Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is a novel about a teenage girl trying to find a way to save herself after she dies in a car crash and relives the same day seven times. The first person technique used in this book creates a fantastic connection between the reader and the main character, Sam, and it makes for an unforgettable story that will linger in readers’ minds long after they’ve closed the book.
The plot is simple enough, and when I first picked the book up I thought it was a little cliched, because in truth the idea has very much been poked and prodded before. However, it is modernized by creating masses of internal conflicts teens can relate to today that start to reform the main character. As interesting as this is to read about, unfortunately it may disappoint readers who are more interested in action and fast-paced novels. Since the same day is repeated seven times, often the same action is repeated, and it can get a little boring to read about. Even so, there is a big suspense build-up at the end, and I for one was on the edge of my seat, practically dying waiting for what was going to happen next. It is definitely a book you have to push through to see the wonderful final product.
The characters in the story are extremely unlikable at first, but throughout Before I Fall, Oliver reveals their backstories that show how they became this way. By the end of the story, the main character especially has learned and grown because of the events that occur in the story. All of the characters have widely different personalities, and most of them are extremely developed, which makes for interesting perspectives at almost every angle of thinking.
The writing is practically flawless. Oliver is very good at description and enabling her readers to connect with the characters in the story. She has a effortless way of making each little detail tie together at the end of the story to create a clean and inspiring conclusion that might leave some readers remembering the book for a very long time afterward.
Overall this book was a great and interesting read. For readers who love action packed books it may leave something to be desired, but the diverse personalities of the characters and the effortless way Oliver’s writing flows makes Before I Fall definitely a book to put on your to-be-read list.