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Review: Before I Fall (Oliver)

AUTHOR: Lauren Oliver
ISBN: 9780061726804
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PAGES: 440
SOURCE: My library
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
OVERALL RATING: Highly recommended
RECOMMENDED FOR: High school girls

SUMMARY: After she dies in a car accident, Samantha repeatedly relives and attempts to change her final day. In the process, Sam learns much about herself, her life, her death, and the effect her choices make on others.

WHAT I LIKED: I finished this one last night after reading pretty much all day. WOW. I’m still thinking about it. It reminds me of the movies The Butterfly Effect and Groundhog Day.

I love how Samantha changed over time to become a stronger, better person while reliving the same day several times. I love how, even though the other characters do not change, the way Samantha sees them does change. The color imagery and vivid descriptions are dramatic and plentiful; I could almost smell the fresh-cut grass and feel the stinging pellets of icy rain. The ultimate message of living each day like it is your last is poignant and resonates long after the end. I kept wondering if Samantha would ultimately die at the end, or if she would wake up from a coma, or if she could prevent the accident from happening at all. Just beautiful.I was absolutely riveted right up to the last page.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Um, nothing. I absolutely loved it.


  • LANGUAGE–moderate; lots of s-words and slang references to body parts
  • SEXUALITY–medium-high; no one ever actually has sex during the book, but there is lots of talk about it and innuendo; one rather intense teacher-student kissing scene; some “girls’ locker room” talk of menstrual cycles
  • VIOLENCE–a suicide, repeatedly played-out; mean-girls school bullying
  • DRUGS/ ALCOHOL–moderate-high; several parties feature teen drinking and teen marijuana use

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Because of sexual content, I have this one shelved on the “high school shelf” (any student can still access it though).

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