Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

May 13, 2013 Review 0 ★★★★

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren OliverBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Series: Standalone
Published by HarperCollins on 2010 October 25
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 470
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Plot

I first saw Before I fall in one of our local bookstores while I was looking for the 3rd or 4thbook of the Vampire Academy Series. Of course, being a fantasy book lover, I am not really hooked into books with covers that depict real life. So I snubbed the book and went on to look for the reason why I’m in the bookstore in the first place. However, days later, after I ran out of books to read, I remembered Before I fall. I don’t know what has gotten into me but I immediately hit my Goodreads account and read some reviews about the book. By golly, I was impressed with the reviews and so I rushed into the bookstore to buy the book.

What I can only say is that the book was worth what I spend. Although it does not belong to my preferred genres, it was surprisingly a good read for me. It was fresh and simply captivating. Though the heroine is your typical bratinella at high school and the scenes were like from the Mean Girls Movie, it was very much different because of how the heroine struggled to correct her mistakes after her death.

It was so sad because the book revolved on the concept that it’s too late but it’s never too late. Yes. Although Sam found her peace at the 7th day of her death but for me it was still life wasted because things could have been different if she realized her mistakes earlier. She could have a longer and a more peaceful life while spending it with her own true love.

And I really like how Lauren wrote the book without making it boring. Can you imagine reading nine chapters of a book and its contents are more or less the same? That would be pretty boring but with Before I Fall, it was never like that. After her death, Sam relived the last day of her life for seven days. Every day, she had different realizations. Every day was like a trial and error for her until on the 7th day, she finally found the answer to gain her soul’s peace.

Characters

What I like about the characters of Before I Fall is that it greatly reminds me of my must-watch movies when I want to relax and just feel good: Mean Girls, Gossip Girl, American Pie, Bring it on. Not only that, Sam and her band of friends really epitomize the typical high school senior brats and you just want to smack them on their face.

And well, I like and hate Sam at the same time. I hate how pretentious she is. I hate how she chose not to do things when she knows deep in her heart that it’s the right thing to do. I hate how she lives up to other’s expectations and not because she likes it, she wants it. I hate how she chose to forget the things that truly made her happy. I hate how she disrespected her mother and how she placed her family second only to her friends, generally.

What I like about is that Sam, no matter how late it is, is that she was able to redeem herself in the end. I guess Lauren Oliver was impressive when she created Samantha Kingston. A bitch with a lot of subtleties. And for that, I salute you, Ms Oliver.

The other characters that I like in the book is Sam’s younger sister, Izzy, whom I think Sam and the IRL bitches could learn from a lot . And of course, there’s Kent McFuller, who stood by Sam even if it was a very difficult path.

Interactions and Dialogues

Having read three books by Lauren Oliver, there’s only one thing I can say about her. She’s a natural born poet. I love how she narrates the story and I love how her words are so rich when Sam is very reflective about herself and about what’s happening in the surrounding.

The interactions of characters especially between Sam and Izzy or Sam and Kent remind me of those good old days. It was kind of bittersweet even. So I kinda like it because every time I read a scene of Sam with any of those two characters, it brings a smile to my face.

Between Sam and her friends, it’s not that much because I don’t know, they’re bitches but with the way they talk, I’m not really convinced. They actually lack the teeth to be REAL bitches. So I guess that’s a minus for Lauren.

Overall impression

Because the book made me cry and I’ve added a significant amount pile of facial tissue on our waste bin, I give this book a score of 4 out of 5. It’s a great book especially for teenagers who are caught in between worlds, who are currently suffering from the usual pressures of high school, and for those who want to establish their own identity the right way.

I am not a teenager anymore and I can say that I’ve already fought my high school battles and won them gracefully. But I still can’t help appreciating the book for the values it conveys to the readers. That life is so short… spend it wisely and spend it without regrets. Unlike Before I Fall, once we breathe our last, we wouldn’t have 7 days to realize our mistakes and redeem ourselves from ourselves and from the people we intentionally or accidentally hurt along the way. IMO, as with Sam Kingston, death is only beautiful if you lived your life with goodness.

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