Before I Fall
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Decent
I read Before I Fall because I happened to see it at a bookstore and almost glossed over it before seeing the name Lauren Oliver and thinking "Hey, she wrote Delirium, so I might as well give this book a go." I don't have a copy of the book in my dorm so I can't pull quotes to show you what I mean, but you can always read it and see for yourself.
Overall, this wasn't really the greatest book ever but it's definitely worth a read and it makes me happy to see that Lauren Oliver has grown so much as a writer when comparing this -- her first novel -- to her more recent work.
I didn't like the main character, Samantha Kingston, at first, but she grew on me after a while. Her character also went through a HUGE change as a person, which is probably why I like her at the end a lot more than I do at the beginning. You see, Sam Kingston keeps dying. She keeps reliving the same day over and over, and every time, she dies at the end of that day in a car crash coming back from a party. And she's the only one who keeps remembering what happened "last night." And every day she does something different to try and fix whatever is happening that's making her relive this day. So this novel progresses by describing the different ways Sam is going through that day and how she's trying to understand what she did to make this happen and how she needs to "redeem" herself to make this happen. At the beginning of this book, Sam is Cady Heron when she is a full on mean girl, and her best friend Lindsay (who I hated) is Regina George. By the end, however, Sam is a much nicer person and understands how she needs to change her ways in order to achieve piece. One of the characters I liked was Juliet. She annoyed me a bit at one point that I cannot say for major spoilery reasons, but overall I was intrigued by her and thought she was an interesting character.
As for the plot, I thought it was a pretty interesting story. It wasn't the most original storyline, but Lauren Oliver pulled it off really well the way she did it, and I liked the resolution of the conflict. I thought it was really fitting and I'm glad she wrote it the way she did. I don't want to give away too much but I feel like it ended the way it needed to. I also liked seeing exactly how Sam progressed in her way of thinking as the day of her death kept repeating itself over and over again. Reading the story, I learned that she's a lot smarter than she outwardly appears.
The writing style of this book was pretty similar to the way she wrote Delirium (which, on a side note, you should TOTALLY read if you haven't already.) It was very straightforward and to the point. She didn't use overly florid language or go too descriptive. For this book, I thought it worked because she was speaking from the perspective of a teenage girl and a vapid, shallow one at that. It would have seemed out of place for her to speak with flowery diction and tear-jerking language. After reading her newest book, I know that Lauren Oliver definitely has some awesome writing skills that have made me stare in awe, but they just weren't as developed in this novel.
My final verdict? This book was okay, and it wasn't boring or unreadable, but her other works are DEFINITELY better and I probably wouldn't reread it for the hell of it or anything. As a first novel, it was a good start and a solid foundation for growth.
So basically, this book is wonderful, and you should read it, and it will definitely be worth your time, and it's a pretty short read, and you will not be disappointed.
Is there a day in your life you would relive if you could?
Let us know in the comments!