It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Lauren Oliver. I adored her novels Vanishing Girls and Panic , and I really enjoyed her Delirium trilogy. The way Oliver so perfectly captures teenagers in every novel is extraordinary. Too often, I find myself reading her dialogue and thinking, “I know someone who would say just that.” She truly has a gift. However, when it came to Before I Fall, I was a little nervous. The movie adaptation of her novel is slated for March 3, 2017, and generally I do not like the Young Adult movies that are adapted into books. I hated Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl and disliked If I Stay and The Fault in Our Stars. Luckily, Before I Fall does not disappoint.
“Anyone who’s ever been through high school understands you have to stick together against parents, teachers, and cops. It’s one of those invisible lines: us against them. You know this, like you know where to sit and who to talk to and what to eat in the cafeteria, without even knowing how you know.”
Before I Fall portrays teenagers as they truly are; multi faceted. Every character in Oliver’s novel has realistic, understandable thoughts, actions, and emotions. There is not one who feels cookie cutter or stereotypical. The teenager Before I Fall follows is Samantha Kingston, a high school senior living in Ridgeview, Connecticut. One night, while driving home from a party with her girlfriends, Sam is struck and killed by a car. Instead of dying, Sam simply wakes up the next morning and repeats the day she just had. In her own words, it’s like a morbid Groundhog Day.
“That’s the thing about best friends. That’s what they do. They keep you from spinning off the edge.”
What I loved most about Sam’s story is that it was ordinary. There is absolutely nothing special about her. The day Sam dies is similar to a day most teenagers can relate to; hitting snooze one too many times, sitting through school, then going to a party. As Sam repeats her day, trying to understand what’s happening to her, she has the same thoughts she’s had on other days, in different context. For the reader, it’s a strange sense of déjà vu (of course, the reader understands what’s happening).
I loved Before I Fall and I’m counting down the days until it hit theaters. Here’s to hoping the movie is just as fantastic as the book.