Before I Fall
Pub Weekly, January 2010
Library Media Connection starred, January 2010
Conduct of life
Conduct of life
AgeAdd Age Suitability
mckay_05 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
yellow_hummingbird_79 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
Shelbs123 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
Red_Dog_2036 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
happyfantasy thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
bookgeek101 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
Orange_Ape_3 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
Orange_Cat_155 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over
shellynaj thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
Heart97 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 18
SummaryAdd a Summary
On page 1 of the novel, we learn that the protagonist, 17-year-old Samantha "Sam" Kingston, is killed in a car accident in her hometown of Ridgeview, Connecticut. (This is also mentioned on the back of the book.) She vividly describes her horrifying and painful death, and what flashes through her mind in those final seconds. However, she wakes up the following morning in bed, heart pounding and bathed in sweat, with the memory of her demise still fresh in her mind. Gradually, she realizes that for some reason, she is fated to relive the last day of her life, February 12, over and over, until she gets things right. Throughout the week, Samantha, who seemingly had it all - popularity, an oft-desired boyfriend, and surface-level happiness - must examine what's really important in her "Mean Girls" life, in which she and her snobby, wealthy friends - Lindsay (the ringleader), Ally and Elody - made life miserable for underclassmen and social misfits, a life in which all that seems to matter is social status, clothes, boys, drinking and sex. Furthermore, through this "Groundhog Day" phenomenon, Sam experiences all five stages of grief; denial (this can't be happening) is seen as she tries to evade her fate; she gets angry and rebells, lashing out at her friends (particularly Lindsay) and hanging out with students she would never dare be seen speaking with; she bargains with God, or fate, believing that if she can make things right, she can save her own life; depression, in which she feels that nothing even matters and wherein she begins acting uncharacteristically recklessly (stealing her mother's credit card, making a pass at a teacher, flashing a carful of college boys, etc.); and finally, acceptance. The Sam who accepts her death - but only if she's able to save the life of her friends' prime target - is a very different character from the girl on the first page of the book.
We get to know Sam and her friends at the beginning of the story, leading up to a crash that takes Sam's life. You have to be patient as you are introduced to them because they are not likeable at all. Just when you think you've had enough of them, they are in a deadly crash. That's not the end of the story, though, only the beginning.
Sam goes into a sort of sleep following the accident and awakens to relive her last day. Will changing something along the way lead to a different result? She tries, and tries again, and again. In fact she gets numerous attempts to "perfect" her last day, hoping she can make the most of her life...and her death if she can't undo the accident.
The story line is addicting and suspenseful. and as each "day" passes and Sam begins to get things right, the question that has been looming in the back of your mind since the end of the first chapter--What will happen to Sam?--becomes more and more urgent.
My main issue is that the bullying was not... `properly' addressed throughout the book. It's mentioned and there are little things that happen that sort of mock Lindsay and her crew, but there is no overall sense of punishment, and I hate that. Especially for people who are so out and out horrible. I wish that as a final stand Sam had stood up to them a little more strongly and kind of put them in their place other than her random remarks here and there. I also wish there could have been some more time between Sam and Kent, more for him then for her to remember.
Oliver is skillful at wielding suspense and heartbreak, making you think hard about the value of your own life and actions.
Before I Fall is a haunting and beautiful book. It will float around at the back of your mind long after you've read it.
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High-- from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, Febuary 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance.
Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death-- and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
NoticesAdd a Notice
Coarse Language: The curse words but the words that almost every 11-13 year old person knows
Sexual Content: The main character and her friends talk about losing virginity and make sexual jokes, a lot.
Coarse Language: There a lot of curse words in this book.
Frightening or Intense Scenes: The ending can be very intense for some. One characters fate is very sad and can make people upset.
Sexual Content: Sam wants to lose her virginity and have many innuendos.
Coarse Language: The characters swear very much in this book and Sam thinks it very much, too.
Sexual Content: innuendos, losing virginity is part of storyline
Coarse Language: Swearing, innuendos
Sexual Content: main character is focused on losing her virginity, willingly puts herself in situations that would enable that; talks/jokes about sex and prophylactics with her friends
QuotesAdd a Quote
His hands inch over my stomach and his fingers are pulling at the underwire of my bra. He’s not very good with bras. He’s not that good with breasts in general, actually. I mean, it’s not like I really know what it’s supposed to feel like, but every time he touches my boobs he kind of just massages them hard in a circle. My gyno does the same thing when I go in for an exam, so one of them has to be doing it wrong.
: "They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me"
"Afterward I lock myself in the bathroom, warmth tingling from my fingertips up to my head, and try to memorize exactly how I look there, in that second. But after a while all of my features seem like they're just hanging there, like something I'm seeing on a stranger.
"Parents should guide their childrens and support them."
“I hate both of my parents right now: for sitting quietly in our house, while out in the darkness my heart was beating away all of the seconds of my life, ticking them off one by one until my time was up; for letting the thread between us stretch so far and so thin that the moment it was severed for good they didn’t even feel it.”
"I vowed after that day that I would be your hero too, no matter how long it took"
The thing is, you don't get to know. It's not like you wake up with a bad feling in your stomach. You don't see shadows where there shouldn't be any. You don't remember to tell your parents that you love them or--in my case-- remember to say good-bye to them at all
They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me.