Before I Fall
|February 14, 2010|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
Before I Fall is a 2010 young adult novel written by Lauren Oliver. It is written in first-person narrative of a teenager who is forced to relive the day of her death every day for a week. In an attempt to understand why this is happening to her, as well as trying to change her fate, she takes new actions each day, some of which are out of character and surprise her family and friends. The book is the basis for the film of the same name, which was released on March 3, 2017.
The novel begins when the protagonist, 17-year-old Samantha "Sam" Kingston, is killed in a car accident in her hometown of Ridgeview. She vividly describes her horrifying and painful death, and what flashes through her mind in those final seconds. However, she wakes up the following morning in bed, heart pounding and bathed in sweat, with the memory of her demise still fresh in her mind. Gradually, she realizes that for some reason, she is fated to relive the last day of her life, Friday, February 12, also known as Cupid Day at her high school, over and over, until she gets things right.
Throughout the week, Samantha, who seemingly had it all – popularity, an oft-desired boyfriend, and surface-level happiness – must examine what's really important in her "Mean Girls" life, in which she and her snobby, wealthy friends – Lindsay (the ringleader), Ally and Elody – made life miserable for underclassmen and social misfits, a life in which all that seems to matter is social status, clothes, boys, drinking and sex.
Through this "Groundhog Day" phenomenon, Sam experiences all five stages of grief. Denial is seen as she tries to evade her fate; she gets angry and rebels, lashing out at her friends (particularly Lindsay) and hanging out with students she would never dare be seen speaking with; she bargains with God, or fate, believing that if she can make things right, she can save her own life; depression, in which she feels that nothing even matters and where in she begins acting uncharacteristically recklessly; and finally, acceptance. The Sam who accepts her death – but only if she is able to save the life of her friends' prime target – is a very different character from the girl on the first page of the book.
Fox 2000 optioned the rights for Before I Fall in mid-2010, with Maria Maggenti named as the writer, and Jon Shestack named as a producer soon after. Ry Russo-Young was hired to direct. In 2015, Awesomness TV came on board to the produce the film. In September 2015, it was announced that Zoey Deutch had been cast as the lead. In October, Halston Sage was cast, along with actor Logan Miller and YouTube star Kian Lawley. Later that same month, Scream Queens star Diego Boneta and actress Elena Kampouris were also announced as part of the cast.
Reviews for Before I Fall have been positive, with RT Book Reviews giving the book 4 1/2 stars and nominating it for their 2010 "Best Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Novel". Kirkus Reviews called the novel "Unexpectedly rich". The School Library Journal wrote that although the book was "somewhat predictable, the plot drives forward and teens will want to see where Sam's choices lead".
- Galleys on the Go Give Readers an Early Look at Debut Novel Publishers Weekly
- 'Before I Fall' Novel Gets Movie Option: Who Should Play Sam? MTV
- Fox 2000 Sees Film Potential In Teen Novel Deadline.com
- 'Before I Fall' Development Movie Insider
- Coggan, Devan. "Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley to star in 'Before I Fall'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- Before I Fall Publishers Weekly
- Before I Fall Teen Ink
- Before I Fall RT Book Reviews
- Before I Fall Kirkus Reviews
- Grades 5 & Up School Library Journal