Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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.

I have heard so many great things about this book, so I was really excited to read it.  I did have some problems with the book, but overall I really enjoyed it.  One thing it is probably important to note is that I read Before I Fall two days after reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman, which led to inevitable comparisons between the two books, simply due to the similar content.  While If I Stay was my favorite of the two, Before I Fall was still a very good read.

I have heard from so many people how sad this book is, so I sat down with a full box of tissues, ready to cry like I did reading If I Stay.  However, I shed not one tear.  I think knowing what was going to happen at the end kept me from getting so emotional.  Or maybe it was just me toughening up after the sob-fest that was If I Stay.  

My favorite thing about this book was the writing style.  I really like the way Oliver writes and describes emotions.  It is very descriptive and almost lyrical.  The closet thing I can describe it to is Maggie Stiefvater's writing style.

I did not like Samantha for most of the book.  I found her to be self-centered, heartless , and mean. She is one of the popular kids---one of the girls I used to simultaneously hate and wish I was one of them.  Samantha and her three best friends are mean to other kids, especially one girl in particular, Juliet Sykes.  Juliet, along with Kent, was my favorite character in the book.  I rooted for her the whole time and I was really happy with the way Oliver ended Juliet's story.  I think it's the mark of a good author to make you care about a character you really don't like.  By the end of the book, I found myself respecting Samantha and caring about her---something that surprised me.

My other main gripe is that the book does feel repetitive.  The  Groundhog Day effect lends itself to a repetitive story.  Before I Fall is pretty long and some parts really seemed to drag.  By day four of Samantha's story, I was really into it, but the first three days were harder for me to get through. 

Overall, I would recommend this book.  It was well-done, and I'm looking forward to Lauren Oliver's next book, Delirium, out February 2011. 

Just One Gripe: 
It would have to be the repetitiveness and slow parts of the book.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The writing style.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
There are references to sex and quite a bit of teenage drinking.

Characters: 4/5
Plot:  3/5
Setting/Imagery:  3/5
Originality: 3/5
Ending:  4/5
Total Score:  17/25


  1. I've been looking forward to reading this one - can't believe I haven't gotten around to it yet! I've heard that a lot of people don't really like Samantha. I wonder what I will think! Great review! :)

  2. Loved this book, and think Oliver is an excellent writer. cant wait for Delrium!!

  3. I really enjoyed this book. I can't wait to read If I Stay and I certainly cannot wait for Delirium!!!

  4. I have this book sitting in my tbr pile at the moment. Like you I kept hearing great things and I can't wait to sit down and read it. I'll have a review up shortly...I hope. :p

  5. Loved loved this book! So will definitely have to check out If I Stay!

  6. Great review Kelli, I've had this one on my wishlist for a while now & am looking forward to reading it :o)

  7. I know exactly what you mean about the Groundhog Day Effect and totallly agreee. If an author can get me to feel something for a character I dislike, that's a gift.

  8. Completely agree, I did not like Samantha for a good majority of the book. It was hard for me to get through at first because of this. But I'm glad that I read it, and I like how it did end and the changes in Samantha. An assessment of the book by a colleague was "Groundhog's Day meets Mean Girls."

  9. I think I'll stay away from the tear jerker for now but I'm curious to look into If I Stay more.

    Both titles are new to me but I have seen them on many blogs lately.

    Thanks for the heads up on this one.

  10. I hate sad books :( I liked your review though, maybe I should think about giving this novel a chance :)

  11. Thank you so much, I love sad books! I've been wondering which one I should read first between If I Stay and Before I Fall, and I may read If I Stay first because it's such a tearjerker. I really like the structure of your reviews, by the way.

  12. Sounds like something I would enjoy. I'll add it to my ever-growing list.


Word verification stinks--- but spammers are worse. Thank you for your patience!