Before I Fall
  • Before I Fall
  • Before I Fall

Before I Fall

4.3 1995
by Lauren Oliver

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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: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High, from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday,

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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: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High, from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12 should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Fortunately, she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day 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.

Editorial Reviews

Jay Asher
“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. You’ll have no choice but to tear through this book!”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review)
“Samantha’s attempts to save her life and right the wrongs she has caused are precisely what will draw readers into this complex story and keep them turning pages until Sam succeeds in living her last day the right way.”
ALA Booklist
“Oliver, in a pitch-perfect teen voice, explores the power we have to affect the people around us in this intensely believable first novel...This is a compelling book with a powerful message and should not be missed.”
VOYA - Teri S. Lesesne
Samantha is dead, killed in a car accident after a Valentine's Day party. As her life ends, events from her childhood play out in front of her. She is dismayed to watch her own casual cruelty to others flash in front of her. Her life was definitely not supposed to end this way; however, the next morning Sam is back in her bed with the alarm ringing. Was the accident all a nightmare? Sam struggles to understand exactly what has happened. She has been given the chance to live that last day of her life over and over again. Gradually she comes to understand that it is the small things, the seemingly unimportant decisions she makes, that have the gravest consequences. It would be easy to label this story a young adult version of Groundhog Day. Oliver's creation of multidimensional characters, especially Samantha, and her skilled examination of how even inconsequential things affect the lives of those around Sam transform this book from predictable and perhaps even formulaic into an evocative look at life and death. Samantha's attempts to save her life and right the wrongs she has caused are precisely what will draw readers into this complex story and keep them turning pages until Sam succeeds in living her last day the right way. Reviewer: Teri S. Lesesne
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
It is a truism that every high school has a clique of popular mean girls. Samantha Kingston is in that clique. With her fellow seniors and long-time friends Lindsay, Elody and Ally, Samantha rules the school. One day is just like the next, with Samantha doing what she wants, taking what she wants, and disregarding the people left in her wake. Then, on February 12, everything changes. Leaving a party with her friends, Samantha dies in a car crash—or does she? She awakens in her bed. But something isn't right. It's not February 13; it is the 12th again. Over and over, seven times, she relives her last day. Through the process, she comes to realize all that she has lost, all that she can gain, and what is worth saving. The plot is unusual and thought-provoking, and teenagers who are fascinated by questions of life and death will enjoy the book for that. The book's most remarkable feature, though, is Lauren Oliver's account of Samantha's growth over the course of that very strange week. In the beginning, we can't like her. She is thoroughly repugnant. We have trouble caring about her, apart from her tragic end. By the end, we are rooting, passionately, for her to live. It's rare for an author to manage such a thorough character transformation believably, but Oliver does. Librarians may wish to exercise some caution in choosing this book for younger readers, as it includes themes of alcohol use and teenage sexuality. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In the blink of an eye, popular high school student Samantha Kingston loses her life. What should have been a fantastic day turns out to be the beginning of a horrific afterlife experience. In the wake of a fiery car crash, Sam wakes up on Friday, February 12th again, and again, and again—reliving her last day seven times. At the beginning, she is her usual obnoxious, thoughtless, and reckless self, but the teen is gradually transformed over the week. Sarah Drew narrates Lauren Oliver's powerful debut novel (HarperCollins, 2010), bringing Sam's voice to life with brilliant execution. She matches every nuance of Sam's character, easily transitioning from mean girl through stages of anger, moroseness, hopelessness, and regret, until she reaches a state of acceptance. The secondary characters are interestingly voiced. The story will instantly capture listeners, and the outstanding narration makes it potentially one of the best audiobooks of the year. A must-have for public libraries and high school collections, though schools should be aware that there are scenes with both sexual situations and teen drinking.—Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, New Britain, CT
Publishers Weekly
Beautiful, popular Samantha and her three best friends are the ruthless queen bees of their high school. But Samantha is living a nightmare: throughout the book, she relives the day of her death seven times, with some dramatic alterations and revelations depending on her choices—ditching school to spend time with her younger sister or, on a day when life’s rules have all but lost their meaning, seducing a teacher. She faces the often tragic consequences of even the smallest acts, awakens to the casual cruelties all around her, and tries to get things right and maybe even redeem herself. If this sounds too much like a Groundhog Day–style plot, make no mistake: evocative of Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, Oliver’s debut novel is raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful (“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change,” Samantha thinks. “how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new”). Samantha’s best friends are funny, likable, and maddening, but readers will love Samantha best as she hurtles toward an end as brave as it is heartbreaking. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
When your novel's heroine opens the story as a popular, mean highschooler, the story will be one of two things: a paean to Dolce & Gabbana or a tale of redemption. Sam's story is of the latter kind: a Groundhog Day-style repeated day she must relive until she gets it right. With each repeat, she changes something in her relationships-to her family, to the cruelty of her queen-bee friends, to her lecherous boyfriend, to the hot math teacher and to the countless nerds, dorks and freaks she's always abused or ignored. If she can just get it right, Sam thinks, she'll be freed from her loop and can move on with her life. Within this predictable framework Oliver builds a quietly lyrical story of selfhood and friendship, avoiding the obvious paths out of the time loop. Bill Murray's Groundhog Day character used his repeated day to learn French; Sam, more valuably, learns that life's composed of "little gaps and jumps and stutters that can never be reproduced." Unexpectedly rich. (Fantasy. 12-15)
Carolyn Mackler
“Before I Fall is smart, complex, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lauren Oliver has written an extraordinary debut novel about what it means to live—and die.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.60(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years


