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Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

From the back cover:

Samantha Kingston has it all - looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, 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 relives 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.

I'd heard good things about this book and was excited when the ARC came in the mail. Then I started reading and set the book aside for a while. I just couldn't get into it. The story requires a good deal of repetition at the beginning and the characters are tough to connect with at first.

When I picked the book up again and continued from where I left off, I ended up finishing the book in one sitting. I just didn't want to put it down and miss one moment of Sam's growth. Once you get through the first quarter of the book, the pace picks up and likable - and intriguing - characters are introduced. Sam finally begins evolving and doing some seriously cringe-worthy - but hilarious - things. And she's one honestly written character, that's for sure. Did I love her by the end of the story? Not exactly. But I was rooting for her and I loved her maturation.

I particularly loved down to earth and just a little weird Kent, struggling and oppressed Juliet and adorable little sister Izzy. These characters enriched both Sam's life and changes and the story as a whole. They helped bring to the surface the humanity hiding behind Sam's shallow exterior.

Oliver's writing is excellent, though the infrequent abstract passages pulled me out of the story (I ended up skipping those, though on a second read-through I would read more closely) and character development is realistic and heart-warming. Though I began Before I Fall with a rocky beginning, I ended up enjoying the story very much and will be reading it again in order to pick up all the nuances and lovely turns of phrases.

Before I Fall will be on shelves March 2, 2010. You can learn more about Lauren Oliver on her website.
Kristin Halbrook

Kristin Halbrook is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novels Nobody But Us (HarperTeen, 2013) and Every Last Promise (HarperTeen, 2015). She likes many things.

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  1. Very honest and thoughtful review! I love the premise of this book, although the repetitiveness could definitely be an issue. But I'd like to check it out!

  2. Reading all these reviews of BIF makes me want to reread it. And I will!

  3. I've experienced this before. Some books have rocky beginnings before they become amazing. I look forward to reading this.

  4. This has happened with me a couple of times, Medeia. The books are a little harder for me to get into, but then they charge into brilliance. I'll sometimes put a book down after the first 50 or so, but I've very careful about which books to set down. I don't want to miss a powerful tale. :)

  5. Gaaaah I want this now... good review, but thanks a lot for forcing me to find time to read yet another book! ;)


  6. Nice review, Kristin. This definitely sounds interesting!


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Item Reviewed: Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Halbrook