Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – Spoiler Page


Ok – you know the drill.  The Spoiler page is for those who have read the book and want to talk freely about the book without worry of giving away anything for those who have yet to read the book.

This is not a review – this is just thoughts and feelings and “wonderisms” about the book, Before I Fall.

SO – now that this is covered…. let’s begin.

I am probably going to need help starting this conversation because my head is kind of stuck around one part that really spoke to me.  (I just finished the book a couple of hours ago as I write this).  In the end when she is hugging her little sister for the last time, or thinking about the last words she says to her parents….  and talks about the last times – like the last ice cream cone… the last kiss…. and how things would change if we knew these were lasts…

Seriously this took my breath away.  I have had a lot of loss in my life and through the years I have turned the scenarios involving these events through the ringer.  I thought I had covered everything in my grief and this thought about the lasts caught me off guard.  I hadn’t thought about that.

In my mom’s case – I have thought about her last time in the house.  How she left for work that day having no idea that she would never return.  But I had not thought about her last meal…. her last moment of sheer happiness…

Sorry.  I really did not mean to make this personal but I hit a vein here and I am running with it.  It’s not a bad thing.  It’s just my thoughts.

My point, I believe is, is that in life we do not know.  When they say we should live each day like it is out last – we really should.  We should always end conversations kindly.  We should enjoy that ice cream cone and not hurry through it… and we should make that phone call we know we need to make… but dread doing it.

This is a big part of what I pulled out of the book.  I hope to interview author Lauren Oliver.  I want to ask her if this was the plan in the book, to make up think about our own lives and decisions… and while Sam had opportunities to make it right, when will we make things right?

Ok – take this page any direction you want.  Talk about what you liked or did not like about the book.  What did you think of Juliet?  Do you think there was a way to save her – or was that just something we need to accept is that everyone can not be saved.  And in the end – was she?  I was not entirely sure isf Juliet was saved and Sam died or if they both died….

I didn’t like the story line with the teacher.  I thought it went too far.  I think Sam could have done what she did – this was a great example of her letting go – feeling invincible, but I think Mr. Daimler should have walked away.  I feel that gave an acceptance to this behavior in this YA book that was too much.  Your thoughts?

July 6, 2010: UPDATE:  After chatting with Lauren Oliver here is the question I asked her about the books ending and her answer:

***This question goes on my spoiler page only – I am curious to know, does Samantha die in the end and Juliet live?  Do you have any images beyond the book ending of Juliet and what you believe happens her beyond the pages of the book?

Lauren:  Well, in my mind, Sam dies at the start of the book; she learns over the course of the novel that although there are many things she can change around the conditions of her death, and in the moments that precede it, that is the one ultimate fact, the insurmountable barrier. And I do think it’s important for teens—and adults, for that matter—to understand that there are some things in life, some bad decisions and missteps, that can simply never be reversed. Life is not a video game, and there is no reset button.

And yes, Juliet lives. I have many ideas about what happens to all of the characters after the conclusion of the book, but I prefer not to share them. One of the things I like best about books is that they ultimately belong to the readers as much as they do to the writer; so I’ll leave it up to you to imagine a world for Juliet and the others post-book!


  1. I love you thoughts on the “lasts”.

    But I want to mention what I thought of the teacher storyline – I think it was a necessary evil. That day was a horrible day for her but a needed one. She needed to know what would have happened (and we the readers did too, because if that hadn’t been in there I would have been left with a sense of incompletion).

    The entire book, to me, is about exposing everyone for who they really are and Mr. Daimler should not be excluded from that list. I did not get a good feeling about him up until that point and it was at that moment I felt a sort of vindication for the feelings I had – does that make sense?

    • Lydia it does make sense. It was one of those moments – there is a similar moment like that in Thirteen Reasons Why – I wont give it away (cant remember if you have read it) – but I mention it in that spoiler. It was different because it was with a peer…

      I think what bugs me is that this is a YA read and while I get that this whole scene is about Sam letting go – I dont like what the teacher did, and maybe I am not suppose to. I like how you word it – it is about exposing true selves.

