Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

When I first picked up this novel, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it. I found myself not particularly liking the main character, her friends and their actions. Samantha Kingston is a girl most of us knew in high school. She's popular, loud, and doesn't seem to care what other's think of her. She's the type of girl who knows how to get a reaction when she wants it. Not exactly someone I'd fondly relate to. I then realized that Oliver's writing is actually the opposite because it shows just what kind of person Sam and her friends are.

I love how Oliver set up the book. Each chapter represents a day that Sam repeats. With only seven chapters, each one is broken down into smaller parts. Despite Sam repeating the day multiple times, it doesn't grow old or boring. Oliver makes each day unique and heartbreaking despite having the same events happen over and over.

How Samantha reacts to replaying February 12th over and over again is easily believable as she runs a gauntlet of emotions each time she repeats the day. She does what most people would do if they were in this situation: first think they were going crazy, then rebel and do things they wouldn't normally do, and last accept what is happening.

Throughout the course of the book, you realize that deep down Sam is not simply a “Mean Girl”. Oliver creates a depth and realness about Samantha that you can't help but want to root for her to make the right decisions. You might start off despising the popular girl, but in the end she'll have you in tears.

This book is a cross between Mean Girls and Groundhog Day and so much more. Lauren Oliver's writing is refreshing and portrays the teenage mindset perfectly.