Before I Fall is a book by Lauren Oliver about Samantha Kingston, who is pretty, popular, has the best friends in the world and an amazing boyfriend. It seems that Friday, February 12, is going to be just another normal day, with school, friends, and partying. However, it ends with a horrible car crash that kills Sam and goodness-knows who else.But instead of being sent to the Pearly Gates or thrust down into the fiery pits of Hades, Sam wakes up, in her bed, the morning of February 12. No one but her has any idea that she died the day before. Sam relives the same day for a week, learning more about the effects of her actions and realizing she didn't know as much about anything, including her self, friends, and schoolmates, than she thought she knew. A well received book that refuses to let characters fall into teen stereotypes, and is written by somebody who clearly understands actual teens.Described as a mix of Groundhog Day andMean Girls.(Needs more love.)
This show provides examples of:
A-Cup Angst: Sam isn't totally flat, but she isn't happy with her chest size, especially compared to Ally.
Adorkable: KENT. Izzy has shades of this, especially with her lisp.
Dysfunctional Family: HEAVILY implied with Lindsay and There's something a bit...off about Juliet's mother, and while we don't see her father, Sam comments that he sounds like an angry, barking dog.
Eating Disorder: Ally has issues with food. Lindsay is downright bulimic, but, when Sam catches her in the bathroom, denies it.
Embarrassing First Name: Invoked in one loop with a rude cashier called Irma refuses to let Sam buy expensive clothes with her mom's stolen credit card. When Sam gives her fake I.D, she blurts out the S stands for Severus. The Pugs then add, "I'm sure you understand. It's Irma, right?" and "Did people ever call you Worma when you were little? Or Squirma?"
Establishing Character Moment: Lindsay gets hers in the prologue when she announces in front of the whole gym class she won't have a girl called Vicki on her team because, "She's too fat. You could hit her with your eyes closed." and everyone laughs, even though the girl isn't even actuallly fat.
Extreme Doormat: Elody. Even when Sam calls Lindsay out for being so horrible to her behind her back, she still sides with Lindsay over Sam, and it's implied the main reason is fear, and she gets called a "pushover" several times. She also seems to be the recurring Butt Monkey out of the four girls (though Sam and Ally do get their share) and her friend with benefits Steve doesn't pay her much attention.
Juliet also, at least before her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the main four, as she never tried standing up for herself when everyone made fun of her, although whether it was out of loyalty to Lindsay isn't totally clear. As Juliet herself says, "I thought it would pass."
Get Out: In the fourth loop, Sam bursts out with a fierce "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Lindsay on the way to school. Lindsay evicts her from the car, forcing her to walk to school in a thin jacket. In February.
Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Sam has no problem with smokers (including Lindsay), but their teacher Ms. Winters is on a personal vendetta to ban smoking at their school ever since her (Ms. Winters') mother died of a nicotine-related lung disease.
Hidden Depths: Everyone - that's part of the message. Two unpleasant teachers turn out to be secret lovers. Ally is a talented chef in spite of her weight concerns. Elody's mother is an alcoholic. The school's "bad girl", Anna Cartullo, is a fan of the surrealist artist MC Escher. Lindsay used to be friends with Juliet, until she blamed Juliet for wetting the sleeping bag at summer camp when it was actually Lindsay's own doing. The reason she bullied Juliet afterwards was either to stop her from telling, or to challenge her to stand up for herself - it's never quite clear which. Juliet has a loving family, including a younger sister just like Sam.
High School: Thomas Jefferson High School, also known in-universe as "Suicide High".
Hot Teacher: Sam's overly flirtatious math teacher, Mr. Daimler.
Somewhat inverted when he actually takes it further when Sam flirts with him when they're alone and she realises he's not as cool as she thought. She says to him later, "If you had a real girlfriend, you wouldn't be hitting on highschool girls."
Informed Attribute: Elody is described as "the nicest" of the four, but we don't see much of it except in the things she doesn't do, i. e. protest when Lindsay makes fun of her, or ignore her boyfriend's neglect.
Jerkass: There are a few, but most notable Lindsay, (although she at the very least has a Freudian Excuse), Sam's boyfriend Rob and Alex Liment, who is cheating on his girlfriend Bridget with Anna Cartullo and everyone (except Bridget) knows about it.
Rob gets special mention for telling Sam when she breaks up with him, "I should have screwed Gabby Hayes when she offered." and publically embarrassing her the first time she ever asked him out, just because he was more popular then her.
Jerk Jock: Sam's boyfriend, Rob, a lacrosse player.
My God, What Have I Done?: Sam's immediate reaction with she inadvertantly calls Elody an alcoholic. The girls (barring Lindsay) have this reaction when they hear about Juliet's suicide.
Na´ve Everygirl: Sam makes a point of how ordinary she is, though she's a bit less good-natured than most examples.
