Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Before I Fall

Author: Lauren Oliver

Published: March 2nd, 2010

Number of Pages: 480

Rating: 3/5


Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a brick through a window… Yogurt?”


(For the record, that quote has nothing to do with the plot. I was just skimming through the book and thought this one was funny.)

This book has done so well in the book blogging universe. I had heard so much about it before picking it up at Borders not long ago. Its synopsis gave me the impression that it wasn’t quite my thing, but when you read an enormous amount of positive reviews, your attention’s piqued.

Samantha King has what most people would consider a perfect life. She’s achieved the highest of social statuses at her high school and lives her days doing whatever she wants.

And then that perfect life is ended abruptly. We follow Sam as she reevaluates her choices and relives her last day seven times. Every time she thinks she’s finally made it out of the odd trap she’s in, she falls asleep and wakes up on Cupid Day once again. It’s time for Samantha King to figure out how she wants to say adieu to the world.

I have to admit that I, personally, did not find that I was as in love with this book as many others were. I found the after-death/Groundhog Day concept interesting, but I didn’t like the main characters all that much, besides Kent. Their morals weren’t fantastic, not simply sex and language wise, but their manners were terrible as well. Half of the time, they simply weren’t nice, and I particularly like people that are kind, don’t you? Sam’s character development was remarkable, but that was what the entire book was about, really. Consequently, that fact didn’t surprise me or stand out to me. She kept reliving her last day until she did right by people. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like anyone else grew at all. I didn’t have respect for the majority.

In the end, I felt that something was missing, that there was more to be asked for. Yet, I also felt like we could have done without one of the repetitive days. The book began to feel like it was dragging on a bit. I loved that Sam turned out better than she began, but I occasionally felt that she didn’t learn much, that her motives for changing her ways were a bit skewed.

There were also certain parts of the book that I skipped. The language didn’t offend me too much, but some of the topics of conversation made me uncomfortable. Some people might not be bother quite as easily as I am, but I figure that I’d appreciate the heads up, so there it is.

Lauren Oliver seems like a very capable writer. I enjoyed reading. The actual act of reading. I’m looking forward to her future novels. She’s clearly not afraid to tackle difficult topics, such as life after death, in the case of Before I Fall. I think her portrayal is intriguing and it’s quite entertaining.

I also found that there were lines that I ran into that made me pause. They were quite philosophical, and these were nicely hidden little treats. One such line was:

Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it.

But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

This book gave me much to think about, and reminded me how much I have to be grateful for. I might not be the most popular person at my school, but I know who I am. I don’t have to go through any momentous experience to figure out what I want to make of myself, and I’m darned sure that I’m incredibly happy with the person I am now. I hope that everyone figures out precisely who they are and can grasp strongly onto that. I think that far too often we’re distracted by what we believe we ought to be, and completely miss the point of having a personality: to be original. Heck, go out there and be so different that people wonder at you, wonder at your fearlessness to be yourself.

Speaking of being yourself, take a few tips from Amber Appleton… click.

4 Commentsto “Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver; Review”

  1. I received this yesterday; I'm keeping my hopes in the middle because I've read several reviews that said they thought everyone was so mean, and, like you, I like nice characters. It's harder to empathize with mean people. Great review and thanks for the morality heads-up! It's always good to be prepared. 🙂

  2. i didnt enjoy the language and the "main event" they were all waiting for. im only a 7th grader and it was a little weird reading it at school with all my friends/teachers peering over my shoulders while i was reading every cus word and unappropriate concept imaginable. but ya know, not everything is rated G (or even PG!!!) these days.

  3. i'm reading this book right now and so far i really like it. i keep thinking about it and i want to go start reading it again. the book is crafted and written so well, i'm still in shock because i hadn't expected that. i can also agree with some of the other comments because i dont like reading a book about a mean self-centered popular teenager. i'm in high school now so i know how hurtful the "populars" can be. needless to say im not one of them but i think that is where my interest for this book comes from. i don't know how the mean popular kids think and reading this gives me an insight on what goes through their minds, and how they think; for me it's very interesting to read this book.

  4. Hey, im doing this book for my book report , and i totally forgot it at school.
    its due on the third and theres no way im gunna get the book
    so im wondering if anyone knows of any good quotes from the book, that might of stood out for them?
    im thinking they need to relate more or less towards perception and how you see things differently when your experiences change,
    and if you read the book, youd kinda know what i mean.

    but i think itd be really cool if someone could email me or respond with a good quote, the page number, and possible paragraph number.
    please and thanks guys 🙂

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