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Before I Fall Paperback – October 25, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls teen hybrid, Sam Kingston is pretty, popular, and has a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a late-night party everything goes terribly wrong, and the life that she lived is gone forever. Or is it?

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
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–In the blink of an eye, popular high school student Samantha Kingston loses her life. What should have been a fantastic day turns out to be the beginning of a horrific afterlife experience. In the wake of a fiery car crash, Sam wakes up on Friday, February 12th again, and again, and again—reliving her last day seven times. At the beginning, she is her usual obnoxious, thoughtless, and reckless self, but the teen is gradually transformed over the week. Sarah Drew narrates Lauren Oliver's powerful debut novel (HarperCollins, 2010), bringing Sam's voice to life with brilliant execution. She matches every nuance of Sam's character, easily transitioning from mean girl through stages of anger, moroseness, hopelessness, and regret, until she reaches a state of acceptance. The secondary characters are interestingly voiced. The story will instantly capture listeners, and the outstanding narration makes it potentially one of the best audiobooks of the year. A must-have for public libraries and high school collections, though schools should be aware that there are scenes with both sexual situations and teen drinking.–Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, New Britain, CTα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061726818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061726811
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (887 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, which was published in 2010; Panic; and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. She is a 2012 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee for her middle-grade novel Liesl & Po, as well as author of the fantasy middle-grade novel The Spindlers. Panic, which was published in March 2014, has been optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal. Her first novel for adults, Rooms, was published in late September 2014. Upcoming in March 2015 will be Vanishing Girls, a gripping YA novel. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#37 in Books > Teens
#37 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Even though I dont like the ending its a really good book. :]
A Customer
I love the premise, and I love the idea that Sam knows what's happening and how she can make changes so that her life and the lives of others are changed forever.
Tamela Mccann
I thought the characters were well developed and the story was well written.
Shana

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 148 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Friday, February 12th should be just another average day for popular, beautiful Samantha Kingston. But it's far from it--her ride home after a late-night party ends in a car accident, only when Sam wakes up, it's Friday, February 12th again. Forced to re-live the last day of her life seven times, Sam struggles to understand the meaning behind these experiences and the significance in her own life and actions. Because only when she can get her last day exactly right will she ever be able to take the next step.

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.
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85 of 101 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Schrader on February 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sam is the kind of girl we can all hate. Popular, snotty, superior. In life, you could have pointed out her bad behavoir and she probably would have laughed in your face, or honestly, not cared at all. But, in death she is forced to take a good, long look at every choice she has made in her relatively short lifetime.

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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Friedman on May 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a high school teacher, I'm always reading young adult fiction, both for the pleasure it gives me and in order to recommend and encourage my students to read. I picked up Lauren Oliver's second book, DELIRIUM, first, because I like dystopian fiction. I wasn't blown away by that book - the society she created didn't really make sense, maybe because there are mysteries Oliver wants to explore in parts two and three - but I was impressed with Oliver's writing itself, which led me to find her debut novel.

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.
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