Before I Fall [Book Review]

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 9780061726804
Pages: 472
Year: 2010 (Release date: 3/2/2010)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Review copy from HarperCollins’ First Look program
Rating: 4/5

Plot summary (from publisher):

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. She’s expecting to attend a typical Friday night party with her friends, but instead a terrible accident takes her life.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she relives 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.

Other Books I’ve Read By Author: None, Before I Fall is Oliver’s debut novel

Why I Picked Up This Book: I chose to participate in the First Look reader review program and this was the next book up. I hadn’t heard much about it but I thought it looked interesting.

My thoughts:

In Before I Fall, we are meant to dislike the main character at the beginning of the novel. And I despised the Samantha Kingston of Day One. She and her friends are simply selfish, horrible high school students. They are the mean girls. And they fully believe that their elevated status in the caste system of their high school entitles them to be that way.

But Sam quickly changes after the accident. She wakes up the next morning remembering everything from previous day but forced to relive it. This Groundhog Day/Butterfly Effect-type story is captivating and unlike any of its predecessors.

Sam quickly learns that her actions have consequences (and isn’t that an important lesson for us all). But more than that, she learns that the tiniest change in her behavior can have a major impact on someone else. But can she change things enough?

I really enjoyed this book and I found Oliver to be a very good writer (I may be a little jealous as she is the same age as me and I don’t have a debut novel…). I think she managed to accurately capture today’steenage culture and its problems.

This book is about many things: relationships, taking chances, and making choices, but if this story is about any one thing, it’s about hope. It will have you racing through to the end and leave you feeling – though  a little emotionally drained  – optimistic.

Memorable Passages:

But at the beginning of the night anything’s possible. p. 58

It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It’s never occurred to me before; I’ve never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different. p. 285

…both nights we were so close that if one of us had breathed we would have ended up kissing…. p. 352

Will I Read This Author Again?: Yes

Buy It: Amazon; Powell’s; Book Depository

Other Reviews:

Book Trailer:

17 thoughts on “Before I Fall [Book Review]

  1. Sheila (Bookjourney) February 15, 2010 / 9:47 am

    Good review. I have wondered about this book but for some reason the cover throws me off. No idea why but I just dont like it….

    I know…. its not about the cover. 🙂


    • Michelle February 16, 2010 / 8:41 am

      I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I think we all do it. I do at least.


  2. Bina February 15, 2010 / 12:14 pm

    It doesn´t look like a book I´d normally read, but your review makes it sound so good 🙂 And I didn´t even know they made book trailers!


    • Michelle February 16, 2010 / 8:40 am

      I think book trailers are relatively new. But you can find them on youtube for some newer books – especially YA.


  3. Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict February 15, 2010 / 12:24 pm

    I’ve seen a few posts on this book lately. It looks like a good read. I will have to check this one out eventually. Great review!


  4. Vishy February 15, 2010 / 1:54 pm

    Interesting review! I liked your favourite passage about how things can change easily. It reminded me of a book which I read recently, where the first passage started with the lines : ‘Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.’


    • Michelle February 16, 2010 / 8:37 am

      I think that’s an applicable quote. 🙂


  5. Cori February 17, 2010 / 2:09 pm

    Looks good — Like Groundhog Day but with less Bill Murray. 😉


  6. Dominique February 20, 2010 / 6:26 pm

    I had never heard of this one before. I don’t think it’s one I would pick up on my own accord because I tend to hate the Groundhog Day type stuff when it’s done, it seems cliche to me. But after reading your review I’d be willing to give it a go.


  7. Janina February 6, 2011 / 6:03 pm

    This book ripped me apart and put me back together again. 🙂


  8. Abby Steinke April 24, 2011 / 10:25 pm

    i absolutely loved this book. i stayed up all night on a school night because i couldnt put it down. which is amazing because i hate reading! and we had to pick a book for english class and my librarian recommended it. And now its my new favorite!


    • Michelle April 25, 2011 / 8:20 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it (and hope you don’t hate reading now!). Have you tried her newest book – Delirium? I liked it even better. You may also enjoy Anna and the French Kiss.


      • Schelly January 6, 2012 / 9:42 pm



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s