Overall Rating and Opinion of Before I Fall

Discuss the February 2016 book of the month, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
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Lovely_Loreley
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Re: Overall Rating and Opinion of Before I Fall

Post by Lovely_Loreley » 09 Mar 2016, 13:34

I ended up really liking the book, a lot more than I initially thought I would. Sappy teen books aren't really my thing, but I thought the plot was intriguing. It started off a little slow for me, but I was hooked by the end. Although a lot of people seem to be disappointed in how it ended, I thought it was highly appropriate and fit the overall theme/message.

This was one of the first times that I chose to get an audio book instead of a print version, and that might have actually helped. It lent a bit of emotion to the story and ensured that I didn't go through the story too fast. I was unable to really skip through repetitive sections but that helped me notice the little details, the minute differences between each relived day. And I think overall it helped me appreciate Sam more.

By laying the groundwork as a single day with a known timeline (wake up, banter with the family, go to school, roses, Rob, party, etc.) Lauren Oliver was able to really pull out the details. Small comments and little changes really emphasized for me how one small action can set your day on a completely different course. And yes, Sam had the added benefit of knowing what was going to happen so that she could manipulate events, but I think it served as a reminder to the reader to be conscientious about your actions, even for the most mundane things. I gave the book 4 out of 4 stars
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Post by moorhora » 10 Apr 2016, 15:30

In opposition to several posts I've seen on this forum, I enjoyed 'Before I Fall' tremendously. To me, it is an illustration of a kind of purgatory. Samantha relives her choices and their consequences several times, growing in depth and understanding with each reliving of her day. I found it poignant and the simple short sighted teen viewpoint in juxtaposition with the overall theme of the story, which lends itself to the growth of the character as seen throughout the novel.

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Post by Vermont Reviews » 25 Apr 2016, 06:15

Lovely_Loreley wrote:I ended up really liking the book, a lot more than I initially thought I would. Sappy teen books aren't really my thing, but I thought the plot was intriguing. It started off a little slow for me, but I was hooked by the end. Although a lot of people seem to be disappointed in how it ended, I thought it was highly appropriate and fit the overall theme/message.

This was one of the first times that I chose to get an audio book instead of a print version, and that might have actually helped. It lent a bit of emotion to the story and ensured that I didn't go through the story too fast. I was unable to really skip through repetitive sections but that helped me notice the little details, the minute differences between each relived day. And I think overall it helped me appreciate Sam more.

By laying the groundwork as a single day with a known timeline (wake up, banter with the family, go to school, roses, Rob, party, etc.) Lauren Oliver was able to really pull out the details. Small comments and little changes really emphasized for me how one small action can set your day on a completely different course. And yes, Sam had the added benefit of knowing what was going to happen so that she could manipulate events, but I think it served as a reminder to the reader to be conscientious about your actions, even for the most mundane things. I gave the book 4 out of 4 stars

I really liked this comment.
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Post by grace-grace13 » 27 Apr 2016, 13:05

I, like many others, did not enjoy this book as much as I would have liked to. I thought the characters were too shallow and hard to relate to. Even though Sam did start to grow on me towards the end, I was annoyed by her thoughts and actions throughout most of the book. I honestly would give this book a 2 out of 4 because the book was written okay, but the character development was lacking. The plot was okay but overdone. Overall, I thought this book was subpar compared to some of the other Young Adult Fiction I have read recently.

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Post by mmandy38 » 19 May 2016, 00:19

I liked the book a lot more than I intended to. I got sucked in and could not wait to find out what Sam would try next to change her outcome, as well as the people around her. I personally was not a fan of the ending though, as I wanted a better outcome for Sam, but I do understand that would not be as appropriate.
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Post by RobinStock » 01 Jun 2016, 12:22

I had a hard time with this one. I did not like the voice at all. I like Lauren Oliver's work, overall, but this was just not my favorite.

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Post by batkinson6490 » 01 Jun 2016, 12:32

I just got this book! I didn't know it was that popular. Now I am really excited to read it!
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Post by BBanks1311 » 13 Jul 2016, 11:01

I read it a couple years ago and the details have left my brain but the over all lesson I learned from this book have stayed with me. This book taught me that my choices today effect tomorrow and not just for me but others in my life as well. You never really realize just how many people are effected by your choices and I feel that this book helps show that, even the smallest of choices can cause the biggest impacts. Everything you do is a choice, choose wisely.

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Post by RobinStock » 13 Jul 2016, 11:16

grace-grace13 wrote:I, like many others, did not enjoy this book as much as I would have liked to. I thought the characters were too shallow and hard to relate to. Even though Sam did start to grow on me towards the end, I was annoyed by her thoughts and actions throughout most of the book. I honestly would give this book a 2 out of 4 because the book was written okay, but the character development was lacking. The plot was okay but overdone. Overall, I thought this book was subpar compared to some of the other Young Adult Fiction I have read recently.

I agree!

