Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: March 2, 2010
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Death, Choices, Moving on, Romance, Friendship, Family
Plot (from GoodReads):
“What if you had only 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 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.”

Lauren Oliver’s debut novel left me speechless. Well, I suppose I did a fair amount of babbling, but it wasn’t exactly coherent – I was in awe. I never expected that I’d be up all night because I simply could not put BEFORE I FALL down!

The plot of BEFORE I FALL is not one that is new to readers, but it is classic. Samantha dies unexpectedly, but does not “pass on.” Instead she relives her last day repeatedly, until she figures out the key to escaping the limbo-like state. Oliver’s take on the premise added twists that made BEFORE I FALL truly unique.

Oliver characterized her main character, Samantha, perfectly. She had so many layers and even as she did horrid, mean-girl things, she pulled me in and made me understand her. I can honestly say I identified with Samantha. She is now one of my favorite narrators!

Samantha’s growth throughout the novel progressed perfectly. She does not immediately change her self-centered ways, she must make an effort to change. She must slow down and notice all the small details in her everyday life and how even her smallest actions make ripples and affect others. I am so glad that BEFORE I FALL was so lengthy, partially because I didn’t want it to end, but also because it allowed for the plot to unfold at just the right pace.

There is a romantic plot line… and it was so, so good… but it was also so very painful. This aspect of the novel cemented my love for this novel. I adored the entire plot and novel, but his seemly doomed story was just so utterly romantic. I am a romance junkie and BEFORE I FALL totally fed my obsession. It made me cry, but was still satisfying.

BEFORE I FALL is a must-read. And, I think, a must-buy! Oliver’s novels will all have a spot on my bookshelf… I’m already anxiously awaiting her next novel!


24 thoughts on “Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

  1. Have already been waiting impatiently to read this book and now that I know that their is a really good romantic aspect to the book, I am even more excited to read it! Thanks for the review.

  2. I've been hearing great things about this book. After reading this terrific review, I have to have it!! It sounds just wonderful, I haven't read a book that made me cry in a long time..Thanks for this great review.

  3. Wow, sounds like an awesome plot. Repeatedly living the same day over and over.I'm glad that the narrator is self-centered, because I think a lot of teenage girls (including me!) can relate to that. Maybe they could even learn something about changing their own ways by reading this book.Glad you enjoyed it! Can't wait to read it myself.Thanks,

  4. I am so excited to read this book. I really have seen nothing but good reviews of it and to top it off everyone is RAVING about this book. I want to read it so bad myself. Thanks for the review. ~Erin :]

  5. AAAH!! This looks like a freaking AWESOME book! I REALLY want to read it! I'm glad to hear that she steadily became different, I don't like it when they just suddenly become a better person or whatever. And I absolutely ADORE tragic love stories! Is it weird that I like it when a book makes me cry? I don't know, I think it's a good thing.. Because it means I felt so deeply about what was going on. Anyways, sorry for babbling!

  6. I have heard so many great things about this book and I almost bought it at BN last night but I decided to put it back. Though I may go back and get it now because your review has me convinced that I can't live without this book!

  7. I have been dying to read this book and now that I have read your review I want to read it even more. I absolutely love the cover and it sounds like Ms. Oliver did a wonderful job with the plot.

  8. Wow! I have got to read this one! I'm actually very excited to. I've also heard great things about this one. Aghh. I'm already dying to read it. From what I can tell from everyone's reviews, this will be one of those books that will be remembered a long time from now. 🙂 Two thumbs up to Lauren Oliver.

  9. Oh, no! I don't want another painful romance…I like happy endings! But every review I've read (including yours, obviously) has said Before I Fall is worth reading. I'm glad you like it!

  10. You make me want the book even more!I especially loved this part:"Samantha’s growth throughout the novel progressed perfectly. She does not immediately change her self-centered ways, she must make an effort to change. She must slow down and notice all the small details in her everyday life and how even her smallest actions make ripples and affect others."That's one thing you want in a character: believability. Without it, they seem more like a plant that's growing than a person! Thanks for the review!

  11. I absolutely love the cover, it gets your attention. your review defintely makes me want to ransack borers and get it. it sounds so good, and im craving a good book to read. i have midterms, and they are frustrating and stressful. argggghh. cant wait till all my exams are over.Lasha

  12. I completely agree, this is a must read. I was so pleasantly surprised by this book because it didn't seem like something I'd like. Soooo glad I had great reviews to help me decide =)

  13. Man, now I really want to read this. I like that you said she has to slow down and recognize that the tiniest things she does affect other people drastically – I feel like I need to do the same. I have a feeling I'll learn from this book. Thanks for posting!

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