Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult
Before I Fall is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to get my hands on for quite some time. I’ve heard nothing but absolute rave reviews and was dying to see if it lived up to all the hype. While I don’t think it necessarily deserved as much hype as it did, I still thought it was a pretty great book, somewhat in the style of A Christmas Carol with a “bad” person looking back on the past and reflecting in hopes of change. So the idea wasn’t entirely original, but a cool concept nonetheless.
So, Sam Kingston is one of those “it” girls at her high school: popular friends, big parties, hot boyfriend. She seems to have it all, and she knows it. She takes all of her life’s little luxuries for granted, and is a typical mean girl a la “Mean Girls,” the movie. Then one night, after leaving a party, things go very, very wrong and Sam dies in a horrific accident. But she wakes up shortly thereafter, and it’s February 12th all over again. She’s gotten another chance, it seems, and she gets six more chances, in fact. She relives that day seven times, doing things a little differently each time, trying to change the past, trying to save her life and the life of someone else, all while trying to become a better person.
As you can imagine, this was all very intriguing. I was rooting for Sam to do this differently, or that. Her progress was slow, until finally, on the last day, she seemed to finally get it all right. I was frustrated on the days prior when she still made silly mistakes.
I think people were so charmed by this book because we all like to see the bad person turn good; we love to see people change for the better, and fix their mean ways. However, I just couldn’t see why Sam was so mean in the first place. She and her friends were harsh, so I just wasn’t too touched by her changing her tune suddenly. I’ve never understood people who choose to be mean. Their needless victims just hurt my heart, such as Julia in this book. This didn’t affect my feelings towards the book though. I don’t get people who say they hated a book because they hated the character(s). Obviously, the author made them disagreeable in the first place for a reason. Sometimes it adds to the story.
Anyways, I enjoyed the book not because of Sam’s sudden change of heart; I enjoyed it because it was well written with very three-dimensional characters and an interesting concept. It got a bit repetitive at times because of the whole, “living the day over again” thing, but not repetitive enough to be boring or annoying. Sam’s day went differently each time, with just some of the details remaining the same on all of the days.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, to readers of YA. Did I think it was epic? No, not really, but I did enjoy it.
I know this isn’t much of a review, just my two cents on a very heavily reviewed book. 🙂
My Rating: 4/5