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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall (edition 2011)

by Lauren Oliver

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2,4292872,550 (4.03)101
Title:Before I Fall
Authors:Lauren Oliver
Info:HarperCollins (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:teen issues, bullying, cliques, suicide, mature content

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


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English (282)  German (3)  Spanish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (287)
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
Before I Fall is a novel about a teenagerÛªs last day of life, re-experienced seven times.
I enjoy books for different reasons. Sometimes it‰Ûªs the characters, sometimes it‰Ûªs the author‰Ûªs voice, or sometimes it‰Ûªs the story or mood of a work that appeals to me most. Other times I‰Ûªm drawn to a novel because it resonates with something I‰Ûªve studied or learned about writing craft, as with Before I Fall.

In my very first classes on novel writing, I remember learning a useful exercise for writer‰Ûªs block and plot development was to free-write on twenty things that could happen next in a story. The object of this exercise is to let yourself go and quickly, without too much self-editing, write down 20 different scenarios of what could happen next in a story. Then you think about these ideas, maybe float them with your critique group, and usually the next scenes in the novel will come to you. I found myself thinking that Before I Fall was an ingenious exploitation of just this concept. The entire novel is seven different scenarios of one day. Because the day is when the protagonist dies, strong conflict and tension is almost built in to the story--as a reader you want her to accomplish what she needs to before the day ends.

So besides good conflict and plot, another element of successful novels is a clear character arc. You want to see the main character change or show growth in some way. Again, the format of the story lends itself to character development, and is really well done in Before I Fall. Lauren Oliver makes an unsympathetic character grow more likable and compassionate as the Sam Kingston‰Ûªs ability to comprehend the consequences of her actions progresses over the story timeline.

In addition to the way the story concept handily addresses important novel writing elements, the most enjoyable part of the writing for me was the well drawn friendships between the group of girlfriends, especially Lindsay and Sam. There was an ‰ÛÏunconditional love‰Û quality about their friendship that I think true friendships have.

Some minor drawbacks to the story are its length (probably just a bit too long at 480 pages, although I did manage to finish it within a couple of weeks) and its romance, which felt a little flat for me towards the end. However, I think the book is probably more about friendship than romance, even though the inciting incident happens on the day Sam is supposed to lose her virginity.

Four stars for Before I Fall and kudos to Oliver for the clever way she makes putting together important craft elements look easy.
( )
  JeaniaK | Dec 13, 2014 |
I loved this book! I have to admit, it started a bit slow for me. However, it picked up quickly & drew me in to the point that I literally didn't want to put it down. The story is beautifully written and the characters are well fleshed out. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great read. ( )
  Kelly_Mills | Dec 13, 2014 |
The book has a good point but its way too repetitive. ( )
  Kathryn_Brown | Dec 1, 2014 |
Blown away.

I thought I knew where this was going. Ahh, a girl dies and has seven chances to relive her life. (That's not a spoiler; it's on the jacket.) So surely, she'll do better each time, learn some lessons, not take her life for granted. Can't wait.

And it followed that path, but with so much more detail, insight, creativity that I'd expected. She still makes mistakes, still misjudges people, still needs to grow up a little bit before she can move on with her life (or her death). We are lucky to get to watch this unfold, and to take little pieces of it away with us when we're through. ( )
  redrabbit | Nov 25, 2014 |
I was pretty surprised that I enjoyed this book. I thought it was going to be a DNF until I got to just before the middle, and after that I couldn't put it down, I stayed up in order to finish it. I think once Sam gets past the high school thing and starts thinking bigger picture and realizes once and for all her fate it sealed, she kicks in gear and it helps the story.

Lauren Oliver definitely made an incredibly accurate portrayal of high school and teenagers these days, sadly enough. There were some points in the book where I was just thinking "get on with it" I don't want to hear any more high school stuff, I was glad we didn't have to endure the same thing every single day, for moment in the beginning I though we would. I think Lauren Oliver did an excellent job with this book, definitely one for teens and adults. ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
Although somewhat predictable, the plot drives forward and teens will want to see where Sam's choices lead.
added by khuggard | editSchool Library Journal, Amy J. Chow

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Oliverprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drew, SarahNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In loving memory of Semon Emil Knudsen
Peter: Thank you for giving me some of my greatest hits. I miss you.
First words

They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happened for me.

"Beep beep", Lindsay calls out.
''Here's one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning.''
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
What if you had only 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—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-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 had ever imagined.
Haiku summary
It's like Groundhog Day

for young women- in book form

with a sad ending.


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After she dies in a car crash, teenaged Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again until, on the seventh day, she finally discovers a way to save herself.

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