April 8, 2010

Review: Before I Fall

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 489

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: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Thoughts
I've put off writing this review for awhile just because I didn't know if I could do the book justice.  I've decided to just let the review come from my heart and leave it at that.  This book is amazing and painful, hopeful and sad all rolled into one.  When I started the story I hated Sam and her friends.  And I'm not exaggerating when I say hate.  They are the typical mean girls.  This was hard for me because, being a 7th grade teacher, I see things like this starting.  And being the mother of an 11 year old girl - my heart hurt thinking she might encounter girls like these.  When I got done with chapter one I saw no way that Sam could be anything but what I saw of her in that first chapter.  But then, like the summary said, she gets a second chance.  Throughout this second chance I wanted to shake her.  She just couldn't get it! Everything was so self-centered! But as the story goes on, Sam learns.  Much of what she had going on inside her was able to come out into more of the person she should be. By the end, I didn't hate her anymore - not even a little.

Before I Fall is a difficult book.  As an adult I had a hard time reading it.  I was starting the last chapter at school, and I had to stop because I was crying by the second paragraph into it.  This book hit my at my core.  I'm not a high schooler living in the midst of that like the characters were.  But I see these characters in real life walk the halls of my school.  Lauren Oliver made them extremely real.  Maybe just a little too real at times. I honestly believe that this is a book many girls should read because it might help them take a good hard look at themselves and how they are treating those around them. My fear is - that even after reading it, they wouldn't see themselves in it. I worry the whole point of the story might be lost.  I know it wasn't lost on me, and I walked away from the story changed. 

Final thought: A hard look at how we treat each other and why.
Best stick-with-you image: the whole book
Best for ages: 16+

Word of warning to parents: this is a very mature book in content, language and situations.


  1. I just bought a copy of this myself, after reading so many reviews of it! You're review is wonderful, and emotionally touching! I'll definitely post another comment after I read it! :)

  2. That's really interesting. You had a much more emotive reaction to this than I did. I never hated any of the characters although at times I found their behaviour repulsive. I thought it was beautiful and heartbreakingly sad but it never moved me to tears. Great review. I love seeing how different readers respond to different books.

  3. Awesome review. I really need to try this book.

  4. I really, really want to read this title--Especially after reading this review. Thanks! I'll move it up to the top of my wishlist.

  5. Oh, wow. That sounds fantastic. Lovely review.

  6. I really enjoyed this book, too. I thought Oliver was amazing at describing teen life in a realistic way!

  7. I've heard so many good things about this, but your review seems to be the most personal. I love a book that makes me cry and I'm sure if I read this, there's a good chance that will happen. It's been a few years since I finished high school, but I'm sure I could see much of the same things at my college and I hope this has just as much of an effect on me as it did on you. Thanks for the great review.