Author: Lauren Oliver
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
While Lauren Oliver might not make my list of top young adult authors I’m into, I have to admit that her writing intrigues me. Take the Delirium series for example. I never really got hooked by the main character, but the premise of the series was unique and somewhat entertaining and suspenseful, though the ending was God awful and made me regret reading the entire series to start. And yet… I felt that she deserved another chance, perhaps with a one off novel instead of a trilogy. Maybe she would fair better what that type of time frame for a plot.
And while I did enjoy Before I Fall, it followed the same tendencies that I saw in the Delirium series. For one, the main character is – as she is accused of several times throughout the novel – a bitch. Her and her friends are the “popular” kids, and thus believe they walk on water and hate on others without even understanding why or without really caring about the consequences.
And yet, at the same time, you try to ignore the fact that Sam is a bitch because, let’s face it, is it an interesting premise. Much like she admits herself, Sam is stuck in an afterlife edition of Groundhog Day, where she wakes up every morning to relive the day she died. And for several times in the beginning there, she makes the same mistakes over and over, because she doesn’t realize that perhaps being a bitch is what caused her to die in the first place (just maybe). Sam even poses an interesting question to the reader – just because she wasn’t the nicest person in the world, does that mean she deserved to die? Fair enough, young lady. Though the fact that she let her highly intoxicated friend get behind the wheel (and, furthermore, was stupid enough to get in the car with a drunk driver) seems to be natural selection just weeding off the dumb.
Anywho, enough of my hate on the dumb and mean. After all, it isn’t Sam’s fault that I wasn’t exactly in with the popular crowd growing up, and while I have no idea what it feels like to be the “Psycho” of a school, I related much more with the semi-antagonist of the novel than the protagonist.
The plot was just interesting enough to keep me reading even with the subpair characters. The ending, as with Requiem, was a bit of a let down, but at least with Before I Fall, I can see the reasoning behind the ending, unlike Requiem which was just a three novel build up to a blank ending similar to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And while Sam couldn’t try her life around while she was still alive, it was a bit comforting to see that she finally began to see some of the errors in her ways, even if it was too late to do anything about her behavior while she was alive.