  2. Oh I definitely think we’re not supposed to like it. I think it’s supposed to horrify us (And I know it did me).

    But being a young adult novel in today’s world doesn’t necessarily mean candy-coating instances like that. I think she handled it well and on a level that teenage readers would be able to relate to. I know when I was younger it would have not been an appropriate subject matter (being a very sheltered, home-schooled, strict Baptist girl) but when I look at what my 17 year sister is reading I think it is just about on the same level – with a jolt added to give them that necessary smack.

    • Good points…. YA does sometimes surprise me but it does fit in with the world we live in. I hope to get an interview with Lauren on this. I would love to hear her thoughts on this as well as the idea behind the book.

  3. Ya this book was fantastic.

    About the teacher thing. It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would because at the beginning I could completely see her doing that and sadly he seemed creepy from the get go, so it didn’t surprise me either. Then again maybe I was looking for the bad in him the moment I knew what she was up too.

    I agree though, I didn’t like what he did. He should have known better.

    • I think I missed that he was creepy from the beginning Zia, that’s probably why it disgusted me so… I thought he was just an attractive teacher who could connect with the students well.

      I believed when Sam acted the way she did that he would address it and then walk away. Silly me… :)

  4. I didn’t really care for Mr Daimler to begin with, so wasn’t as surprised at what happened. Yes, he should have addressed it and then walked away, but real life doesn’t always happen the way it should. Look at how many teachers are in the news for inappropriate behavior towards their students. Sad, but true.

    I hope that you’re able to interview Lauren, as I’d love to know if she planned to have her readers examine their own lives, or if that’s just a happy by-product of a great book?

    I’m also curious about Juliet’s future. I loved how it was up in the air, but I so want Sam’s sacrifice to matter!

  5. i too thought the teacher part was not needed

    i also thought there was way too much smoking/drinking….i know it’s around but to that extent? no parents?

    my brother died as a child and now that i have kids i am really weird about it…like did he feel pain, did he know it was the end….

    loved loved this book

    • Diana – agreed, I have read a few YA where the characters are 15 – 18 but partying and drinking…. that does bother me a bit too.

      Diana, I lost my sister when she was 5. The book does bring up some things doesn’t it?

  6. I definitely think there’s a difference between sudden death and a slow wasting away. Both are hard in their own ways.

    I loved this novel too! So glad you decided to read it! You must try to get a copy of Lauren’s new novel DELIRIUM. More great food for thought – deep issues and big ideas about life and love.

    • Lenore – I totally agree. I have lost family close to me in accidents. Fast, no time to prepare and over. Then I see friends whos parents or grandparents are suffering from Alzheimers and I think that has to be harder….. but both are hard for different reasons.

      Thanks for the heads up on DELIRIUM. I am going to try to get my hands on that one! :)

  7. the older i get the more sensitive i get to a child’s death

  8. I believe the smoking/drinking was very realistic in the story. There weren’t any indications to the parents that the kids were drinking which is how it happens in reality.
    The ending was very confusing. I think that Sam died and Juliet lived but that doesn’t explain if Juliet will start to be a happier person. It is possible that Sam saved her for no reason if Juliet continues to feel upset and alone even after being saved by Sam.

    • Jessica, I found the ending a bit confusing too. I think maybe it was meant to be left up to our imagination, but I really prefer the book to spell things out to me. :)

      I too think Sam dies and Julia survived…. maybe Julia’s story is another book….

  9. I also found the premise behind this book so strong and beautiful.

    You didn’t mention Kent! Didn’t you just LOVE Kent? My heart just broke for him. It made me think of all the guys in high school that “weren’t cool enough.” Agh – if only I had read this when I was fourteen!

    • You are right Reagan – I didnt mention Kent. Kent was wonderful. What a level headed and sweet character! He is probably the one that would grow up be responsible and really make something of himself.

