Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall is a story that had been haunting me and somehow, after listening to the audiobook, I think it will continue to do so.

From BEA, I got a digital ARC of this book. However, it didn’t work. The file was corrupt. I worked with Harper Teen to get a new file but by the time I got it loaded, the time stamp on the file had expired. I was out of luck. But by then, I’d read the cover copy and loved the concept. The idea of it lurked in my head and wouldn’t go away, but I couldn’t read it yet. Ugh!

Then a few months later a physical ARC turned up in a mailing at work. I called dibs and snagged it, of course. I brought it home all excited to dive into it…but then…uh…well? I set it down and somehow buried it with other books and couldn’t find it. Can you believe it? Oy. I searched everywhere for that book. I could swear it was hiding from me!

I’m embarrassed to admit that when the book went on sale, I had no clue. I’d been so wrapped up in ARCs, I never even thought to check its on sale date. Whoops! I mean really, when did this book come out? Last year? Yes, so very embarrassing. But Audible saved me from that by offering a big sale. Woot! They sent an email out announcing the sale and when I opened it, the cover for this book was right up front! So, sale + plus new find to feed my audiobook addiction for listening while walking to work = a very happy me. I bought it and downloaded it right away.

Whew. But yes, finally, I could listen to the story and see if I liked the execution of the concept that had been haunting me so much.

As I started listening, I cringed. Yep, how can I not? The main character, Sam, was part of a group of girls who reminded me of Mean Girls. I hated this group of girls so much, I didn’t think I’d be able to keep going. But I stuck with it and somewhere along the way, magic happened. Sam started to grow. It all began with her death. And that’s the point of it really. She dies and is forced to repeat the same day over again seven times. It’s like some twisted version of Groundhog Day only one that felt less repetitive.

Sam’s growth was fascinating to watch. Her reactions brought out such an emotional roller coaster in me as she shifts from various states of panic, to determined, to hopeful, and everything in between. I loved all the interconnections between the characters that were revealed in unexpected ways. They were also so damn heartbreaking too. Like I said, emotional roller coaster. Box o’ tissues will be needed. I won’t ramble more on it for fear I’ll give something away. But the story is beautifully executed and I loved the way the concept rolled out through surprising layers.

Oh, and the narrator was fun too! She did an excellent job especially with that exasperated teen voice. :)

And guess what? I found the missing ARC…yesterday. Typical. :P