Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Book Review

This is a hard review for me to sit down and write, because I have so many conflicting feelings about this book. Honestly, it was one of the more frustrating books I have ever read, but I didn’t want to put the book down. I was definitely intrigued, and mainly wanted to see how Oliver would wrap up the whole ending, which is completely bittersweet by the way. So overall, I liked this book. It wasn’t the best or anything and definitely had flaws, but nevertheless still a good read. Now that I got that out of the way, let’s delve into the specifics.

The characters in this book were the big thing for me. This book is told from the perspective of the “mean girls” of the school, and I absolutely hated them. They would say something and I was rolling my eyes, because I just couldn’t handle their attitudes. From the pov we are reading from, it is actually a bit sad, because they do these mean things and there are times when they don’t even know they are doing it. Even so, you learn that this book is about redemption, so you are clinging to the book, hoping that they will change their ways or at least attitude. Samantha was just a great character for me, because you don’t want to like her at first, but as you go on this journey with her, you see some subtle changes.

Another unique part of this story is it’s plot. It is a groundhog day sort of deal, but the middle of the book really begins to drag for a few pages. The same thing is happening over and over, and Sam at this point still hasn’t changed. However, her last few days solve this issue because they are very good and some are quite touching. In fact, my favorite scene of this entire book is the day she spends with her family and going out with her sister. It was seriously one of the cutest sibling scenes I have ever read! It also the real turning point for Sam, because she is starting to accept death in a way, and is trying to right her wrongs.

So yeah, the characters and overall story, while they may not be fantastic, were still pretty good. Here’s my main issue: all of these”redemptive” actions Sam takes really mean nothing. Because of the way the story is set up, after the final moment, all of her friends and family won’t remember what she went through the past 7 days except the last one. She kisses a guy that has loved her for years when she knows she will be gone in a few hours. We also never see what happens after the car accident, which I think would have been a great way to show how the people around Sam felt after she died.

As I said, this is a difficult book to review. I haven’t felt this conflicted over a book in a long time (I have no idea how I am going to rate this book!) If it sounds like a book you may enjoy, read it. I can’t really say whether you will love it or hate it, because after reading other reviews, they are very mixed.

 

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One thought on “Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

  1. Eve Messenger says:

    I totally get what you mean about having the story told from the POV of the mean girls (the head girl–ugh), and I’m a little troubled by the ending, too. But–maybe it’s because I’m such a huge fan of time slip and redemption stories–I love this book so much. I just love the magical way it’s told and all the details, and for me the repeats weren’t boring because Lauren Oliver left out or added different details each time so it didn’t feel repetitive, just intriguing. So many interesting characters, too.

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