ashelynnhetland, September 8, 2011 (view all comments by ashelynnhetland)
Wow. What a brilliant debut! I love Lauren Oliver, and this is my second book I've read from her (haha, as it should be, since she only has two published/out in the world books. I do have an ARC of Liesl & Po, and I'm very excited to dive into it!)
All I knew about Before I Fall is 1) a lot of people liked it 2) A lot of people hated Sam and her group since they were bitches and 3) she has to relive the same day for seven days in a row.
I freaking love this book, and Sam. I didn't find her mean or overall horrible in the beginning (some of the things Sam and her friends did make me sad). And I loved how Sam grew as a character over the story.
Each day is different, which I love, because if it had been the same day over and over again, that would have been very boring to read. But it wasn't, and oh my god, it was addictive. I kept reading and reading and reading until there was nothing else to read.
And what an ending. I'm not entirely sure I like it, but maybe it'll grow on me. What I really loved about this book was the friendship relationship between Sam and her friends. Lately YA is filled with sexual relationships that a friendship relationship book is amazing and I devour it (think LIKE MANDARIN by Kirsten Hubbard.) These books are amazing, and I loved how Oliver managed to grasp the friendship with this group of teens. Really, really loved that friendship dynamic. More of this, please?
Josephine1800, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Josephine1800)
Although technically in the YA section this novel is one of those rare books that spans the age barrier. "Before I Fall" deals with identity and a girls struggle to find herself. Oliver's beautiful prose portrays this struggle in a manner that every reader will relate to.
I hardly ever find young-adult books whose main character is a maddeningly popular girl the girl with the hot jock boyfriend and the fiercely close but catty top-tier friends and yet, here one is. Before I Fall is a fantastically authentic read (verging on character study, in the way Sam and her posse grow throughout) all bundled tightly in a warm cocoon of page-turning loveliness. This YA novel is going to go places. Mark my words.
by Jill S.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Beautiful, popular Samantha and her three best friends are the ruthless queen bees of their high school. But Samantha is living a nightmare: throughout the book, she relives the day of her death seven times, with some dramatic alterations and revelations depending on her choices — ditching school to spend time with her younger sister or, on a day when life's rules have all but lost their meaning, seducing a teacher. She faces the often tragic consequences of even the smallest acts, awakens to the casual cruelties all around her, and tries to get things right and maybe even redeem herself. If this sounds too much like a Groundhog Day — style plot, make no mistake: evocative of Jenny Downham's Before I Die, Oliver's debut novel is raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful ('It amazes me how easy it is for things to change,' Samantha thinks. 'how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new'). Samantha's best friends are funny, likable, and maddening, but readers will love Samantha best as she hurtles toward an end as brave as it is heartbreaking. Ages 14 — up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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