Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Published: July 22nd 2010
They say ‘live every day as if it’s your last’—but you never actually think it’s going to be. At least I didn’t.
The thing is, you don’t get to know when it happens. You don’t remember to tell your family that you love them or—in my case—remember to say goodbye to them at all.
But what if, like me, you could live your last day over and over again? Could you make it perfect? If your whole life flashed before your eyes, would you have no regrets? Or are there some things you’d want to change…?
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Trigger warning for suicide.
Before I Fall down the rabbit hole of how much I hated this book, I apologise if you’re one of those five star raving reviewers and disclaimer for potential spoilers if you haven’t yet read it.
The only thing I liked about this book was the initial premise, and the writing. Samantha Kingston dies in a car accident on February 12 and wakes up the next morning to relive the last day of her life another six times. Written in the first person point of view, Oliver’s writing is realistic to that of teenagers, and each chapter of the book outlines a different day in the time-loop.
I liked the déjà vu experience of day two, making me question how the smallest thing can have the biggest impact by completely changing a course of events. Because, how many times have we been in the wrong place at the wrong time and wondered how things would have turned out differently if we were never there? After that, I honestly couldn’t wait to get to the end. The story just dragged and dragged and dragged. It was boring, and repetitive, and boring. I didn’t even get the ending so it’s not like it was worth forcing myself through chapters that were each 50 pages long.
We’re not supposed to like the characters. I got that much. But I didn’t like them at all. You can be horrible and still have good qualities, yet these girls were just awful. Sam, Lindsay, Ally and Elody are the stereotypical mean girls at Thomas Jefferson. They’re popular and so they can get away with being bullies. Sam’s redemption arc basically stems from trying to right their wrongs, like no longer being a bitch to this girl called Juliet. And I totally got that too. Every high school has its own Juliet Sykes. But, it was just so excessive.
I found this book to be highly problematic. Every single time Juliet was mentioned, somewhere along the same line was ‘pyscho,’ as if the two were synonymous. Near the end of the novel, Sam’s boyfriend calls her ‘crazy’ to which her inner monologue responds ‘There’s that slur again.’ And I thought okay, here’s the redemption part. But following that she continues to call Juliet a ‘psychopath’ and I honestly didn’t get it? I failed to see how Sam redeemed herself in the end and therefore finished the book feeling confused, and annoyed.
I really wanted to like this book but it was so disappointing and just plain boring, to say the least. There are a lot of ableist slurs, and lesbian jokes, and the only character who is somewhat tolerable is Kent. And the ending didn’t make any sense so I feel like I completely wasted my time by continuing to read it thinking the ending was where everything would click and I would be blown away just like everyone else.