Rummanah Aasi
  Sometimes I wish life came with a manual or better yet a set of instructions of how to go through the small and large bumps in the road that we all face. Would we even pick it up or even read it? All I know is that there are many times in my life where I wish I had a redo option, where I could change my choices and see what would happen. Sadly, hindsight is really 20/20, isn't it? I couldn't help but think of these things while I read Lauren Oliver's debut novel Before I Fall

Description: February 12th is a very important day for Samantha Kingston. It is Cupid Day, a day where the number of roses indicate how popular you are in school. It is the day where Sam plans to lose her virginity to her popular boyfriend. It is the day that Kent McFreaky has a party at his house. It is the day that Sam dies..well kind of. Instead of going to the afterlife, Sam relives the day over and over again. She soon discovers that the only way out of this funk is to re-examine her choices and do what is right even if that means losing everything.

Review: As you can probably tell from the book's description, Before I Fall is a combination of the movies Ground Hog Day and Mean Girls. Although the same elements of each movie are present in the novel, I think Before I Fall is much more provocative and seems to stay with you long after you finish the last page.
  Reading Before I Fall was an unique experience. When I began the book, I was completely appalled by Samantha. She is shallow, obnoxious, mean, and a sheep who blindly follows the queen bee. It was hard for me to feel sorry for her when she dies and returns to live the same day over and over again. Thankfully, Sam does change and so did my opinion of her, when she discovers that her choices alter what happens on the February 12th. It is through her choices and her epiphanies that I see Sam's complexities. While she mocks others 'below' her, she realizes her own insecurities as well as the shortcomings of others around her. It is these 'ah ha' moments that allow her to re-examine how she behaves, talks, and see her relationships for what they really are. Sam's gradual movement from being so self centered to putting others before her is compelling and believable. One of the book's strongest and my favorite moment is where Juliet, a girl who Sam's clan has mercilessly bullied, relays her feelings of what it feels to be mocked to Sam. It is this single moment that Sam realizes how much Juliet has been wronged and can only begin to understand what it means wear Juliet's shoes.
  Despite its slow pace in the beginning and the repetitive plot points, Oliver has written a book where teens can not only relate and connect, but also define and argue as to what constitutes popularity and the harmful effects of bullying. I think this book would be an excellent book club selection.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is a underage drinking party scene that occurs over and over again. There is also a scene where the main character smokes pot. There is some language and suggestions of sex throughout the book. Recommended for grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: You by Charles Benoit, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

8 Days left in my:

3 Responses
  1. Boy..People are driving me crazy now. I've got over 250 books on my TBR list and your not helping make it any smaller! Another one to add to my TBR. Sounds like a good read!

  2. I feel your pain, Hannah. My tbr pile has tripled since I started blogging!

  3. Vee Says:

    I really liked Before I Fall! Oliver's prose was so delicious without being at all self conscious. And I loved the gradual development of Sam's character arc and all those "ah-ha" moments as well (although I actually thought the pace lagged towards the middle, and was totally drawn in at the start).

    Awesome review! :D
    Grew review!

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