Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review of Before I Fall and Giveaway

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Pages: 470
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: March 2, 2010
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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? Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined."

Lauren Oliver's debut novel weaves a compelling tale about a popular girl growing up in an affluent area.  It reads in first person, which I found to be extremely entertaining and effective.  Oliver often questions her readers and for me, the questions she posed were thought provoking. I found myself pondering my own life and thinking about the novel's strong message.  I can't remember a time that a novel made me think as much as this one did and still does!  With that said, Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is literary brilliance.

Samantha Kingston, the protagonist, is actually someone I couldn't stand. She's that girl you grew up with that thinks she is too cool and everyone else is beneath her.  Her group of mean girls, also known as her best friends, were insufferable. Seriously, I hated them.  However, as Samantha evolves and changes, it makes the novel's theme that much more profound.  As Goodread's summary stated, Sam died and has to relive February 12th over and over again, which by the way, reminded me of the movie Groundhog Day.  It was very interesting to watch each day unfold and observe the fact that Sam's small changes in her day dramatically influenced not only her life, but the lives of people around her.

Oliver's writing is superb. She uses tons of imagery; in fact, many parts of the novel I felt were beautiful and quotable.  Her writing is truly vivid and my review can't possibly do it justice.  One of my favorite descriptions is Oliver's idea of greatest know..... the moments that are memorable and make life worth living?  I thought that was such a cool concept, but at the same time, it broke my heart as Sam thought about her own greatest hits.

Now, I HAVE to talk about the message of the story. This book is powerful.  The novel deals with underage drinking and car accidents, which unfortunately most adolescents can connect with.  I don't think I know anyone who hasn't heard of someone or knows someone that has been killed by a drunk driver or involved in a drunk driving accident.  This book makes you think about that and so much more; I wish all teenagers could read this.  

Additionally, this novel touches on many topics, such as relationships with family, friends, and people in school that you might overlook or that are bullied.  The book suggests that everyone has their own burdens and problems; we don't know what a person has gone through or could be going through.  It also demonstrates that our actions have profound effects which can be positive or negative and can influence others' lives.  As a teacher, this message hit home for me. The end of the novel had me blubbering like a baby. It threw me for a loop.  All I have to say is.....WOW!

One thing to keep in mind is that Before I Fall really isn't appropriate for most middle school students. I felt that the target audience would be much older; after all, Sam is a senior and it is only natural that she would deal with edgier issues, such as underage drinking, suicide, death, sex, etc.   However, fans of Forman's If I Stay will love this book.  Personally, I preferred If I Stay just a little bit more than Before I Fall mostly because I could connect with the main character, Mia, more than Sam.

Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is a wonderful read that reminds us to never take the simple things and moments in life for granted.  In a world that is so fast paced, it is a nice to be reminded of what truly is important and that is what this novel so eloquently does.  

I somehow have an extra (brand new) hardback copy of this book. Not 100% sure how that my loss is your gain! This giveaway is for US only and for followers only. Consider it a thank you to all of my followers. It's been great getting to know everyone in the book blogosphere.  This giveaway closes on April 16th at midnight.  If you want to enter the giveaway, please click the link below:

Buy It Here:

AMAZING Book Trailer:


  1. Loved your review, Christina! This book sounds like a very emotional read I think.

  2. Aw, I loved your review! The book has been sent to me, but it might take a long time to arrive... And I wish I enjoy and like it as much as you did! Although I will have my copy (which I think it's an ARC), I'd like to enter the giveaway, but I'm miles away from the US. :)

  3. I've been wanting to read this book for so long-so thank you so much for giving a copy away.

  4. Excellent review! I read this one, also. :)

  5. Thanks, guys! I hope everyone has a great week.
    Raila- Once you get this book and read it, I am definitely interested to hear what you think about it! :)

  6. Ooh I really want o read this one, sounds so good!!

  7. Great review. Like everyone else I really want to read this one, and you review only make that desire stronger. Thanks.

  8. Thanks, BookMonster, Tribute and Jan. I appreciate your comments. Thanks for visiting!

  9. This book is awesome! But you have to be ready to feel when reading this book. Also be careful of spoilers one word might wreck your reading experience.



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