Reviews for Before I Fall : Library Edition

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #6
On her way home from a drunken party, Samantha Kingston is killed in a car accident. Except...she wakes up the next day. For the next week, in fact, she relives the last day of her life. Popular Sam and her three friends Lindsay, Elody, and Ally rule the school, drink, smoke, cut classes, have casual sex, ridicule others, and never seem to care about anything but themselves. But as Sam tries each relived day to put things right, she reveals hints of the wounded girls behind the masks, and the listener begins, just a little, to care about them. Giving the girls bitchy, breathy voices and allowing Sam's emotional growth to show through, Sarah Drew is spot-on with this performance. Her pacing, voice-level changes, and slight character differentiations combine to create a compelling story of a mean girl who learns some life lessons...a bit too late. angela j. reynolds Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 November

Gr 9 Up--In the blink of an eye, popular high school student Samantha Kingston loses her life. What should have been a fantastic day turns out to be the beginning of a horrific afterlife experience. In the wake of a fiery car crash, Sam wakes up on Friday, February 12th again, and again, and again--reliving her last day seven times. At the beginning, she is her usual obnoxious, thoughtless, and reckless self, but the teen is gradually transformed over the week. Sarah Drew narrates Lauren Oliver's powerful debut novel (HarperCollins, 2010), bringing Sam's voice to life with brilliant execution. She matches every nuance of Sam's character, easily transitioning from mean girl through stages of anger, moroseness, hopelessness, and regret, until she reaches a state of acceptance. The secondary characters are interestingly voiced. The story will instantly capture listeners, and the outstanding narration makes it potentially one of the best audiobooks of the year. A must-have for public libraries and high school collections, though schools should be aware that there are scenes with both sexual situations and teen drinking.--Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, New Britain, CT

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