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Review: Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver

Popular high schooler Sam Kingston dies one night after attending a party at an old friend’s house. But she wakes up the next morning, only to find that she’s living that same Friday over again. And then it happens again. By the time she gets the hang of it, Sam starts to wonder why she’s being forced to live the exact same day over and over again. But as she does, she also begins to consider her actions more closely, to think about her friends more deeply, and to think about the small – and big – things that she does which can change the course of not only her life but those of everyone around her.

When I read Delirium a couple of months ago, I loved it, but many other bloggers said it was good but didn’t quite live up to this. I can completely see that now – this was a five star book for me, not necessarily from the first page, but as Sam went on living Cupid Day, I fell more and more in love with it.

It’s easy to see why, for me, as well, because this book has everything that I love about fantastic character development simply inherent in it. The premise of going back and living the same day over and over again gives us a whole different spectrum of ways to view Sam. She realizes that her actions have no consequences at one point, because she’ll just repeat the day over again, and so acts outrageously. But then she’s still stuck with the memory of what she did and how unhappy it made her, even if it impacts no one else. People do all sorts of small acts that simply pass by, without thinking of what they’ve done to others, but Sam can change this one day for everyone.

The book itself is truly breathtaking; I could not put it down as I was reading it. I’d intended to cycle through this and two non-fiction books I was reading, but they fell to the wayside because I absolutely had to finish this one. Despite the fact that Sam’s living the same day over – a plot which I thought would get repetitive – it genuinely doesn’t because each day is different. Each day brings new discoveries. I loved the way Sam could start to work out how everyone around her ticked because of the way she asked different questions and acted differently depending on what she’d discovered. It worked and spotlighted so many different aspects of any teen’s life at the same time – friends, family, boyfriends, sex, teacher crushes, drugs, even popularity itself. It sounds like a lot, but it fits perfectly.

Oh, and the end? That’s perfect as well. I was wary of reading anything else afterwards – even my non-fiction – because I didn’t want to spoil the way my mind kept going over the book. It keeps popping up in my head, too, like the characters have never left.

I wholeheartedly recommend Before I Fall, an absolutely fantastic YA read that will keep you turning the pages until you’ve finally closed the book.

I am an Amazon Associate. I purchased this book.

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