Before I Fall

Sunday, April 4, 2010

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?

Synopsis: Samantha Kingston is living the life. She is one of the most popular girls at her high school, has the hottest boyfriend, and the most amazing group of best friends. February 12 was supposed to be just another day. Instead, it became her last. She died the night of.
But then she wakes up the next day. She checks what date is, and there's no mistake; It is February 12. Again. At first she thought it was all a dream. But soon she realizes, she is given a second chance to relive her final day. In fact, she is given seven days to discover the truth behind her mysterious death -- and realize the true value of her life and everything in it.

Review: It is not often that books take the route of having a 'mean girl' as the protagonist, instead of the typical outsider from the outside looking in. For this YA debut novel from Lauren Oliver, I thought it worked perfectly.
Before I Fall is indeed a story about a girl who dies and gets a second chance. However, it truly is so much more than that.
Yes, the plot was original and the characters were real. The pace is fast and the flow of words are effortless, making this 500 page novel seem like 50 instead. Truth be told though, this book is not just about those anymore. For me, the main purpose of this book are the messages that it sends to its readers. They are simple really, but often times, the simplest things are the ones that are most important -- and ignored.
Before I Fall also proves that even the smallest of things -- good or bad -- can change everything and make the most difference. It can either be a small change in our everyday lifestyle or a simple act of kindness towards others.

The main character, Samantha Kingston, speaks for everyone of us, which I think makes her the perfect protagonist. She is perfectly flawed. After all, she is a mean girl. Snobbish, snotty, "bitchy," selfish, arrogant. What's there to like? But as we read on and get to know her more, we realize the harsh truth; sometimes, we act like her too. We can be mean, selfish, and arrogant, sometimes even without knowing it.
The best thing I got from this book though, is realizing that there is still time to change for the better, unlike Samantha, who simply ran out of it. What can we do? We can start with the simple things. Do or say something nice to someone today; a genuine compliment, a real apology -- anything. We have no idea how this might change someone's way of thinking, and how these little acts of kindness can truly heal.

This is why I give this book 5 stars. Like I said, the writing, pace, plot development, and character development are all perfect. But I think aside from those, the main reason why this novel is getting so much praise is because it has done something unique and special -- becomes more than just pages of writing. Before I Fall teaches us real life lessons, makes us ponder on what truly matters in life, and has the ability to possibly change something in us for the better. How could I not give it 5 stars??
I will not talk about the ending or anything specific that happens in the book, as I feel as if any information I say might spoil it, but I will say, this is one of those books I highly recommend.; original, haunting, inspiring, and thought-provoking. Hopefully, you'll not only be entertained by reading it, but find it meaningful long after you finish it -- because that's exactly what happened to me.


  1. This was an awesome review, for an awesome book. The messages in the book were indeed powerful!

  2. Wow, this is a great review Jillian! I read this book a while ago and I agree with everything you said.