  10. I read this book a long time ago but what stuck with me was that I really thought that she could fix things to save herself the whole time through. Like it was Groundhog’s Day (the movie) and she had to find the piece of the puzzle to make things right. I think I read it too fast to see that by making it right she was still going to be gone but she was fixing things for Juliet. I am disturbed by the amount of drinking and partying that YA do, not that itwas unrealistic, but that it happens so much and has for so long. I wish there were a better way to address this issue and take away some of the coolness to make things safer from here on out.

  11. Okay so let me just say this is my FAVORITE book:) but at the end, does Sam really die?? or was Kent the guy who saved her?

  12. Omg best book ever! I finally understand it! Sam died but she was given a week to correct the mistakes that shes done in her life so she can be rememberd in that way. At first sam didnt exept her death, but then she started to fix things in her life that she did wrong and she found out that she didnt have to save her llife, but save another persons life. Thats y at the end of the story she dies to save juliets life. Awesome book i started crying at the end!!!! Lauren oliver ily!!!!

  13. I want to know why Sam was able to relive her last day, who made it so she was able to? Was it just fate? Her destiny? I wish the force of who was responsible was pointed out although it may have just been the way it is. Overall it was a very good book and I as a teenager would recommend it to everyone. I think it makes you look differently at life and death and maybe makes you think death isnt so scary, if you live your life right. I really loved loved loved how Sam became more open minded sort of and how she began to really truly open her eyes and look at her surroundings and appreciate them and link them to other memories.The ending honestly was very confusing, i sort of hoped they Sam and Juliet both lived because the end states how someone says “You saved me” as if Juliet said that to Sam thanking her.It seems like Sams good life had been enough for her to die so soon and now Juliet’s miserable life finally has a chance to live a good, fulfilling life, like Sam. I feel like a theme for this book would to be simply appreciate what you have and enjoy them before its too late. Life is too short and although its the longest thing any human can ever do i feel as if it truly is something short because time zips by so fast before you can sit back and enjoy it.

  14. I guess we knew she’d die from the beginning but at the end of the book I was really hoping that she’d be able to live. Especially after the part with Kent, so cute!!!

  15. do you think sam died? sometimes i like to think that she did not die, because at the beginning of the book it talks about second chances, but at the end, sam talks about letting go. But i like to think she did not die; that she lived to see Izzy graduate. am i right?

  16. I feel really creepy right now, because I think the teacher “happenning” was one of the best parts of the book. And I think it had to happen, it had the right impact, you and other people were disgusted. I don’t think that YA books have to be (ok, I’m not English native and I can’t think of a good work, but) “correct”. It was better this way, to show what kids can come across. It’s better that he didn’t walk away, and that all that happened, and that after that Sam felt horrible. Much better than if he just walked away, she wouldn’t have that change on her attitude, she wouldn’t make the readers understand how that is so wrong.

    I liked the book, but it is definetely not one of my favorites. I didn’t like the ending. I came here because of it, I also thought it was confusing and was trying to find some answers. Didn’t anybody think that Juliet’s life will actually be worse after what happened? Sam didn’t do anything to avoid having the girls keep treating Juliet like they do. The only thing I can think now is that Lindsay will blame Juliet for Sam’s death and will make her life even worse, “Psycho killed Sam”. I wish Sam talked about it with Juliet, and with Lindsay. Like the day before. I wish she told Lindsay that she knows what happened between them, and that she doesn’t have to act that way, people will still love her. I wish she told Juliet she knew, and told her LIndsay was waiting for her to “stand up for herself” or I don’t know, try to make her understand. Why would she give up on the idea of killing herself then? Just because Sam saved her? She was so determined.

    And it kills me that Kent won’t understand what happened. He won’t know why she suddenly changed with him. I don’t think she explained enough. I like the day before, kissing on the porch, better. I wish she told him she finally saw him, she finally realized what he meant to her. Even worse, now that he just “got the girl”, she dies. I would be miserable.