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Post by Smokie_moi » 09 Sep 2016, 14:21

When I first read this title I thought you were talking about "Before I Fall by Noah Hawley" and got excited to read reviews on that book since I picked it up three or fours times and cant bring myself to read it. I am sorry, I havent read the one you refrecnce.

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Post by Cybbie09 » 04 Dec 2016, 11:54

I have bought the book but I have not read it yet. Thank yoi for you opinions and insight. I will read it and update my answer once I have read it :-)

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Post by Azrevread » 07 Mar 2017, 15:16

I read Lauren Oliver's novel, Before I Fall. It's a teen fiction story about a high school senior who is
involved in a tragic traffic accident. She "relives" the accident several times and each time is slightly
different. I decided to give the book a rating of 3 stars out of 4. Although the book is teen fiction, I
would recommend the book to teens and their parents.
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Post by Alexandra Bayer » 17 May 2017, 23:33

Samantha Kingston is used to getting what she wants: from her parents, from stores, from her friends, and from her foes. This is because Sam is popular. And to be popular, Sam wasn't always very nice. This lifestyle works for her, though - that is, until February 12, when everything changes. The day starts off like every other, except perhaps for her school's Cupid Day celebration. Even the night-time party she attends isn't an oddity. Sam's life is forever altered, however, when in a terrible accident after the party, Sam dies. Except she wakes up the next day, only to find that it's Cupid Day all over again. Sam finally has a chance to correct her mistakes, but will she take it? Or will her desire for popularity be all that is remembered of her when she is gone?

I did end up enjoying this book, although it took me more time than it usually does to tell. This was largely due to the character of Sam. Sam was a narcissist, clean and simple, and I couldn't stand her for four days, give or take, after her first death. The writing was good, the high school scenarios weren't entirely unreasonable, and the characters were believable, but Sam drove me crazy. I kept thinking, why? Why would you do this? Why are you such a b****? Her actions, the things she said, even the things she put up with from her friends, all annoyed me to the point of not liking the first half of this book. After Sam began to slowly change, however, and I could tolerate or at least better understand some of the more cruel things she still did, I was able to appreciate the rest of the book.

One thing I was able to appreciate throughout the entire book was the rate of Sam's personal growth. Part of the reason I disliked her so strongly in the beginning was because she was relatively the same person, with hardly any changes, despite the huge life events that had occurred. She didn't go through a magical transformation and become a better person in one sitting. So, although this contributed to my dislike of her character, it also made the story more believable. Believability and closeness to reality is always exceptionally important in fantasy novels such as this, so I did enjoy that aspect of the plot. However, this slowness (and the fact that Sam was living the exact same day over and over) did make several scenes feel quite repetitive. Although this, again, added to the level of believability, it also made the reading a bit tedious.

I listened to the audiobook version of this story, which makes my next issue a bit more specific. Although I'd previously listened to some other novels narrated by Sarah Drew and have no issue with her pace or intonation in general, the voice she used for Kent drove me mad. Kent is supposed to be the real love interest, but the voice Sarah used was the stereotypical nasally nerd voice. Maybe Kent is supposed to be slightly nerdy, but he was also supposed to be somewhat popular, and the annoying voice Drew assigned to him completely turned me off of any possibility of a romance between him and Sam. This is one case in which I may have been better off just reading a physical copy of the book.

The final issue I had was with the ending of the story. Yes, perhaps Sam did make several better choices, and became a better person. She still wasn't perfect, and that's okay, because real life isn't perfect. But she turned a complete 180 on Kent, who'd had a crush on her for the longest time, and changed herself into a better person in his eyes. Then she died again, as she'd known she was going to, which I found completely cruel. If Sam really had been a better person, and known she was going to die, wouldn't it have been a better choice to ignore Kent altogether? Let him be to avoid additional suffering on his part? I thought the ending left much to be desired, which was definitely partly intentional, but the majority of my displeasure stemmed from the way Sam left things, instead of just the fact that she left.

Although I had several problems with this novel, I did ultimately enjoy it, so I will award it a rating of three stars. Although Sam's personality bothered me terribly, I wouldn't change it - it's critical to the storyline. And although the ending annoyed me worst of all, I don't think I'd change it either. It's one final reflection on Sam's character. I would recommend this novel for readers who enjoy high school drama, life after death (literally), and chances at redemption.
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Post by Azrevread » 04 Aug 2017, 15:53

Azrevread wrote:I read Lauren Oliver's novel, Before I Fall. It's a teen fiction story about a high school senior who is
involved in a tragic traffic accident. She "relives" the accident several times and each time is slightly
different. I decided to give the book a rating of 3 stars out of 4. Although the book is teen fiction, I
would recommend the book to teens and their parents.
Latest Review: "Puffy and the Formidable Foe" by Marie Lepkowski and Ann Marie Hannon

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Post by Yemurai » 07 Aug 2017, 05:35

I didn't like the book, the story was a bit dull for me. The whole concept of reliving the same day just seemed to drag the story on unnecessarily.

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