Before I Fall

Friday, March 12, 2010

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 470
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: March 2, 2010

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver is an amazing debut! High School senior Samantha Kingston is one of the most popular girls in school. She and her best friends, Lindsey, Elody, and Ally are living a life full of fun and privilege afforded them because of their popular status. Then on February 12, Samantha lives her last day.

What follows are 6 more chances for Samantha (Sam) to live the same day over again. These next 6 days are opportunities for her to change the decisions she makes. But more so Sam ironically learns about who she is and what truly matters in life.

What I loved about this book was how insightful it ended up being and how introspective the main character was. Even though Sam comes off as superficial, the more we learn about her the more we realize that the real her she's pushed away may be more than the popular girl we meet at the beginning of the book. The growth Sam makes through the course of the novel is inspiring but also heart breaking at the same time, knowing what has led her to this. The author did a great job of making Sam a fully fleshed out character as we simultaneously learn more about her past and she learns more about herself.

Another reason this book was so wonderful is because any girl out there could easily become Sam. She wasn't a bad person, but the need to belong led her to make bad decisions that ultimately affected everything else in her life. But in learning more about the main characters, every teenager can probably relate in some way whether it's to any of the popular girls, the girl who was picked on, or the mere friend who secretly vied after their popular friend. I loved the way the author added more information on each of the 6 days that showed us more about what exactly happened to lead to Sam's death and other events throughout the day. She was also able to describe the same day repeatedly while continuing to add to the plot and have Sam gain more insight. The personal growth in Sam was discernible from one day to the next.

There are some very important messages in this book for not just teens but all people. I think one of the things that might make teens relate to this book is how real the author described high school/teen life. She didn't shy away from including parties and sex talk, but she also didn't overdo it to try to shock either. She was very genuine in her depiction of these teenagers.

There are a couple quotes from the book I wanted to include. In this first one, Sam is reflecting on the fact that she has separated from her parents and she's realizing her feelings about this.

"I hate both of my parents right now: for sitting quietly in our house, while out in the darkness my heart was beating away all of the seconds of my life, ticking them off one by one until my time was up; for letting the thread between us stretch so far and so thin that the moment it was severed for good they didn't even feel it." (pg. 111, nook)

And in this quote, Sam is starting to see that people may not always be what you think.

"I shiver, thinking about how easy it is to be totally wrong about people -- to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it's the effect or vice versa." (pg. 225, nook)

If you enjoy young adult books or books and/or introspective characters, you will definitely enjoy this book.


Juju at Tales of said...

Fantastic review!

Oh please doll!
Feel free to spread the word about the Miami blog tour :)
Sounds SO fun!

Trisha said...

Sounds like an intriguing book. I love the whole 'second chance' idea - a la Groundhog's Day.

MarceJ said...

You have a very nice blog. I found you from Jennifer's Blog Hop post.

I look forward to reading Before I Fall, it is on my list.

Tameka said...

I cannot wait to read this! I am stopping myself from just buying it at Borders but's definitely on the list!

April (BooksandWine) said...

Great review, Jenny! I can't wait to read Before I Fall. Granted, I was nervous because it's the same day over and over but I suppose that's nothing o be too concerned about, since it sounds like Oliver has done an awesome job with it.

WonderBunny said...

Good review!

I found you through the book blogger hop. :)

Jenny said...

Juju -- thanks! And i added the miami thing to the group. =)

Trisha -- i loved the second chance thing to, not just b/c she could re-do things but for everything she learned!

MarceJ -- Thanks! I look forward to your review.

Tameka -- I understand... there are way too many books I've just broken down and bought, lol!

April -- thanks! Yeah, there are enough differences in each day even though the main order of events is the same to keep it interesting.

WonderBunny -- thanks!

Candace said...

I've heard great things about this book! Can't wait to read it!

And love you background! It makes me happy!!!

Jenny said...

LOL, Candace.. I'm glad you like it!

Morgan said...

Those are amazing quotes and they make me want to read the book. I've heard so many great things about this book and I defiantly want to read it. Great review!

Jenny said...

Thanks Morgan! I love when I find good quotes like that in books that make you think.

Lydia said...

An award awaits you here

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Hi, Jenny...this book sounds wonderful!

BTW...I have an award for you over at:

Micaella Lopez said...

There were a lot of things that I predicted would happen, but there are some definite plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat if you read the book.

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Rowena Hailey said...

Before I Fall is a haunting and beautiful book. It will float around at the back of your mind long after you've read it.

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