Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
RELEASE DATE. March 10, 2010
PUBLISHER. HarperCollins
PAGES. 384
FORMAT. Paperback
AGE GROUP. Young Adult
GENRE/S. Contemporary, Magical Realism
PURCHASE. Amazon | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS. 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: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

THOUGHTS. Sometimes when a book is just too good, you can’t seem to express your thoughts about it, or you can’t always find the right words that you think it deserves. Before I Fall just happened to be that book.

It’s definitely surprising how Oliver enamored me by the clichés and redundancies I find in a contemporary story. I honestly thought that Before I Fall would be as dull and disappointing as what I thought of some books in the contemporary genre. But as I slowly turned the pages, I realized I didn’t want to stop.

Two things that set this story apart were the character of Samantha and her story. I had my fair share of a love and hate relationship with Samantha. She’s not the usual main character that you would immediately like. She’s not the kind of heroine that you would want to follow. She’s mean, mingy and selfish. But as her story pushes towards the end, her character brilliantly meliorates into a mature Samantha. She realizes the things that have more value to her than just boyfriends, gossips, looks, parties, and popularity. She realizes the true meaning of her life and the way it affects others. At the same time, you can’t help but feel sad of what happened to her. Before I knew it, I was rooting and sympathizing for Samantha.

At some point in the story, characters like that of Anna, Ally, Elody, Juliet, Kent, Lindsay, Marian and other minor characters worthy of notice didn’t just only made an impact to Samantha but they surprisingly made an impact to me too. I couldn’t help but care for them, be happy for them, and at times shake them out of their foolishness. Before I Fall is a story of one girl but it encompasses different lives that magnificently reflects that of our own. I salute Oliver for the impeccable talent she has when it comes to crafting lifelike characters. She creates them as if they truly exist. She draws them as if you’d be in danger if you lose them. It was hard to let go of a character--like Samantha--you’re still growing to love.

Ultimately, Samantha’s story wasn’t written to impress or to be praised. It wasn’t just written to entertain or to make you feel broken. It was written to encourage and to impart knowledge. It was written to be one of the catalysts of change we need in this world. It was written for people who can’t stand up of their own or who don’t have a voice of their own. Despite being a work of fiction, Before I Fall powerfully captured the honest and real story of a bully and how her actions can affect her and the people around her.

Lauren Oliver’s first novel is triumphant in delivering a prose more beautiful and at times heart-breaking story. But it’s not just any story; it’s a learning experience worthy of its own pedestal in everyone’s shelf. I hope Oliver (and other authors) write more compelling books of change and encouragement that tackles notable issues surrounding teens. We need more books like these. The world need more books like these.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Lauren Oliver burst onto the scene with her first novel, the New York Times bestseller BEFORE I FALL. This was followed by her stunning DELIRIUM, which ALA Booklist called “another deft blend of realism and fantasy.” A graduate of the University of Chicago and the MFA program at New York University, Lauren lives in Brooklyn, New York.

1 comment:

  1. Love Before I fall, my favorite book :) great review!

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