Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I’m super-busy with my regular reviewing duties and a huge freelance indexing project (a manuscript of around 350K words!) this week, so here’s a mini book review for you.beforeifall

Before I Fall. Lauren Oliver. HarperCollins, 2010.

Sam is the most popular girl in school, but when she dies in a car accident, she finds she must relive her last day until she gets it right. What does Sam need to do differently in order to move on? The traditional time travel story involves a portal or magic object and sometimes a guide to assist the protagonist in their adventures; Before I Fall contains none of these—Sam is on her own. Oliver’s (Replica, HarperCollins, 2016) eloquent first novel is better classified as literary fiction than time travel fantasy; I’d go so far as to argue that it’s an afterlife story, and repeating her last day is Sam’s personal Purgatory.

I recommend Before I Fall for teens ages 15–18, but as with all of Oliver’s books, it definitely has adult crossover appeal.

A film adaptation of Before I Fall is coming this March.

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