Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Before I Fall

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Mar 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, novel, young-adult, goodreads-author, groups-buddies, reviewed, readbooks-female-author-or-illust
Recommended to Lisa by: CLM
Recommended for: mostly for teens, especially teens who are introspective; for discussions about bullying

It took me quite a while to warm up to this book because of characters I didn’t like or identify with. But then, it snuck up on me, and I ended up loving it. Although I haven’t been a teen for ages, and was never very much like any one of the featured characters, although dying teens have been overdone in this genre, I was sucked right into the story, which is a sort of “Groundhog Day” for teens.

I thought I’d had enough of this type of ya book, maybe for forever, but it is the February selection for one of my Goodreads’ groups, it wasn’t renewable at the library, so I thought I’d try it. I’m glad that I did and I’m glad that I didn’t give up on it.

The author writes well and tells the story really well. She gradually lets the reader know the positive and negative attributes of each character, just brilliantly. The story manages to say a lot about the truth of popularity and how things aren’t always as they seem on the surface. Discussing this book would be a wonderful way to talk about the issue of bullying.

This is a teen book for teens; they’re going to find themselves in it, and maybe be inspired by it. It says a lot about what happens to some girls between their childhood and late adolescence.

I loved Sam’s younger sister Izzy, and I like Kent, and Juliet’s younger sister, and even Juliet, and even Sam’s three best friends, and even Sam. I like how the author manages to humanize all the characters, including Sam’s family members.

There is a ton of drinking (and drunk driving) and some sex, etc. so this book is really not ideal for the 9 and 10 year old girls who often read the ya genre. And, until toward the end, I was very bored by these parts, although I suspect I’d have been riveted if I’d read this when I was a teenager.

And, I can’t quite give it 5 stars. I appreciate that death isn’t glamorized, at least not on day 1, but on the last day, I didn’t like exactly what did feel romanticized. Sam’s transformation makes for wonderful reading and I like that the reader is forced to think, both about which day(s) is/are real in the story, and particularly about life, regarding what kind of life one wants to live and what kind of person one wants to be and how to behave so that that goal can be achieved. I also really appreciated that not everything goes according to plan, that consequences of actions are often unexpected. In the end, it’s quite an uplifting book, and a life-affirming book. And once I became absorbed, it was full blast immersion. Another book that made me cry.
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Reading Progress

March 14, 2010 – Shelved
January 3, 2011 –
page 1
0.21% "Will try to start this next. Not really in the mood but it's not renewable. Will read as I read Harry Potter Film Wizardry and soon to read Bellyache & Count Them One by One & Revolution &&&&&"
January 3, 2011 –
page 65
13.83% "Hmm. I hope I can be fair to this book, and I hope that either the main character changes or that I learn to like her more than I do now, not that she doesn't have some positive attributes, but so far I'm not enjoying spending time with her and the other kids."
January 4, 2011 –
page 184
39.15% "I think I'm not in the mood for this type of ya book right now, maybe never again. But I'm sort of enjoying it. I'll be glad though when I can get to the rest of bunch of books for this month."
January 5, 2011 –
page 376
80.0% "Quite a good story. Interested to see how it will end and curious about how I'll feel about it by the end."
January 6, 2011 – Started Reading
January 6, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Annalisa I like that without preaching Oliver manages to teach. She shows what popular girls think they are and then turns it around and shows the other side, what they really are. I think it does give teenage girls a lot to think about what is important in their lives.

Lisa Vegan I agree. I love that readers who will find these characters appealing at the beginning will then see their faults, and that those such as myself, who couldn't stand the characters at the beginning, are likely to grow fond of them.

message 3: by CLM (new) - rated it 5 stars

CLM I had a hard time getting into it, then could simply not put it down. Great comments.

Lisa Vegan CLM wrote: "I had a hard time getting into it, then could simply not put it down. Great comments."

It was a page turner, more & more so for me as the days passed.

Lisa Vegan Abigail wrote: "I love it when a book surprises me, and I enjoy it despite initial expectations that I won't! So... do you think I would enjoy this one...?"

Abigail, I honestly don't know. I'd guess not so much. But, I'm surprised that I did, so I hate to turn you off of it, but I wouldn't have thought to recommend it to you.

This response probably isn't very helpful, but I just don't know.

Lisa Vegan I think that's a good decision! Even if you would have liked it, I suspect you'll like other books more.

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