Before I Fall: An Unenthusiastic Book Review

Published July 29, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth
Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
Image Courtesy: Goodreads

Lauren Oliver is one very talented writer. I adore her Delirium Series, and have had “Before I Fall” on my TBR list for over a year. A few weeks ago I discovered it cheap on Amazon and enthusiastically downloaded it to my Kindle. I was stoked.  I have read  many positive reviews on blogs, and so my expectations were fairly high. I was ready to jump into another Lauren Oliver masterpiece.

Unfortunately, that was not the case in regards to my experience. While I read, something kept nagging at me in the back of my head. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was…there was something so familiar about this story…

OH RIGHT. “Groundhog Day.”  I knew the storyline all too well…saw that movie at least 30 times, if not many many more.

Only this version wasn’t about a middle-aged disgruntled weatherman. It was about a popular teenage girl.

But the similarities didn’t stop there…something else was still not right.

The storyline wasn’t just familiar because of its super similar storyline  “Groundhog Day.” There was something else very familiar… I couldn’t quite pin-point what it was…until I was up late one night, flipping channels on my TV. And then this movie popped up–OH SNAP!

Ah yes. Our main character, Samantha Kingston, is a plastic (although, not referred to as such in “Before I Fall,” but in general, she is definitely one.) And her best friends are “plastics” as well.

Problem #1: I’m not a big fan of reading a story from the “popular” girl’s POV. For about 60% of the book, I couldn’t stand Sam. I don’t like that “popular girl” attitude. In fact, I despise it. I had to force myself to keep reading…and yet, because of the “Groundhog Day” storyline, I knew where the storyline was going…so I really had to push myself to keep reading. I was sadly close to closing my Kindle and calling this one a wash.

But I didn’t.

And  I didn’t gain anything from finishing the book either.

Problem #2: The ending was pretty much what I  expected. I wanted to read more about Sam and Kent. I was hopeful. Of course there was progression…but truthfully, it was completely unrealistic.

After 7 years of not talking to someone, you can’t suddenly show extreme interest in a person. Sam hadn’t spoken to Kent in years, and had made fun of him despite his persistence towards her. And although their relationship progressed with each “rerun” day, it was one-sided.

Days weren’t repeating for Kent. They were repeating for Sam. So in reality, this would never have happened. A real person would have questioned Sam’s intentions (specifically within those 24 hours…and over a few days, this change of heart would have been believable. Kent would have accepted Sam’s change of heart. But not in a few hours…and not after years of mockery.)

Problem #3: When I read this book, I was coming off of a Colleen Hoover high. I had just finished reading “Hopeless” and was left breathless. That book was awesome. (See my review here.) So, again, expectations were high. Sadly, those expectations were not met.

Had I never seen “Groundhog Day” or “Mean Girls,” this book would have appealed a lot more. Sam progresses, evolves, and changes her life and outlook on others. There is a very beautiful, positive message in “Before I Fall.” But, (and sadly, there is a but) the book did not appeal to me at all.

Book Synopsis (via Goodreads):

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: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times 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. 

Have you read “Before I Fall” …What’s your take?

What are you reading? I’d love some fresh suggestions!


One comment on “Before I Fall: An Unenthusiastic Book Review

  • Well, Jen, good for you for finishing it!! I only got through about a quarter of the book, guessed the ending, checked to see if I was right, then slammed the book closed, and threw it in the return slot at the library. I had the same thoughts exactly– Mean Girls and Groundhog Day all over again. And YES I could not stand Samantha. Maybe it would have been slightly better if Lauren Oliver didn’t write it, since we’ve come to expect great things from her.

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