    But I have this idea that all that happened actually didn’t happen. That it was only on her mind, before she died the first time.

  17. Oh, but I really liked the way she changed over the days. At the beggining I was really pissed, it took me a long time to read the first two or three chapters. Then finally I started getting the feeling of it, when she finally starts opening her mind, understand what’s happening… and I couldn’t let go of the book. Read the rest of it in a few days.

    I don’t know if I didn’t get the book or what, because I felt like Sam was kind of selfish. She died knowing she fixed everything in her life, but nobody else knows that. Nobody else understands why she did what she did. Not that she had to tell the truth, but at least make people understand. I don’t know, it’s just how I see it right now.

  18. The ending of “Before I Fall” left me with two points that others have mentioned. I agree with @Dani that it’s quite possible that Lindsay, Elody and Ally will unleash hell on Juliet as an outlet for their collective grief. Their best friend died attempting to save Juliet. There is no reason to believe that Juliet will not still end up following Samantha into the grave, especially if she continues to be tormented by the survivors (and deals with her own “survivor’s guilt”). Just because Juliet’s life was saved doesn’t mean it was made any easier.

    My other issue is of a more “nerdy” nature. In every other version of Feb. 12, Juliet dies. On the seventh and final iteration, she lives. Doesn’t this create some type of paradox? I suppose if we accept that reality is composed of “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” material, Juliet’s death was not a fixed point in time.

    Finally, here’s a little comfort from a male perspective for all of you Kent fans. Don’t worry about him. I read “Before I Fall” shortly after reading John Green’s “Looking for Alaska.” I’m also a huge fan of Geoffrey Eugenides “The Virgin Suicides.” The common thread in those books is that, for some guys, a single moment with a dream girl is a permanent source of joy, not regret. While many believe that Kent would feel cheated by having only one moment with Samantha, I prefer to think of Kent thanking heaven each night that he was given that moment. He would protect it like the flame of a single candle in an endless, wind-swept night.

  19. So we have to make up the end and decide that she might have survived or died

  20. I loved the book but im very confused on a couple of things in the book, so was Sam really stuck living the same day over and over again? And if she was wouldn’t she had been already dead? The last thing im confused about is the ending.. did Sam die? And the blonde halo she said she saw… was that Sam saying she saw Juliet in the hospital or something?

    • Amber I read it so long ago I cant recall all the details of the ending – but rereading my review here and the comments the author made – yes, Sam is dead – and yes she lives the same day over but in the end she dies again every time. I don’t remember the halo scene :)

  21. I just finished this book and had to re-read the last few pages a couple of times unable to believe SHE DIES IN THE END!!! And then I cried….silly I know, but it rocked me. All she went through to help everyone else never to help herself. I liked the book up until the end.

  22. So I liked this book but I was reeeeeally confused at the end. So I understand Sam dies and Juliet lives. However.. Does that mean that last day (the day Sam saves Juliet) , that’s how life will go on from that point? Like all the other characters will remember that night and like it really happened right? So I guess Sam never got in the initial crash from the first night .. Or she did but then that’s not how the rest of the characters know of? They only know of the last day which is Sam wasn’t even in the car, that after the party she saved Juliet. So in the end all of the characters know Sam for saving Juliet and dying from the process.. Not that Sam got in a car crash with her friends .. Right? I understand all those days in between were only ones Sam knew of. But so I guess what started this whole thing (her death in Lindsay’s car after the first crash) never even is what killed her? So how could the first six days just be on repeat and not have happened except for the last one.. I guess cause she finally figured out life and that she needed to save Juliet ? I just wish there was a clearer ending or alternate ending.

  23. hi!,I really like your writing so so much! proportion we communicate mokre
    about your post on AOL?I need a specialist in this house
    to unravel my problem. May be that is you! Having a look ahead to look you.

  1. Pingback: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver « One Persons Journey through a world of Books

Hmmmm... what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,975 other followers