I chose this book entirely by accident: I needed something to read on the plane home from Vegas, and this was the first e-book available from my library that I vaguely recognized. Boom, done.
And then I read it, and it decimated my world, guys. (In the best way possible.)
Before I Fall is great for a number of reasons.
- It follows the Groundhog’s Day formula without feeling tired or forced. It really works, mostly because no two days feel the same. There is very little non-essential overlap.
- The main characters are all complicated, not-entirely-likeable girls. I liked that these girls were allowed to be human beings who were often terrible, but sometimes not, who were regular high school girls who could be wonderful to each other and awful to others, and vice versa, just as easily as breathing. We give a lot of leeway to male anti-heroes but very little to females, which is lame. Unlikeable characters are often the most interesting. I did not like Lindsay at all, but she was certainly the member of the gang who intrigued me the most.
- The main characters are all best friends, and the story is about their friendship more than anything, a friendship which is real and dynamic and layered.
- The pain of reading it, knowing that there is no way out. That, no matter how many times she Groundhog Days it up, there is no real waking up for Sam. It lends the story an emotional depth that resonated strongly with me.
- Sam goes through a strong, believable character arc is the story progresses, going from spoiled, bratty, awfulness to someone with a little bit more awareness and compassion for the people around her. She is certainly no saint by the time the story winds down, but she is markedly different than when we began. It is quite rewarding.
This is quality fiction, y’all. It baffles me how people continue to discount young adult fiction. I find most of the stories I love the most are young adult.
This is where it’s at.