Goodreads synopsis: For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night. However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
Sorry, but this has got to have spoilers in it. If you want to read this book and haven’t yet, don’t read on.
Before I Fall was recommended to me by my ex-best friend in our senior year of high school in 2012, and I just now got around to reading it. I got it from the library yesterday and just finished it about an hour ago. There are two things that I really liked about this book, and the first is that it’s in present tense but you don’t really notice it. It didn’t feel too cheap and cheesy like I think present tense can sometimes feel (something I worry about a lot in my own writing). I didn’t even realize that it was in present tense until about page 80.
The second thing I really liked about it was the fact that the ending wasn’t obvious. I expected her to come out alive. I expected her to wake up on February 13th and find that she was dating Kent and about to live happily ever after, maybe after having ditched her bratty friends and even becoming BFFs with Juliet Sykes. I was also really expecting a BU acceptance letter (also I go there!). But that didn’t happen. And I’m glad, in some ways at least. I kind of wanted her to tell Lindsay off for being an asshole and start over as a less-popular but nicer and happier person. Even though she was pretty mean, she was the main character, and I had to root for her at least a little bit. Although, mostly I was rooting for Juliet. I think Juliet and Kent would have made a good couple.
Actually, one thing that really bothered me was how much Kent liked Sam. I mean, Sam was a bitch, to him and to everyone else who wasn’t in her immediate circle of friends. She kind of deserved an asshole like Rob, and every time Kent said something to her like, “You’re too good for him,” I wanted to be like, hey buddy, you’re too good for her. I don’t understand why he hung on to her. And that’s another thing I didn’t like. Sam changed a little, but it wasn’t enough. Her apology to Juliet was weak, and she was still talking about how much she loved Lindsay and the other two, ignoring the fact that they’ve been nasty bitches all throughout high school. And the amount of money they all had was painful. Sam acted like her parents giving her $500 twice a year for new clothes alone was a small amount, which I suppose it was in comparison to her friends’ parents’ unlimited credit cards. But I guess you can’t expect much else from a book set in Connecticut. I always like to know where authors grew up, and Lauren Oliver’s Wikipedia page tells me that she’s from a small town in New York, “very similar to the one depicted in Before I Fall“. I can only imagine how much I would have hated growing up in a town like that. While there are some insanely rich people in my town, there were some really poor kids too (and I guess I was in the middle).
Also, it’s possible that I missed it, but I never understood how the title of the book was relevant. If someone who’s read the book could explain that to me, I’d appreciate it, because I was waiting for Sam to say that line and I don’t think she ever did.
But anyway, I definitely enjoyed the book overall, despite my semi-dislike for Sam and her friends. I really liked that I was constantly being surprised, and there wasn’t much that I could predict. I’d recommend this to all young adults. Even the underdogs need a lesson in privilege and kindness sometimes.
Oh, and one last thing. How dare she insult Harry Potter (my fav books) and Starbucks (my fav job). Like seriously. Rude. Harry Potter is amazing, and the drinks we make at Starbz are ART. ART, I TELL YOU. But yeah, this book was good.