Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

I’ve seen this compared to a mash up of Mean Girls meets Groundhog’s Day and in a very one dimensional way that is completely correct, but this story is so much more.


Sam has everything that every girl in High School wants, hot boyfriend, popularity, cool click of girls to hang out with.  But she is shallow, oblivious to her family, mean to other people at school self-absorbed and for most intent and purposes a horrible person overall.  When we first meet Sam the only things she cares about are her clothes, finally losing her virginity and how many flowers she will get for Cupid’s Day.  She is not very likable actually I down right hated her in the beginning.  She wasn’t the instigator in the group but she followed along and was just as mean as the other girls.  All together they fed off each other and were completely horrible.


After an evening at a party there is an accident resulting in the death of a girl and Sam wakes up to relive the same exact day over.  In each day she sees something different and does something different.  It gets worse, not the book but Sam in general, before it gets better.  As there are no consequences she goes to a few extremes.  She doesn’t start to turn her attitudes around until about half way through the book.


“I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about people-to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it's the effect or vice versa”


Even though it was the same day over and over again I really liked how Lauren Oliver portrayed the choices made and how they affected Sam.   I never got tired of the introspection that Sam does while hanging out with her friends.  By the end I think she truly saw them for who they were and I was surprised by how she decided to love them in spite of and because of their flaws.


“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”


I really really really wanted this to end differently.  Sam comes around and I like the person she is becoming.  I adore Kent, the quirky boy Sam has known forever.  Kent is what every High Schooler should be.  He is kind, attentive and knows exactly who he is.  He makes no apology for what he likes and who he is, he doesn’t need approval from anyone and I loved that about him.  I cried at the end of this book.  I flat out bawled, not necessarily for Sam but for Kent and Sam’s parents and her little sister.  I bawled for the woman Sam could have been and for Juliette.  But the ending was probably everything it should be and needed to be.  I’m not sure the book would have stuck with me for so long had it gone a different way.