What People are saying about this

Jay Asher
“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. You’ll have no choice but to tear through this book!”
Carolyn Mackler
“Before I Fall is smart, complex, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lauren Oliver has written an extraordinary debut novel about what it means to live—and die.”

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Before I Fall 4.3 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 1995 reviews.
EmmyKAY More than 1 year ago
I easily get fustrated by books that I read because I tend to be pretty picky. I like books that really play with my emotions, ones that might make me cry and ones that I can relate to. So many silly teen novels are out of the question just because I like a more serious read. I judge books by seeing if i can put the book down easily or do I stay up to the wee hours to finish it. So I took out this book because it looked good and was surprised by how much I loved it!! I can relate to it, being a teenager girl myself, it's thrilling, left me wanting more. I could not put the book down!! That's an extremely good sign! The story gets better as the book progesses and the book really makes you think. I loved that about it. It also makes you wonder what you would do if you were in Sam's sitation. All I can say is: you really have to read this book!
Wrighty More than 1 year ago
I read the author's introduction for the First Look Club at Barnes & Noble where she mentioned that she intended for her audience to dislike the characters in the early chapters. She did her job well because I didn't care for Sam and her friends in the beginning. In fact there were members of the club who considered not continuing the book because of the girls' very bad behavior. But I could not put it down. Lauren Oliver did exactly what she had intended in that first chapter. She introduced us to Sam and her friends Elody, Ally and their "leader" Lindsay, senior girls at Thomas Jefferson High School. They are popular, pretty and selfish snobs who get away with anything and everything. Sam tells her story from the moment she wakes up on Friday, February 12th. She shares all of the details of her day in school, the afternoon at Ally's house and the evening at a party. Since it's Cupid's Day, an early Valentine celebration, emotions are running high and Sam mentions a variety of interactions that occur that day. She and her friends are quite entertained when other students have hurt feelings and are more concerned with what they will be wearing to the party. Not all goes as planned and their irresponsible behavior leads to a tragedy. As Sam herself reveals in the first sentence of the prologue she is killed in that accident. And she wakes up the next morning to repeat February 12 all over again. Sam is aware that it's the same day but it doesn't appear that anyone else is. Through her shock and confusion she muddles through the day and attempts to prevent her death. Some things can be changed but as the days go by she starts to realize that she may be focusing on the wrong things and the wrong people. Sam begins to see how her actions have affected and often hurt others. She tries to make changes throughout the day but it doesn't go as planned. Lauren Oliver takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. I was fascinated with her insight and attention to detail. With each chapter Sam's changes had a ripple affect on others and the results would show up all throughout the book. A mention of something that appeared insignificant would often come to have great meaning later on. I would leaf back through the pages to find out how something had happened on a previous day so I could compare. It was like solving a puzzle, searching for clues. The characters were interesting and well developed. I was curious to know more about them and what led them to this day. In the first chapter it was easy to categorize everyone as the typical cliches - popular, jock, nerd, wallflower, but the first impressions were very deceiving. As the pages went by more layers were revealed. It's likely you will think about the way you treat people after you finish the story. What mistakes would you correct if given the chance? This is a book that I will definitely be reading again. Congratulations to Lauren Oliver for what is sure to be a very successful debut novel. Thank you to Barnes & Noble First Look Club for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Sheltiemama More than 1 year ago
First, let me say that I'm a 42-year-old woman who has just discovered how great some YA literature is now, and I loved this book. Samantha Kingston is one of the four most popular girls in her high school. They're your typical mean girls, and I really didn't like her at first. After what is a typical day for the quartet and a party at the house of Sam's childhood best friend, the tormenting of classmate and bully target Juliet, and too much alcohol, the girls have a wreck and Sam is killed. Oh, except that she wakes up again the next day. She finds herself in a "Groundhog Day"-type situation and relives her last day for a whole week. During that time, she tries to figure out how to save her life and do what's right as far as the other people in her life are concerned. Some of her attempts go awry, but as the week goes on, she starts to see herself in a new light and figures out what's important. It's wonderful to watch Sam's