02-07-2010 05:24 PM
This was my first ARC book and I believe that it was worth it. As you wanted, I found it extremely hard to like Sam and her friends in the beginning of the book. I just graduated from college and reading about Sam, Lindsay, Ally, and Elody reminds me so well of high school and the popular mean girls who would always bully the not so popular students.
I think it was hard for me to sympathize with Sam in the beginning half of the book since I didn't like her very much, but as she continued re-living her last day and learning from her mistakes, I gradually found myself liking her more and more. I especially liked how she and Kent were able to reconnect and how Kent was kind of like the catalyst in helping her change.
By the time I reached the ending, I realized I had been hoping with fingers crossed, that the ending would be been happy for everyone. Sadly, even though it was a bittersweet ending, it was still a wonderful book. Reading this book has made me wish for a Kent of my own
This book is a great book that shows how decisions can affect our lives. I only hope that your next book will come out soon, as I cannot wait to read what other books you may write.
02-08-2010 01:56 AM
Thank you for writing this book that I am enjoying immensely. I wish I could tell you that I disliked Samantha immediately but I did not. I could sense her immaturity (as so many teenagers are) but I felt a sense of hope and wanting in her thoughts. I can say that I hated Lindsey from the word go. She is the picture of the queen bee and a character I avoid in real life as well! I feel fortunate to not have come across these girls in school although I may have been a bit invisible during 9th grade.
While reading your book, I am enjoying reliving so many parts of my high school years, the little things like sitting in a car with my boyfriend senior year, after a football game, when he told me he loved me the first time, and the big things like getting into college.
As I continue Samantha's journey I know that there is a huge audience for this novel. I have already begun sharing my thoughts with my friends with daughters and the girls who babysit for me! I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's thoughts on your characters and story as well.
02-08-2010 07:55 AM
First, I want to say that your book was brilliantly written, far surpassing my expectations, especially for an author's first book! I can only imagine how great future books will be!
You have succeeded wildly in your first goal: I could not stand any of the main characters! I could see a glimmer of hope in Sam, but other than that, I found them all self absorbed, and knew many people in my life who were like that.
By the end of the book, I did understand why Lindsay, Ally, and Elody were the way they were. However, I felt that if Lindsay could've changed her ways, even just a little, I would have liked her a whole lot more. About Sam, it was mixed feelings. I was glad she changed her ways and stopped thinking of herself so much. However, I felt she was being a bit hypocritical, especially after calling out Lindsay multiple times, then noting how she was the best friend she ever had and wishing she would never change.
But beyond that, I loved your writing style, and could hardly put the book down!!
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
02-08-2010 09:41 AM
Dear Lauren..I am following the 2 Chapter schedule..How hard is that for me..Very..I am also following you on twitter.mentioned your book to my followers...I am off to work,and will post later.I just wanted to say Good Morning..VTC Susan...
02-08-2010 10:48 AM
Thank you for sharing Sam and her life with all of us. I am a grandma and maybe not your target audience but I am loving this story of the difficulties of growing up. My intention is to finish the book and send it to my 13 year old grand daughter. Also, I promise to buy a copy of the book when it is released and donate it to our public library. It's a good book.
02-08-2010 10:55 AM
Thank you so much for your wondrous introduction and –obviously- for sharing your book with all us. I just finished Before I fall and I loved it, so I want to congratulate you for writing such a wonderful YA book. This is my first time on a First Look Book and yours my first ARC. I am so glad my first experiencie have been so good.
At the beginning I didn’t like neither Sam nor her friends –you were right!- but gradually I did like Sam (and Kent! ). I’m 17 and Sam’s friends make me remind all these kind of stupid girls in my highschool... I was expecting for a happy ending, but I liked the bittersweet end: perfect.
I’m going to lend your book to my friends, hoping the enjoy it so much as I have liked it ^^
02-08-2010 11:34 AM
I finished the first chapter last night and I gotta say you have you wish on the first one so far. I really don't like Sam or her friends. It is really well written though and I'm looking forward to reading the rest. I'm glad your book got to participate in this.
02-08-2010 12:06 PM
Thank you so much for making your book available to us. It is such a unique experience to be able read the book in advance and to hear the author's thoughts about the book and the decisions that you weighed when creating the characters and plot twists.
I've just finished the first two chapters and you will not be disappointed to hear that I did not like Sam and her friends at all. Their characterization does seem realistic and I look forward to finding out what happens next.
