Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

2010
02.20


before i fall
Samantha Kingston is a bitch.  She and her three best friends Lindsay, Elody and Ally rule the school with their better-than-you attitudes and sky-high stilettos. Sometimes Sam feels a twinge in what passes for a conscience at the bottom of her small black heart, but she usually manages to squish it. February 12 is a Friday like any other, except on the way home from a party, Sam and her girls end up rolling their car and Sam’s life as she knows it is over. Until the next morning, when she wakes up in her bed. It’s February 12—again. At first Sam thinks maybe this is a coma dream, but soon she realizes that she’s trapped in a weird limbo—and she’s not sure what she’s supposed to do next. “Maybe when you die time folds in on you, and you bounce around inside this little bubble forever.” She feels anger (“I hate both of my parents right now…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.”) then hopelessness (“I’m dead, but I can’t stop living.”) and finally resolve, as Sam realizes she can alter events, move people around, and perhaps avoid the inevitable crash that takes her life (“From now on I’m going to do things right. I’m going to be a different person, a good person. I’m going to be the kind of person who would be remembered well, not just remembered.”) But is Sam meant to save herself? Maybe the point of all this is to save someone else…

If Sarah Dessen and Jenny Downham collaborated, it might look a little like this rad reinvention of the mean-girl novel. Full confession? I dreaded reading this book. C’mon, a teen relives the last day of her life over and over? (Have I ever mentioned that Groundhog Day is one of my most hated movies of all time?) And it’s loooonnngg. Like 450+ pages long. But surprise, surprise, Lauren Oliver had me at hello with this elegantly crafted and completely mesmerizing story about a dead girl who learns what it means to live in just seven short days. Unlike Groundhog Day, each February 12 of Sam’s day is different, a whole life lived in 24 short hours as she tries to accept what she has lost and wishing she appreciated it more. The length ended up being important, as Sam goes over every detail of the careless existence she took for granted, causing  YOU to consider all the little things in your life that you never think about but would miss terribly if they all went away. Like sunsets, little sisters and sappy movies, just to name a very few. Despite the length, there was a feeling of constant suspense as I wondered how on earth Oliver was going to solve Sam’s existential conundrum. I ended up loving every bit of it: the premise, the way Sam’s character realistically develops over the course of the story, the bittersweet end and yes, even the voluminous page count. This is a heart book. You will have an illogical urge to hug it when you’re done. I found myself racing through it, and sighing with great satisfaction upon finishing the last page. As you will, when this lovely and amazing tome comes to a library or bookstore near you.

103 Responses to “Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver”

  1. milly says:

    okay so i just finished this book and i honestly think she died at the end of the book. There was no other way for her to go, she died on the first day which meant that throughout the whole course of the novel she was actually dead (but in a sort of limbo where she relived the same day over and over again.) I dont know if anyone else noticed by she dies another time in the novel and then she lives the same day again, i think that this shows the major difference between the final scene and her previous deaths. It re-inforces the idea that she was dead from the beginning of the novel and in order to go to the after life she had to sacrifice her life to save Juliets. Because the other time she died, she just relived the same day over again?

    Also i am not sure, but when the days are being repeated is it “actually” happening to everyone or is it just happening to same? Like i am really confused as to whether Juliet who i believe lives at the end of the last day, will actually be alive in life or she will still be dead like she was after the car crash where sam died on the first day. Idk if anyone knows what im trying to say but i just want to know that whether the events that are happening to sam throughout the novel are actually effecting the lives of all the other characters in the book e.g if they die then they stay dead ? Or is it all a fragment of her mind and it is just happening to sam, like everything that happens to her is in an alternate universe /her mind and everything that happens will not effect everyone in “REAL” life.

    I dont know if you guys can understand what im trying to say but yeah thats my opinion

  2. James/VVhiteRaven says:

    I understand. When I finish the book I, like other readers went form hating sam to felling sry for her. I like you was thinking if she help juliet she would live the next day, but also thinking she was already dead. I would like to think that it does affect every one even though she is dead. I think she was stuck in this “limbo” to at least save and help fix the lives of others in the story; the cheating on the test and getting kick of the swim team, saving juliet, ect. She still dies but before she can move on she must change he life and become a better person to go to a better place.

    James/ WhiteRaven I Understood what you where saying.

  3. James/VVhiteRaven says:

    Hope this helps

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