Before I Fall


Lauren Oliver

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Themes and Colors
Fate vs. Agency Theme Icon
Popularity, Status, and Social Capital Theme Icon
Cruelty and Loyalty in Friendship and Love Theme Icon
Rebirth, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Before I Fall, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Fate vs. Agency

When teen Samantha Kingston and her friends Lindsay, Ally, and Elody are involved in a car accident on a Friday night at the beginning of Before I Fall, it seems like just that: an accident. Sam wakes up the next morning and believes that the accident was a nightmare—until the prior day’s events begin repeating, and she realizes that the accident may have been more than just chance. Each day for seven…

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Popularity, Status, and Social Capital

Sam Kingston and her friends Lindsay, Ally, and Elody are the queen bees of Thomas Jefferson high school in the affluent community of Ridgeview, Connecticut. Obsessed with fashion, social media, social capital, and, indeed, themselves, the four girls torment underclassmen, nerds like Kent McFuller, and “freaks” like Juliet Sykes. The social ecosystem of Thomas Jefferson is both fragile and rigid, and it often seems there’s only one direction in which…

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Cruelty and Loyalty in Friendship and Love

Samantha Kingston’s friendships, romances, and familial relationships—the relationships that lie at the heart of Before I Fall—are all defined by her competing instincts toward cruelty and loyalty. Haunted by a childhood of being bullied by the very girl who has, in high school, become her best friend—the sexy, cool, and mega-popular Lindsay Edgecombe—Sam understands that cruelty is often random, and that loyalty offers an escape from that randomness. Her loyalty to Lindsay…

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Rebirth, Renewal, and Redemption

The plot of Before I Fall plays out in a time loop that rewinds, resets, and replays each day. This loop repeats seven times in total, and although it often ends in death, pain, and suffering, the events of Friday, February 12th restart the next morning as if nothing has happened. The narrative of Before I Fall is designed to frustrate the reader just as deeply as it frustrates its protagonist, Samantha Kingston, who…

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