I am so thrilled to be participating in the First Look Book Club at BN.com, and equally thrilled (and grateful) that you have chosen to participate. I am sure that you all have many demands on your time, and many ways in which to spend your leisure hours—the fact that you have chosen to dedicate some of them to my book means so much to me.
I have two hopes for you as you begin to read Before I Fall. The first is simply this: I hope that in the beginning, you do not like the main character, Samantha, or her three best friends. I hope you find them mean, petty, self-absorbed, and superficial.
This might seem paradoxical or just plain odd. Isn’t it the major goal of a writer to create sympathetic characters? But actually, I might go even further. I would wish, in an ideal world, that you did not like them and that you did not find them realistic; that if you found them mean, you also found them unrecognizably so; if self-absorbed and superficial and occasionally cruel, also incomprehensible.
In an ideal world, I would hope that you had never met, and would never in your life meet, people like Sam and her friends.
My guess, however—or maybe my gamble?—is that you will both dislike them and find them all-too-familiar.
My second hope is more conventional. I hope that by the end of the book you will love Sam, and that you will have come to a deeper understanding of her friends, with all of their faults and frailties.
This is a book about a lot of things. It’s about friendship, and connection, and the things that give life meaning; it’s also about kisses, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and small towns, and errors in judgment, and social hierarchies. But above all, it’s a novel about change. Sam grows and becomes better, as I believe we can all grow and become better, no matter what our circumstances.
In that way, I think, it is also a novel about hope. And so you might say I have a third wish for you: I hope that hope is what you find in its pages.
02-08-2010 01:09 PM
I have to say I really enjoyed your book, I read it one day. However, I must say I was shocked by your message to us that started this thread. I would never have guessed that you were hoping we'd hate Sam and her friends at first and that we never meet anyone like them. I admit I didn't love Sam at first and even at the end I'm not sure I would say I loved the girls as they (minus Sam) all seemed rather shallow and self-absored still. Yet, despite all that, at no point did I hate them. In the beginning, I guess I fell far from your ideal because I found the characters fairly realistic. I thought they typified a high school mentality that is very superficial and self-absorbed. I am embarrassed to say I can remember quite clearly large groups of students (yes, myself included) tormenting the "losers" for no other reason then we could and that it was good for quick laugh. I remember, like Sam and her friends, not once considering how the teased might feel or what kind of long term consequences it might have, it was just something to do. At the same time I also remember the obvious disgust a "popular" girl had when she had to be partners with me on a school project, just like Sam's disgust at the girl in Chemistry class and dreading Valentine's day because I knew I would get so few flowers (carnations at our school). I also felt they were realistic and could never bring myself to hate the characters because like real people they weren't all evil, they had numerous redeeming qualities. this was why I was so shocked that you felt ideally we would hate them and find them unrealistic. In my mind, I had thought you had gone out of your way to make sure we saw them as real people with their own real sufferings and their own real gifts. From the beginning you show how tight knit the 4 girls are and how loyal and supporting they are for each other. Their genuine love of one another is obvious. You also mention early on that Elody has an alcoholic mother, that Ally suffers from anorexia and that Sam was teased terribly when she was young. As for Lindsay, you hint early on and later confirm she was date raped. These burdens were in additon to the regular pressures of high school and the pressures to stay popular. As I said, it seemed to me that you did such an eloquent job of weaving these elements in to your story that from the beginning that I found myself pitying these girls not hating them and rooting for them to find a better path.
02-08-2010 02:53 PM
nookerIA I really agree with you on this point! If I had a teenager I would encourage them to read this book because it teaches so much about the high school experience. There is so much pressure in high school to be cool, and all that comes with it. This book helps you realize that "being cool" and all you have to do to reach that level just aren't worth it. There are so many more important things in life. I think this book offers parents a great way to help start the discussion of teen drinking, and sex, and all those things that kids may be pressured into doing in an effort to become cool. Due to the fact that all of this is discussed in such a riveting book makes me enjoy this story all that much more. Thanks so much for allowing this opportunity to read and discuss this book!
When I first started reading the book, I thought to myself, "there is no way I will let my fifteen year-old-daughter read this" Before I was half way through the book, that I finished in three days, I'd changed my mind. The book deals with a variety of teen-topics such as under-age drinking, smoking, bullying and suicide. These topics are timeless when it comes to teenagers. When my daughter finishes reading it, I look forward to discussing it with her. Thank you Lauren for a book that will be on teen reading lists for years to come.
