BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver


Age Range: 12 - 15
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When your novel’s heroine opens the story as a popular, mean highschooler, the story will be one of two things: a paean to Dolce & Gabbana or a tale of redemption. Sam’s story is of the latter kind: a Groundhog Day–style repeated day she must relive until she gets it right. With each repeat, she changes something in her relationships—to her family, to the cruelty of her queen-bee friends, to her lecherous boyfriend, to the hot math teacher and to the countless nerds, dorks and freaks she’s always abused or ignored. If she can just get it right, Sam thinks, she’ll be freed from her loop and can move on with her life. Within this predictable framework Oliver builds a quietly lyrical story of selfhood and friendship, avoiding the obvious paths out of the time loop. Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day character used his repeated day to learn French; Sam, more valuably, learns that life’s composed of “little gaps and jumps and stutters that can never be reproduced.” Unexpectedly rich. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-172680-4
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2010


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Kirkus Interview
Lauren Oliver
author of ROOMS
September 29, 2014

Lauren Oliver is known for her best-selling young adult novels (including the Delirium trilogy) but her new novel Rooms is her first written for adults. We ask her about making the transition, finding new readers, and writing a ghost story. Rooms actually has two story lines that nicely collide: First, a ghost story in which the ghosts can’t leave the house but don’t know why. Second, an estranged family story in which the ex-husband dies, leaving his alcoholic ex-wife, angry daughter and disaffected teen son to clean out their former home, not knowing that it's haunted. We go ghost-hunting with Lauren Oliver this week at Kirkus TV. View video >


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