Never My Fault: Lindsay. During the timeloop where Sam skips Kent's party and the girls stay at Ally's house, Juliet shoots herself. Linday's reaction is, "She's better off this way." Even Elody and Ally think this is going too far and pointedly sleep in a different room. Sam herself says to Lindsay, "You were her best friend."
The Nicknamer: Lindsay, and most of her creations are quite vicious: Juliet "Psycho" Sykes, Ben "Fart-sky", "The Turkey Jerk", Ms. Winters "The Nicotine Nazi", etc. She even calls a trio of girls who are supposed to be friends of theirs "The Pugs" (pretty far away, ugly up-close.)
Even her friends aren't always immune - Sam says when Lindsay's in a bad mood she calls her "Samuel", referencing her less-then-ample bust.
Rob makes up several nicknames for Sam, like "Slammer", "Sammo", "Slugger", etc.
Not So Different: Sam and Juliet. Lindsay used to bully Sam the same way she does Juliet, spreading the rhyme, "What's red and white and weird all over? Sam Kingston!" to mock her skin condition the same way she called Juliet "Mellow Yellow." Of course, Sam only discovers this during one of the loops, and before that she comments that the fact Lindsay used to bully her is one of the things they never talk about.
Anna Cartullo and Elody also qualify, as both of them are generally a lot kinder than people think but both of them are branded as "sluts".
No Sparks: Sam is secretly disgusted by Rob's sloppy kissing technique.
The Ophelia: Juliet, called "The Psycho", who never speaks, hides behind her hair, and is described drifting along hallways "like a dandelion seed".
Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Sam used to be a loser and Lindsay used to pick on her and Rob humiliated her when she confessed she liked him because she was "uncool". When Lindsay befriended her, though, Sam abandoned her "nerdy" hobbies to fit in with her, and as such becomes something of an Alpha Bitch herself. (Although she really just goes along with what Lindsay wants, at least at first.)
Shadow Archetype: Arguably, Juliet is this to Sam. Both of them were bullied by Lindsay in the past, but whereas Juliet starts out as her best friend and could even qualify as a Fallen Princess, Sam and Lindsay become friends just before high-school. Sam becomes one of Lindsay's Alpha Bitch followers, ditching her old hobbies to fit in, whereas Juliet becomes an extremely unpopular loner because of Lindsay's bullying. The fact that Juliet is the key to Sam breaking out of her "Groundhog Day" Loop is possibly a reflection of this.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Juliet, as an in-universe example. When she chews Sam and the other three out, Sam comments, "But I can't stop looking at her. I never knew she was so pretty."
Sam counts herself, in one of the loops she buys a really expensive dress, gets her makeup done by a professional and says, "I look at least twenty-five." and three random college boys comment she's hot.
Shrinking Violet: Sam comments a picture of Juliet "looks like she wants to suck herself out of the frame entirely."
A couple of girls have been getting this treatment due to rumors that they really get around.
Immediately after her death, Sam's thoughts directly address the reader, wondering if they feel like she deserved to die because of what she'd done. Part of this is suggesting that some readers might think she deserved to die simply because she was planning to go all the way with her boyfriend.
The girls compete over who receives the most roses for Valentine's Day and torment Juliet by sending her one every year with the words "Maybe next year, but probably not". Sam remedies this on the last day by sending her another one that reads "It's never too late".
Kent gives Sam a particularly beautiful cream-and-pink one.
Stepford Smiler: Lindsay, of all people, actually has a very difficult time coping with her parent's divorce and it's implied she's bulimic.
Starbucks tastes like "Dog pee strained through a trash bag." according to Sam.
Their First Time: Planned between Sam and Rob the night of the party, mostly for Sam to "get it over with". But with every loop, the prospect seems less and less appealing — on the sixth day, she plays a nasty prank to get rid of him, and on the seventh day, she finally breaks up with him in a mature, considerate manner. The sex never does happen, and she's more relieved than anything else.
This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The word "bitch" is thrown around often, but Juliet uses it to great effect when she crashes Kent's party to give Sam, Lindsay, Ally and Elody a piece of her mind.
ThoseThreeGirls: Tara, Bethany and Courtney, whom Sam hangs out with during the loop she has a fight with Lindsay and becomes their leader, remarking, "This is how Lindsay must feel all the time."
Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kent, who's been in love with Sam for years even though she shows him nothing but contempt. Even when she does realize she loves him back, one kiss is all they get before the end.
What Does She See in Him?: Sam has coveted Rob for a long time, but to the reader he seems kind of dumb and eventually turns out to be a total jerk. It's implied that beneath her praise of him, Sam might be aware of this fact herself, but since Rob is popular she ignores it.
Wild Teen Party: Kent has one, and it leads to the deaths of Juliet and/or Sam, depending on the night.
Elody dies in one of the later timeloops, since she sits in the passenger seat instead of Sam.