02-08-2010 04:56 PM
I haven't finished it yet...but I find it very interesting and hard to put down. I am trying to not read to the boards b/c i don't want anything to spoil it. So far I am throughly enjoying it. I am excited to get to read this before it hits the shelfs
02-08-2010 08:12 PM
Thank you for this wonderful novel. It was amazingly written, and I, like your editor, think you have a lot of talent. In the beginning I did find Sam and her friends pretty self-involved and petty. I think they were relate-able, because their are so many girls out there like Sam and her friends sadly. It really was all-too-familiar.
In the end though, I really did love Sam, for fixing most of her mistakes, and ultimately becoming a better person.
Again your book is one of my favorites and i think it is truly amazing. The characters, the emotions, everything(: Can't wait to discuss it with you! Thanks!
02-08-2010 08:27 PM
Hi! I'm so glad you have given us the opportunity to read your book in the First Look Bookclub. I personally think your timing on such a subject as 'mean girls' is perfect and should speak to many young adult readers (as well as us adults).
Wishing you plenty of success with your book!
02-09-2010 10:31 AM
Dear Lauren..I hope you are enjoying our posts,as much as we are into your book,Before I Fall....I did watch the trailer again..Both uk and Us..Brings it all into focus for me...Middle of Chapter 3..I stopped..Just a few more days,and I will continue again..I will just say one more thing"Kent"..Bye Lauren , Looking forward to chatting with you...Vtc Suan
02-09-2010 01:01 PM
Thank you for such a thought provoking book. Upon reading this book, I think that every teenager and every adult should read this book.
For teenagers, it will give them a deep look into how they act and maybe give them a fresh glimpse into how thier friends act. Sometimes we dont know what we are giving up to get something we desire.
For adults, it is a good look into the past and maybe change the way you treat people now compared with who you were as a teenager.
The issues that are in Before I Fall are issues that every teenager and some preteens have to deal with in todays 'if you dont succeed you are a loser' world. These are lessons and values that our culture is teaching our children and they are taking it into adulthood. We all make mistakes and we must try to learn from them.
This is an important book to open the gateway of communication between parents and children to discuss the complicated issues that are the teenage years. Sometimes its easier to talk about the problems when they are someone elses but we can still learn good lessons.
I think this is a wonderful book about tolerance, difference, and learning to become an independant thinker and not feel like we have to do what everyone else is doing. It is okay to be different. Life is not about stuff but about relationships.
This is a story that is timeless!
02-09-2010 04:41 PM
I've only read the first two chapters so far because I am trying to stay with the schedule but keep itching to go farther in. I am glad to know Sam was supposed to be disliked from the beginning.
Aimee I have a question for you: did you have any issues with the parents of your students as to the content of the book? I don't know what happens past the beginning by the smoking, drinking and casual attitude towards sex seem like they might bother some parents. My children are only starting out in school so I don't know how I will feel once they get to be that age, but I wondered about the content and intended audience.
02-10-2010 12:42 PM
i loved this book! it hit so close to home because i live in a small town and no people that really act like this. i hated Sam and her friends in the beginning but by the end i did love her. she really learned the lesson she was supposed to and even though it took reliving her last day 6 times that was the beauty of it. i literally could not put this book down! i finished it in one day throughout the day i was reading it walking down the hallways at school, every chance i could in classes, and even at lunch with my friends calling me a book nerd! i didnt care it was that good of a book! great job on Before I Fall and i am looking forward to any more books you might write! thank you for sharing this one with me!!
02-10-2010 05:47 PM
I think you really hit the nail on the head in terms of achieving what you were hoping for. In the first chapter, I absolutely couldn't stand the characters. In fact, I had a hard time getting through that chapter because I found the people so unenjoyable. However, once Sam has realized what's happened, I've seen a miraculous transformation. Although I still have 3 days left, I am liking Sam more each day. Excellent!
02-10-2010 06:16 PM
Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to read this book, I loved it! It couldn't put it down and so I spent all day reading it, at first hating Sam and wondering why you had done this, then around dinner time I liked her so much better and I thought it was a fantastic book!!! You should write a similar book, perhaps from the perspective of one of Sam's friends and I bet it will have the same effect. Overall it was an amazing book, and I can't think of any criticism now, but I will let you know when I do!
02-11-2010 05:30 PM
I can honestly say I loved this book. I couldn't put it down! The second it came in the mail I read it for 8 hours straight. It was also my first experience with an ARC and I enjoyed it immensely. This book was a fantastic journey! As you intended, I hated Sam and the girls at the beginning of the book; they're everything you despise about high school. But by the end I loved Sam- despite all the things she'd done, she matured and showed her immense courage and sense of conviction in the final pages. I'm looking forward to anything you decide to write in future .