Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Monday, April 26, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

author’s website:
Lauren Oliver
release date: March 2, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Contemporary Fiction
length: 480 pages
overall rating: 5 Stars

*the inside flap*
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: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day 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*
Before I Fall was an absolutely beautiful story. The writing is phenomenal, the story is amazing, and the main character Samantha is easy to relate to and grows immensely throughout this story.

This book starts with a prologue that sets up the entire story. It kind of felt like the beginning of a “Grey’s Anatomy” episode where one of the characters gives you some background in the form of a voice over while the episode starts. I loved the format, and the last line of the prologue (“If you’re like me, your last day starts like this:”) was a very clever way to lead into the “real” story.

Each chapter in this book was a different “last day” for Samantha, with the first chapter being the original last day. In this first chapter, you meet Samantha’s clique – Elody, Ally, and Lindsay (the leader) – and realize that they are the super-popular girls that everyone wants to be. Samantha’s boyfriend, Rob, is also introduced in this chapter. You can tell from the writing that Samantha thinks Rob is wonderful, but I kind of thought he was a jerk. Actually, the group as a whole is kind of mean. They make fun of other kids, have inside jokes at the expense of others, and generally think they are better than everyone else. As you read the chapter (the whole book actually) there are little italicized comments interspersed from Samantha looking back at the day, which really added to the story because it pointed out how you really don’t know that it is your last day. Even though I knew her death was coming, I kept feeling anxious and curious about the when.

In the next few chapters, Samantha changes, the feel of the chapter/day reflects how she is changing. **SLIGHTLY SPOILERY - For example, in chapter 2 she is confused about reliving the day. In chapter 3, she’s figured it out and tries to change things. In chapter 4, she’s ANGRY! But I think she learns the most about herself in this chapter. END OF SPOILERY STUFF**

After reading Chapter 5, I decided that it was my favorite. It’s the fourth reliving and Samantha has really started to figure out that there is a reason for reliving the day so many times. Samantha stops worrying about the trivial snotty way that she used to do things and has started to become a MUCH nicer person. While I thought it was my favorite chapter, from there on, every chapter was better than the last! The last 200 pages of the story fly by and take you back to the anxiousness of not knowing how Samantha will actually die.

I LOVED this story. I could have read it in one sitting (and nearly did) and would love to read it again. I would recommend it to anyone.

*short and snappy*
writing: fantastic – Lauren Oliver does a brilliant job of capturing the emotion of the characters and the conversations of teenagers
plot: quick moving – even though Samantha is reliving the same day, each reliving is very different!
characters: well developed – it does get frustrating that Sam is growing so much and the others just relive their same attitudes
memorable line: “That’s when I realized that certain moments go on forever...They are everything and everywhere all at once.” (p. 470)
judging by the cover: beautiful cover...simple, but it works
miscellaneous: On her
website, Oliver explains that many aspects of the story come from her own experiences.

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