evolution, and by the end of the book, which is terrific, I just loved her. I wish every teen and preteen girl could read this book and think about what they'd do and how they'd act if they knew this day would be their last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw a review for this book written by Jay Asher. And since I love Thriteen Reasons Why, I needed to read this book. I really liked this book. Sure some parts in it were kind of slow, but I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. The characters in this book seemed so real. I don't ever lie when I'm writing a review, because I don't want you to buy this book and you not like it. People have different tastes in book. But I'm not a spoiler either. But I will say this, The only thing I didn't really like was the ending. It didn't end like I thought it would or how I wanted it to. And maybe that was the whole point. The ending was also a little comfusing. But I still love it. You should read it.
Scott16475 More than 1 year ago
As a 39 year old father of four, this book doesn't really fall into my genre; however, I really enjoyed Before I Fall. Within the first few pages, you're going to hate all of the characters, including the main character, Sam; I know I did! As the book continued, my feelings of disdain began to lessen with Sam as my disdain turned into sadness. Like so many of us when we were in high school, we put on show and pretended to be someone that we weren't; I believe this is actually what Sam is doing. I won't give too much away, but I feel the real Sam emerged at just the right moment(s). As a reader, you'll get to know many of Sam's friends as well as a few of her 'enemies' and truth be told, I found myself getting emotionally invested in one of the supporting characters named Juliet. It took me back to my high school days when I 'played' the role of Juliet (the male version, obviously - ha). I think the large majority of readers will find a character in the book that they can relate too, and that says a lot about this new and upcoming author. I found this book to be an easy and quick read; do yourself a favor and spend a few hours reading this book!
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
EmMa_RoSiE More than 1 year ago
I was not always a good some ways I was a lot like the main character. After reading this book I realized you never know when your last day might be and yes while you still need to experience as much as you can I also believe that you need to spend as much time with your family as possible and treat them the right way. This book was a really good wake up call for me. I recommend this book to anyone above the age of 14, who needs help finding themselves and also needs a good life lesson. This book will stick with me for a while.
asamum More than 1 year ago
At the beginning of this book I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Written in 1st person narrative, Sam starts of as unlikeable; popular by association basing her actions and preferences on being accepted by the 'in' crowd. Peer pressure is an incredibly powerful thing and shown in all its *glory* in this story, the I felt as if Sam had no personality of her own, for all intents and purposes she was a sheep. And then she died. Initially, I thought it was like an emotional Groundhog day (which is even mentioned within the narrative). However, as I relived each last day with Sam I really felt for her. Sam's fear of dying was palpable within the narrative. Very, very powerful writing. I felt as if I was there with her every step of the way. Imagine reliving the day you die over and over again, knowing that it is inevitable; that here is nothing you can do to stop it from happening. Knowing the exact time, place and circumstance of your own death. How frightened would you be as the minutes ticked away. As Sam relives the same day over and over, we are exposed to the 5 stages of grief, (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance). Sam is grieving for herself not only for the life that she has yet to live but for the mistakes she has made so far. Getting the opportunity to repeat the same day gives Sam a chance to rectify some of the mistakes she has made. The opportunity to see people in a different light, to say the things she always wanted to say but never felt it was the right time and to be the person she really wanted to be rather than conforming. Sam gains a whole new perspective and discovers true love in the process. All the characters were well developed and almost 3 dimensional, there personalities and interactions were so real to me I felt I was there right along with Sam. I could relate to all of them in one way or another. The narrative incorporates a lot of sensitive issues such as substance abuse, sex and eating disorders; issues although not dealt with in depth reflect the inner turmoil people suffer while projecting a very different outward image. The saying 'never judge a book by it's cover' strongly applies to the characters within this book. I finished reading this book very late in the night; I went to sleep thinking about it and woke up the next morning still thinking about it. Is is one of those haunting stories that stays with you. For me it was an emotional roller-coaster. I felt as if I had been swallowed whole, chewed up into one big gloppy mess and then spat back out. I have to admit to absolutely sobbing my heart out while reading this one (not the usual silent tears but the gasping, sniffing type of sobbing). It really is an amazing book, you will need a lot of tissues.
