source: Library
Rating: Four-stars

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.

My Review: When I first picked up this novel, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it. I found myself not particularly liking the main character, her friends and their actions. Samantha Kingston is a girl most of us knew in high school. She’s popular, loud, and doesn’t seem to care what other’s think of her. She’s the type of girl who knows how to get a reaction when she wants it. Not exactly someone I’d fondly relate to.  I then realized that Oliver’s writing is actually the opposite because it shows just what kind of person Sam and her friends are.

I love how Oliver set up the book. Each chapter represents a day that Sam repeats. With only seven chapters, each one is broken down into smaller parts. Despite Sam repeating the day multiple times, it doesn’t grow old or boring. Oliver makes each day unique and heartbreaking despite having the same events happen over and over.

How Samantha reacts to replaying February 12th over and over again is easily believable as she runs a gauntlet of emotions each time she repeats the day. She does what most people would do if they were in this situation: first think they were going crazy, then rebel and do things they wouldn’t normally do, and last accept what is happening.

Throughout the course of the book, you realize that deep down Sam is not simply a “Mean Girl”. Oliver creates a depth and realness about Samantha that you can’t help but want to root for her to make the right decisions. You might start off despising the popular girl, but in the end she’ll have you in tears.

Final Thoughts: This book is a cross between Mean Girls and Groundhog Day and so much more. Lauren Oliver’s writing is refreshing and portrays the teenage mindset perfectly.

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