A book review of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – mild spoilers
Note to self:
Don’t read a book about a girl who dies on February 12 and then wakes up to relive the last day of her life over and over again for a week… when it is actually February 12…
If you do, you might be afraid to drive anywhere at all because you don’t want to well, die, wake up, and then die repeatedly. Also, it’s probably not a good idea to tell your mildly superstitious sister about the coincidence of reading about repeated death on February 12th when it actually is February 12th…
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver was a surprising read for me. I experienced a lot of different emotions throughout.
First, I was annoyed. I had already read the first two books in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series, which I adored. And then here I was reading about the most annoying high school girl I could imagine. “What on earth am I reading and WHY?” I kept thinking. I almost stopped.
I’m glad I didn’t.
Samantha's first time repeating Feb 12 was when I got sucked in. And couldn’t. Put. The. Book. Down. Luckily, I was sick at the time (with the flu, remember?) and could read much more than I would have been able to otherwise.
What would you do if you’re driving home from a party and the car, with your 3 best friends in it, crashes and you know you’re about to die…
And then you wake up, shaking, sweating, crying, to the same day you just lived. No one knows anything is off. Only you know you’ve lived this day before. The conversations you have are the same, people look at you the same way they did yesterday – it’s all identical.
Except, you realize, you can change it. And you learn the rules of what’s happening. And those rules are scary, but you have to play by them anyway.
You have 6 days to solve the mystery of your death – why did it happen? What could you have done differently? Who are you supposed to help? How are you supposed to be different?
Sam's character development throughout the novel was huge. Seeing her go through that day over and over, knowing something horrible was going to happen and not being able to stop it was powerful. Some days she made incredibly stupid decisions. But the last few days, she really grew as a person and as a character. Seeing her slowly figure out what was going on, mostly by trial and error, endeared her to me as the reader, even though there were times I was furious at her for the decisions she made.
The ending was different than I was hoping, but was true to the story. I felt like I had some unanswered questions at the end, (HOW did this phenomenon of repeating days even happen?!?!) but they weren't so strong that I was frustrated once it was over.
It’s really a fascinating read, inducing much more thought and emotion than I ever would have guessed.
You know, once you get past day 1 where you want to throw the book across the room because the girl and her friends are so annoying. But get past that day, and you’re golden.
3.5 – really enjoyed it, but not more than other books.
Highly recommend for readers who like YA real-life with a twist type books.
I think 4 – there are definitely some tear-jerker spots
Details for more cautious readers:
Alcohol and cigarette use throughout, all by teenagers.
Multiple heavy make-out/almost-have-sex scenes – the day that is relived is the day the main character had previously decided to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, which is highly encouraged by her friends.
Mild swearing - it was there but not enough to stick out for me.