blkeyesuzi More than 1 year ago
"Before I Fall" is a book appropriate for teens and adults. It's an enjoyable read and does something few books can these makes one think. Even after the book was finished, I continued to think about the characters and I also thought about what I would do if I were in the same situation as the main character. This is a great story with characters you can love and hate for all the right reasons. It's a good thing to be entertained and learn something about yourself at the same time. I'd definitely recommend this book.
Beebsie More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. It definitely gets you thinking. I'd recommend it to anyone. Sooooooo good!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i bought this book i wanted something that would make me stay up untill midnight reading. Since im completley against books with and kind of sexual interactions anymore than kissing. I made the mistake of going through with books worse (i mean with sexual interactions, not the plot or story) and it made me very umcomfortable. I had not wanted something with swearing, smoking or drinking in it either. The story itself was fine, but it still made me wish i hadn't bought it. If you dont want something with that stuff in it, don't get this book. If you aren't bothered by that, then but it, because it still has a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just once i would like to come to the review site and not not have plot spoilers ruin a book for me by revealing the ENTIRE book in their so called review then brag how they got their book for free for their * honest* review. You ppl make me sick. First off, your so called honest review isnt honest. It is bought by your free book. You are then in turn telling the entire book ruining it for others who has to pay for their copy. Just state if you like it or not. Dont dissect the entire book, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter. Believe it or not, we can read and do not need you to tell us what the book is about, so STOP WITH THE DISSERTATIONS!!!!!"
jocey0104 More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book about 5 minutes ago. I fell in love with this book. I really enjoyed how the book flowed and I thought the author did a wonderful job with the details of each and every person. I cried, laughed, got mad, was let down by the characters actions. The book and the characters themselves get to you in a way you just cant believe. I fell in love with Kent and his caring ways. Sam and her friends didn't sit well with me in the beginning but as time went on their true feelings and dreams came out and affected me in a great way. I personally have very picky taste in books but this book left me wanting more. The true let down for me was that everything she did while reliving her last day would never become a reality and the hope of her and Kent being together was shattered. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a romance novel with a hint of what a teenage life is like. Must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first i was a bit nervous to read the book because it sort of appeared to be about a snotty girl who deserved to die. I had nothing to fear. As the story progressed i fell in love with the plot. Don't worry i won't spoil it but it was an amazing and wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good! Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Also has a good lesson and story line. Love!
Euphoria13 More than 1 year ago
I was very lucky to snag an ARC of this book from the first reads program from Barnes and Noble! This book was on my to read list since October. I was very surprised by this book, its really a page turner! May sound cliche' but it seriously was! I could not put it down and when i did, my mind kept going back to this good story. Have you ever wondered what happens, at the moment you are about to die, or exactly right before the event occurs? Or what happens after? What exactly is after when you die? For everyone, i'm sure the answer is different, we all have a different perception on what happens after. For Samantha Kingston, it is reliving the exact same day Seven times. February 12, Cupid Day- The day when every person at Samantha's High School shows or proves just where they stand in the popular rank with the number of roses they recieve. Not to mention that, that night is Samantha's "Big Night" with her boyfriend Rob. But word spreads of a party being hosted by a boy named Kent who Samantha can not tolerate what so ever. Seems like plans are shifted a bit and Samantha and her best friends are going to the party. But Samantha does not enjoy herself. Her best friends have gone off and abandoned her and her boyfriend is too drunk to comprehend or remember his plans with Sam. Just when the party could not be less enjoyable, Juliet Sykes- the unpopular girl of the school who is tormented and bullied by Samantha's friends confronts her and her group. A scene breaks out as Juliet tells them in their face exactly what she feels they are. After being humiliated, Samantha and her friends leave the party and head off to their homes. But Samantha never reaches her house that night. A sudden flash of white, a horrible crashing noise, a word muttered by one of the girls and everything