Saturday, November 28, 2020
For men, women, and teens


Book review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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“Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver. First published 2010 by Harper

Available in paperback, Kindle, audiobook and hardcover

This teen novel by Lauren Oliver has a strikingly unusual plot which is executed skillfully and makes for an action-packed read that young adults will enjoy.

"Before I Fall" is about popularity, friendship and consequences of everyday actions. The story is told through the eyes of the main character, Samantha Kingston, who is in the most popular group of girls in high school. Her life is going on as it normally does; going to school, hanging out with friends, going to parties – and then she dies.

What would it be like to have a second chance, to do things over? Samantha gets to have that second chance, but only for her last day. She gets to re-live that day, and in doing so, uncovers a myriad of secrets which impact the past and pave the way on the final day leading up to the last fateful moments. Will Samantha be able to hold on to what is important and will she be able to change anything on her last day to reflect that?

This book is a real page-turner which is certain to be enjoyed by teen girls. Capturing the backstabbing and meanness which can happen in high school, Lauren Oliver has written a book which will strike a chord with any high school student. One of the most masterfully crafted young adult reads available today, Lauren Oliver does not let her audience down. Gripping right through to the end and at times frustrating and funny, this book is likely to appeal to even the least book-oriented reader.

This exciting story, while it certainly grabs the reader’s interest, is at times not totally realistic in terms of how much action is packed into one day. However, this is not a big criticism because it keeps the suspense up and means there is always something big happening. Parents or teachers are less likely to be enthused about this book than teen readers because of the relatively easy access to alcohol, late night parties, ask-no-questions parenting and casual attitudes toward sex experienced by the popular main characters in the book. However, Lauren Oliver does a great job of turning an exciting and seemingly frivolous read into a serious warning sign while keeping her readers on the edge of their seats.

Overall, this book is one of the most well-crafted and unforgettable teen reads available. Readers will not be disappointed.


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