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Before I Fall Hardcover – March 2, 2010
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At the start of Before I Fall, Sam is self-consumed and oblivious about the impact of her actions on others. But as she repeatedly experiences slightly altered versions of the hours leading up to her death—and her relationships with friends, family, and formerly overlooked classmates bloom, end, or shift—it’s impossible not to feel for the girl whose life ends too soon. Oliver’s adept teen dialogue and lively prose make for a fast, page-turning story in which the reader is every bit as emotionally invested as Sam. --Jessica Schein
From School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Top Customer Reviews
With keen insights and startling candidness, Lauren Oliver's debut novel is a frank, if not at times brutal look at high school social circles and the careless cruelties and bullying that occurs on a daily basis. Sam is one of the mean girls, and she shrugs off her biting words and actions as something that just happens, collateral damage of living through high school. But through every complex and carefully plotted event, Oliver peels back the layers of Sam's life and teaches us all that every little deed has a consequence, and no act goes unnoticed. Though Sam is by no means a likable character at the beginning of the novel, as her character is revealed and she learns a thing or two about the things she has done in her life and the person she has become, she morphs into a true, selfless, and caring heroine, despite her many flaws. The story line is addicting and suspenseful. and as each "day" passes and Sam begins to get things right, the question that has been looming in the back of your mind since the end of the first chapter--What will happen to Sam?--becomes more and more urgent. Oliver is skillful at wielding suspense and heartbreak, making you think hard about the value of your own life and actions.
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.
We get to know Sam and her friends at the beginning of the story, leading up to a crash that takes Sam's life. You have to be patient as you are introduced to them because they are not likeable at all. Just when you think you've had enough of them, they are in a deadly crash. That's not the end of the story, though, only the beginning.
Sam goes into a sort of sleep following the accident and awakens to relive her last day. Will changing something along the way lead to a different result? She tries, and tries again, and again. In fact she gets numerous attempts to "perfect" her last day, hoping she can make the most of her life...and her death if can't undo the accident.
This is not your typical tale of redeeming yourself. It's not so easy to make the changes that Sam needs to make to change fate. She doesn't simply do something new each time she gets a new day. Her first attempts are vastly different with vastly different results. It's not until she puts all the finest pieces together that she thinks she has the best solution. Life is unpredictable and so is death for Sam.
Watching this aggravating girl realize how wrong she has been is satisfying. Seeing her struggle to become a better person with only one day is fascinating. Wondering how (and if) she is going to succeed makes you not want to put this book down. Great read!
Note to parents: This book does contain a lot of references to drinking, drugs and sex, but nothing graphic.
I'm happy to say I enjoyed this book a lot more. Early on, Sam, the protagonist, herself refers to the film Groundhog Day, as if Oliver wants us to get out in the open what we are thinking. You do know all along the basic idea: by reliving her final day over and over, Sam is bound to change and be ready to move on to . . . what? Heaven? A new chance? So the premise isn't exactly original (there goes that fifth star!), but what Oliver does with it, coupled with her truly lovely prose, makes for an entertaining and thoughtful read with a very satisfying ending.
One of the other reviewers complained that Sam's quartet of mean girls doesn't change or grow enough. Well, it DOES all happen in one day, and only Sam gets to live that day over and over and, thus, change for the better. And while there's a lot of the basic "stages of grief" going on in each subsequent day, from shock to anger to sadness to acceptance, I liked what Oliver revealed about the people in Sam's life and how she tied each day together. I also think we really do get to see Sam grow and change in a believable way: we may not like the person she starts out as, but we learn how this is due to the choices she has made and these choices are believable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have to preclude this review by saying that I love novels that go against the grain, that don't necessarily give people what they want but what they need. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Nichole M
I had no idea what to expect when o began reading this book but as I turned the pages I really began to love Samantha Kingston. She turned out to be a great person. Read morePublished 6 days ago by I. Smith
It's not terrible but this book reminds me of what adults seem to think teenagers do and say. The premise is weird and could have been better done but I suppose the characters... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Ahlys
The Good: Groundhog's Day meets Mean Girls is a premise to get excited about. You'll be disappointed, but at least you'll always remember how awesome the premise was. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Jennifer Sicurella
Teen book club loved this book. Lauren was so kind that she even Skyped with us to answer questions about the characters and the writing process.Published 9 days ago by LHawkins
Had a little too much teenage drinking and partying for me. Good overall lessons learned in the end.Published 11 days ago by ,stacy burtenshaw
This is my first Lauren Oliver book and I loved it. Popular high school senior Sam Kingston dies in an accident on February 12th “Cupid Day”, but Sam relives her last day seven... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Danika