gets out of control. After what seems like a long time of pain, darkness and falling, Samantha hears her alarm clock and opens her eyes. What seems like a horrible dream turns out to be Samantha's last day, as she learns that the moment she wakes up, she is relieving her very last day. I was very impresed with Lauren Oliver's writing, being that this is her debut novel, its as if she's been writing for a long time. This story shows that with even the minor of changes a person makes, it can make such a big difference to someone's life. You'll hate Samantha and her friends when you read this book but you'll love her towards the end. You will not get bored reading this! Even if Samantha's day is repeated seven times, it is never exactly the same. Many small changes occur and the results are BIG. The detials, dialogue, and emotions expressed in this book are believable and create a connection to the reader.
crystalbella77 More than 1 year ago
This book really is amazing. It's moving and touching and makes you cry but it's not depressing. I have wanted to read it for so long and I am sad I only just now got to it, but happy I finally did. There isn't a ton of dialogue in the book but it's so well written that you just can't stop. I loved it and I will definitely read this one again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started out with a clearly shallow, self absorbed, naive main character who could not see past the storyline that was her life. I didnt like Samantha at all at first, and i think Lauren Oliver wanted it that way and executed it to perfection. Sometimes when authors try to make us dislike the character, they end up making the characters unbelievable and unrealistic but Oliver can make Samantha the perfect realistic character that no one likes. But as the story progresses, i begin to fall in love with Samantha, in a sense, and her world and even her equally shallow friends who develop their own depth. Oliver has a knack for equally distributing the weight of topics throughout the plot, giving us just enough mushy romance, hilarious one-liners, crazy drama, heart wrenching life truths, and even cringe-worthy moments without making everything feel like too much. All of Samantha's decisions while experiencing her last day of life repeated are realistic and reflect exactly what any teenage girl would do while processing everything changing around her. Each character is likable and unlikable and i found that my first impressions of characters were changed by the end of the book, which almost never happens for me, showing that character development is evident, unlike most YA books. I have to say, the ending was perfection and am glad that Oliver didnt give in to the temptation to finish the book off the way most authors would, making the ending rich and memorable, not cheap. One will walk away from this book with eyes opened to new things about life and little wiser about what one has, making it a very worthwhile read. HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO PEOPLE WHO ARE FANS OF ALL GENRES! DEFINITELY WORTH YOUR TIME TO READ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at a store readthe first couple pages and was interested but latwr the gets really exciting I loved it I have all the otger books by her!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and fell in love with it right away. I read this book and it did make me think a little. I have recomende dthis book to so many people and they are dying to read it!! This book is a must read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was boring and fell flat. I like this authors other books but I was not impressed with this one. The book was very repetitive and did not hold my interest. When I pick up a book i read it all the way through, but I was actually excited for this book to end. If your looking for an amazing books to read I suggest the Delirium and Divergent series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought it got boring since she did the same day a dozen times, ending was pathetic...
shellbee21 More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with these characters.I hated them at first but fell in love. This book was basically Groundhog day, but with high school issues and deeper feelings. I laughed and cried throughout this book. It was so riveting. The only thing I hated was the ending as usually, when someone learns the lesson, they get a second chance. Not so much with this book but maybe not so because Lauren wanted us to actually know that there are no second chances even when you try to fix your mistakes. Since I have read it, I have somewhat put the book on the hate part of my bookshelf as I have hated the ending(other books are Breaking Dawn(the oh, so acclaimed Stephenie Meyer), Separate Peace(John Knowles). Oh, well it was good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The end left me a little brokenhearted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the most powerful reads I have ever read. It is the only book that has ever made me actually cry. It was excellently written, and all of the characters were so real and beautifully developed. This book truly makes you think, and takes you on a heart wrenching emotional rollercoaster. There is never enough time to say goodbye, and as this book proves, you may not kniw when you have to say goodbye, either. Live so that you won't regret anything, because life is a gift.