I had seen the previews for the movie based on Before I Fall a while back, which is what prompted me to read this. I’m a fan of time loop movies and such ever since Groundhog’s Day so long ago. I even love the Supernatural episode “Mystery Spot” where one character dies over and over again in ever more creative ways. Not that this one was strictly creative or meant to be fun.
Samantha, our protagonist, isn’t exactly a fun character to be seeing the world through. She’s a mean girl and though she’s aware of it and sometimes feels bad about it, she’s not about to change and risk the wrath of the high school social scene. Until she dies one night and then wakes up again that morning.
I do appreciate the way she wakes up the first time, convinced it was just a dream until the day unfolded. I was amused by the ways she lashes out at her circumstances and her friends and the clues she begins to put together about how that particular night continues to unfold. There is no getting out of that day until she realizes why it keeps repeating, not that it turns out to be good news for her.
Samantha’s discoveries along the way of her friends, their histories and old alliances, and even those people whose presence she had been taking for granted was the best part of the book. She learns so much. It almost seems like it’s all for nothing, but that’s not exactly the point. By the end of the book, I was sad to see the direction it was going in and a little relieved as well.
I will warn those interested in reading the book, there is a suicide trigger here. It’s one of the events that happens each night, whether or not Samantha is aware of it on the first day. There are plenty of teen shenanigans but I think we all know things that teens do, even when it’s all “innocent fun”. There is also drunk teen driving, but it’s addressed within the story in that same way that I think we’ve all seen. One person is drunk and insists on driving, their passengers must make the choice if they wish to go ahead and get in the car but they’re usually drunk too and don’t realize what a bad idea that is. Our protagonist mentions it and how unsafe it is, but unfortunately writes it off as some sort of necessity to getting home. It could have been addressed better, but it’s told in the first person POV and I think the rest of the story helps to call show how detrimental it can be to drink and drive.
I borrowed the book from my library but for those more interested in purchasing, click on the cover image and you’ll be redirected to BookLikes for worldwide purchase options. Click here to add to Goodreads for later.