Quickie Review: Before I Fall

In honor of yesterday’s release of Lauren Oliver’s second book, Delirium, the first in a new series by the author, I wanted to spotlight her first novel, which is very different but just as beautifully written.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver was released in the U.S. on March 2, 2010. It is currently available in hardcover, audio and eBook formats online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 480 pages.

Goodreads description:

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—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-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 had ever imagined.

Before I Fall is one of the most well-written, well-developed and heartbreaking novels I’ve read. While its description left me thinking it was a comical “Groundhog Day,” I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The story carries the reader along as they follow the journey of the main character, Samantha Kingston, while she repeats her last day on earth, again and again, and learns more about herself, her friends and the people she cares about.

The conclusion is surprising yet inevitable. And it is definitely deserving of high marks.

Though dubbed by some as a “mean girls” meets “Groundhog Day” story, at its core it really is so much more. This story has an underlying seriousness to it that many of these “mean girl” stories don’t and it also doesn’t have the lightness and humor of “Groundhog Day.”

As the story progresses Samantha went from someone unlikable to someone I was rooting for. But as the knowledge that there might not be a happily ever after began to sink in it made each moment in Samantha’s life that much more heartbreaking.

Somewhere midway through the story I got that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach that always results when I read a story where I think things might not go as I’d hoped for a favorite character.

This story is beautiful, dark and haunting and like with Delirium it left me completely out of sorts for a day.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

You can easily see from reading Before I Fall just how talented a writer that Lauren Oliver is.

If you haven’t yet read Delirium I would suggest reading this book first so you can draw some of the parallels between the two stories – not for plot but for style of writing and to compare the feeling that you get from each book.

As I’ve done with Delirium here is a peek at just one of the beautiful passages from Before I Fall:

…and in that moment I realize how much I love the little everyday routines of my life…

The details that are my life’s special pattern, like how in handwoven rugs what really makes them unique are the tiny flaws in the stitching, little gaps and jumps and stutters that can never be reproduced.

So many things become beautiful when you really look.


Note: This is not a “just discovered” review as I did not re-read this book (yet) and is more of an opinion than a review, but I wanted to make sure new fans of the author did not miss this book as it’s very different but just as good as her dystopian novel, Delirium.

And if there are those who aren’t a fan of dystopian novels but love a story that will make you think, then Before I Fall is definitely worth the read.

To read the prologue from the author’s website, click here.

Book trailer for Before I Fall:

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