Review – Before I Fall

Before I Fall

by Lauren Oliver

I have been on a major YA kick lately!  This book is so readable.  I think I housed 150 pages in an hour or two, it didn’t feel like a long time anyway.  This book is a first person account from Samantha who is a part of a group of mean popular girls.  They live by a certain set of rules and are awful to certain people, and not very honest with themselves.  I don’t remember people being this terrible, and so many rules of what is ok and not ok, down to what you can eat in the cafeteria…but I am sure some places are like this.  I also don’t remember people being called horrible nicknames…but I think I repressed a lot of my high school years…

The first part they are just mean and terrible, though she has minor pangs of consciousness.  Like there is a nice girl in there, but she just got so into being popular that is all she can deal with.  But then we get a little groundhog day meets A Christmas Carol twist.  Is there something paranormal happening, well besides the fact she keeps reliving her last day?  Is there anything good that can come of it?  Will she die with her soul intact or can she avoid death altogether?

Fluid writing style.  When I grabbed it I wanted a book that would suck me and in and not spit me back out until the very end, and I found it in this book.  The teen crap got a little old, but she does learn, she does know she is in the wrong, somewhat, while she is being a major jerkwad, which makes it bearable and ultimately enjoyable.  Then she tries to make up for things, to make things better.  To be nice to her little sister and her parents, to the girl they are always bashing on and others.  It is a story of redemption and looking, really looking at our lives and see how everything you do affects other people.  I want to give this book to someone around that age, but my niece and friends daughter are just a year too young…or are they?  The kids in the book are seniors that are drinking, doing drugs (pot), having sex and there are issues of suicide.

Being in high school sucked.  People were uncomfortable with themselves and took it out on everyone else.  Oliver brought me back to the whole horrible thing.  Where are my braces?  After reading it I can’t stop thinking about the girls I lived in fear of, the pretty popular girls who really didn’t notice me slinking around in the background.  The fear of embarrassment, the lonliness and weird things I did and felt.  Ah, good times.  Glad they are firmly in the past!

This was a really good yet horrible book.  It is really well done, the writing flows, you can’t help but read the whole thing in one sitting (if you have the time).  Sam is an interesting character, probably like girls you have met before or knew in high school.  I really enjoyed it, even though it did dredge up some memories.  4.5 stars.

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About ocdreader

I love to read! I always have a book or four going, I have more books in my to-be-read pile than I can read in a year and yet I continue to haunt the bookstores. I have a problem, but I somehow soldier on. I enjoy talking books, so pass on your recommendations and thoughts - I would love to hear them.
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8 Responses to Review – Before I Fall

  1. It sounds really good but I hate mean girl books. I am happy she redeems herself but reading about bullying is hard for me.

    Great review.

    • ocdreader says:

      Thanks! It was really well done and the mean girl stuff is tempered a bit, though I thought there were some tough parts (hence the memories).

  2. I read this book a while ago and I absolutely loved it, although I agree with you that at first I had trouble reading because Sam and her friends are just so awful. Still, there was something about it that kept me turning pages, and even now, over a year later, I still think about it. Very well written. Did you read Lauren Oliver’s “Pandemonium” books?

    • ocdreader says:

      I haven’t read Pandemonium yet – but I have it on my shelf! I will be getting to it soon, especially since I now know and really like her writing style 🙂

  3. Susan Oloier says:

    Hmmm…we’re in the midst of a bullying/teen dating violence tour at Moxie Writers. I may need to pick this one up soon. We may want to feature it.

    • You should, because of the bullying, it pushes a girl to decide to commit suicide. It really makes you think about “we were just having fun” and what your actions do to other people, and how it makes them feel.

  4. beckyday6 says:

    Great review! I’ve seen this book around a lot but I must admit it never really grabbed my attention, probably just because I don’t really like the front cover that much (I like to be able to picture what my protagonist looks like in my head rather than have a face on the front cover). That being said, I have Delirium on my bookshelf, which I think might be by the same author?

    “Being in high school sucked. People were uncomfortable with themselves and took it out on everyone else.”

    Thats a really great way of putting it! If only more of us realized it at the time! 😛

    • ocdreader says:

      I have Delirium on mine too, same author but I haven’t read it yet.
      If Before I Fall comes your way, ignore the face on the cover and give it a whirl 🙂

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