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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. Then 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.
Cover Art © 2016 Open Road Films. All Rights Reserved.
At first glance Before I Fall seems to be a typical YA novel about a teenage girl and her journey toward self-discovery, but it didn't take long for me to realize it is so much more.
First off, this book is incredibly well written--I love this. The descriptions, storyline, character development: beautiful. I loved all of it so much I couldn't help but run out and purchase a hardback copy of this book immediately after I finished listening to the audio book, so I might reread the many beautiful passages contained in the book as many times as I'd like without having to rewind. That being said, I'll never regret purchasing the audio book format. It is well worth having and will listen to it over and over again.
Second: the fact that this audio book left me breathless more times then I can count. This book, combined with the fantastic/flawless performance by Sarah Drew resulted in the ultimate listening experience.
Sarah Drew's performance really did this book justice--she's the perfect fit. She was so good that I will purchase other audio books in which she is the narrator.
Third: how I couldn't stop thinking about this book after I was finished with it.
I love this book. It's fantastic, beautiful, lovely, wonderful. I'm glad I purchased it. It is more then credit-worthy.
64 of 69 people found this review helpful
I originally purchased this story for my twelve year-old daughter and I to listen to together. We didn't even make it through ten minutes before I realized that this was not going to be an appropriate choice for her. There are far too many references regarding drugs/drinking and sex (and not in a don't do them sort of way). Nevertheless, I decided to give this book a chance on my own, mainly because I didn't want to waste a credit, and was very happy that I did.
Despite the "older audience" themes, this story did offer some great life lessons. The main character is forced to re-live the same day over again, and in this process, discovers some great insights into how her and her friends actions impact those around them. It is also a story of self discovery. Lauren Oliver writes this in a way that is very human and believable and it feels like she may be drawing from some of her own past experiences. Not only does this story offer some great messages, it is also very entertaining. The narrator sounds very young and fits this role perfectly. She is also very expressive and a joy to listen to. I would recommend this story, but only for a 15+ audience!
38 of 42 people found this review helpful
This was by far one of the best books I've listened to. First off, let me say that the narrator was amazing. She seemed to perfectly capture the characters and make you genuinely feel for even the seemingly most unredeemable of them. The prose was at times compelling and at other times shocking and heartbreaking. A truly amazing book and a good reality check for everyone, not just the "mean girls." I typically only listen to audiobooks during my commute but I found myself being so absorbed in the story and desperate to find out what happens in the the end that I ended up listening long into the night. Be warned, this book will make you think, make you smile, laugh and especially cry. I am really looking forward to future projects from this author as well as the narrator.
27 of 30 people found this review helpful
This has to be one of the most wonderful books I've ever listened to- and coming from someone who's been reading/listening to at least 2 books per month for 40 years, that's saying a lot! It starts out as "Mean Girls" meets "Groundhog Day" , but then becomes so much more - a meditation on the meaning of life and what it means to love, all told with the utterly believable voice of a 17 year old girl, who keeps reliving the last day of her life until she gets it right. The story unravels with enough twists and turns so that the suspense never flags. The writing is outstanding, every character, every scene springs to life, but the descriptions are never tedious. And finally, the narrator is superb. A poor narrator can really ruin a good book, but this one is perfect for this book. Do yourself s favor and get this audiobook
33 of 37 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Before I Fall?
The best part of the story was Sam discovering who everyone is on a deeper level by getting small glimpses into their personal lives. By learning about all their true nature she ultimately discovers herself and what was important in life.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Sam was my favorite character. The listener can go on the journey with her and see how she changes with each day. I love the things that she learns and thinks about as the story progresses.
Which character – as performed by Sarah Drew – was your favorite?
The narrator was perfect for this story. You could feel Sam's emotions. I've never listened to a narration with such perfect settle emotions.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The story made me think a lot about people and how there is always more going on than what's on the surface. It also made me think a lot about the timing and impact of simple events.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This book was engaging from start to finish. The narrator was wonderful. This was a book that reminds me why I prefer books on audio: A good narrator brings the story to life in a way that you can't get on your own by just reading the text. I highly recommend this book, and not just for the YA audience.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Before I Fall to be better than the print version?
I don't think I'd have read the print version to the end, so definitely.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
The concept of how Sam chooses to live out each repeated day. Least interesting? How tacky her choices were.
What about Sarah Drew’s performance did you like?
Although her voice was a little squeaky and too earnest at times, she had fantastic inflection and a really compelling tone.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, I only finished it because I'd already bought it.
Any additional comments?
The story left much to be desired, and the ending was a let down.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
It took me several attempts to get through this book. I hated Sam and her friends from day one, and I know that was the point, but by the time I got to chapter two, I was looking forward to her dying. Imagine my dismay when the moment finally arrives and instead of dying, she awakens to her alarm clock. My review/observations:
1) Samantha's story was bad enough the first time. Why on earth would I want to reread the same scenes seven times! It was torture.
2) I am not sure how Lauren Oliver got away with stealing the plot for Groundhog Day. It's the same story. The main character is a shallow, self-centered, mean, jerk who relives his/her day over and over and over until he/she finally gets a clue. Just because you make the main character a teenage girl instead of a middle aged man doesn't make it a unique plot.
3) Sarah Drew can narrate just fine if she's just reading Sam's perspective. As soon as another character comes in, Drew switches to this constipated zombie voice. She did the same thing in the Delirium series (I thought Lena's aunt was part frog). It drove me crazy in that series and drove me crazy again in this book. Can't you just read another character's conversation without giving them a mental deficiency? Lindsay's voice was so creepy, I wanted to run her over with a Land Rover myself. And I really think the narration hurt the story, because it kept me from sympathizing with the supporting characters.
4) The worst part was the ending. I hope I'm not giving too much away by saying that when the moment FINALLY came Lauren Oliver skipped right over it. I had to read through seven accidents, seven non-existent scenarios. The least you could do is tell me which one was real and what exactly happened. Who lived? Who died? What was the point of the Juliette story if you don't even tell us what happened to her in the end? What happened to the friends, who didn't get 7 chances? I suffered through 10 hours of Groundhog Day and I didn't even get closure.
I am glad I finally finished listening, but I have to say that I regret the download. The Delirium series was also filled with unlikable characters, but at least the storyline was unique and the writing was done well. Aside from Drew's zombie frog voice, I enjoyed THAT series. "Before I Fall" not so much. That's just my opinion; I know a lot of people loved this book.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful
I love Lauren Oliver's books, the narrator is one of the best narrators I have come across!
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
The writing is so good in this book, keeps you hanging on from beginning to end, the characters are so believable, I loved and hated them all at one point of the book or the other - just like in highschool but as good as the book was the narration by Sarah Drew really set the tone, I have since downloaded every book she's narrated, I hope Grey's Anatomy doesn't take her away from this entirely because as good as a book is if the narrating is grating and annoying I can't even get through it, then I have to turn around and buy it again in print form
12 of 15 people found this review helpful