Read Before I Fall Online

Authors: Lauren Oliver

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Juvenile Fiction

Before I Fall (44 page)

Floating images, moving in and out: bright green eyes and a field of sun-warmed grass, a mouth saying,
Sam, Sam, Sam
, making it sound like a song. Three faces blooming together like flowers on a single stem, names ebbing away from me, a single word:
. Red and white flashes, tree branches lit up like the vaulted ceiling of a church.

And a face above mine, white and beautiful, eyes as large as the moon.
You saved me.
A hand on my cheek, cool and dry.
Why did you save me?
Words welling up on a tide:
No. The opposite.
Eyes the color of a dawn sky, a crown of blond hair, so bright and white and blinding I could swear it was a halo.

They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happens for me.

I see only my greatest hits. The things I want to remember, and be remembered for. The time in Cape Cod when Izzy and I snuck down to the bay at midnight and tried to catch crabs with leftover hamburger meat, and the moon was so fat and round it looked like something you could sit on. When Ally tried to make a soufflé and came marching into the kitchen with a roll of toilet paper on her head like a chef’s hat, and Elody laughed so hard she peed a little bit and swore us all to secrecy. Lindsay throwing her arms around us and saying, “Love you to death,” and all of us echoing, “And even then.” Lying on the deck on hot August afternoons with the smell of grass shavings and flowers so heavy in the air, it’s like you’re tasting them. The time it snowed on Christmas, and my dad split up one of the old TV tables in the basement to use as firewood, and my mom made apple cider, and we tried to remember the words to “Silent Night” but ended up singing all our favorite show tunes.

And kissing Kent, because that’s when I realized that time doesn’t matter. That’s when I realized that certain moments go on forever. Even after they’re over they still go on, even after you’re dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on into infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once.

They are the meaning.

I’m not scared, if that’s what you’re wondering. The moment of death is full of sound and warmth and light, so much light it fills me, absorbs me: a tunnel of light shooting away, arcing up and up and up, and if singing were a feeling it would be this, this light, this lifting, like laughing…


The rest you have to find out for yourself.


In no particular order, many thanks…

To Stephen Barbara, the ultimate hustler and the greatest agent in the world; to Lexa Hillyer, for being the first to read any part of
Before I Fall
and love it; to the incredible Brenda Bowen, for being the first to believe in it; and to the wonderful Molly O’Neill, for her enthusiasm and for making

To Rosemary Brosnan, for her intelligence, acuity, and sensitivity; to everyone at HarperTeen, for the insane quantities of support and for giving me Magnolia cupcakes when I was jet-lagged.

To Cameron McClure of the Donald Maas Literary Agency, for her hard work and continued advocacy on behalf of the book.

To DUB Pies in Brooklyn for keeping me caffeinated and happy.

To Dujeous, for the generous use of their lyrics. Check them out at

To Mary Davison, who might teach us all something about living life to the fullest.

To all of my amazing, brilliant friends, for inspiring and challenging me; and in particular to Patrick Manasse, for being a patient listener and a tough critic.

To Olivier, for being immensely supportive, even when I was struggling.

To Deirdre Fulton, Jacqueline Novak, and Laura Smith, a single word:

To my parents, for filling our house with books I could fall in love with—and later, for encouraging me to pursue my dreams—and always, for their constant love and support.

To my brilliant sister, for being someone I will always look up to.

And lastly, to Pete: For encouraging me to go to graduate school and helping me get on my feet once I did; for letting me frantically edit in Harbor Springs; for always being so proud of me; and because whatever I was writing, I was always trying to write my way back to you.

About the Author

was previously an editorial assistant at a publishing company in New York. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the MFA program at New York University, she is now a full-time writer and lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first novel.

You can visit her online at and

Visit for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author.

Jacket photo © 2010 by Veer Incorporated

Jacket design by Joel Tippie

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Dujeous, LLC, for permission to reprint their lyrics.


From the Musical Production

Lyric by Martin Charnin

Music by Charles Strouse © 1977 (Renewed) EDWIN H. MORRIS & COMPANY, a division of MPL Music Publishing, Inc. and CHARLES STROUSE

All rights on behalf of CHARLES STROUSE owned by CHARLES STROUSE PUBLISHING (administered by WILLIAMSON MUSIC)

All Rights Reserved Used by Permission

“Psycho Killer”



All rights administered by WB MUSIC CORP. (ASCAP)

All Rights Reserved

. Copyright © 2010 by Lauren Oliver. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Oliver, Lauren, date

Before I fall / Lauren Oliver.—1st ed.

   p. cm.

Summary: After she dies in a car crash, teenage Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again until she finally discovers why she has been given this chance.

ISBN 978-0-06-172680-4

[1. Dead—Fiction. 2. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 3. Popularity—Fiction. 4. Self-perception—Fiction. 5. Conduct of life—Fiction. 6. High schools—Fiction. 7. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.O475If 2010         2009007288

[Fic]—dc22                  CIP


EPub Edition © January 2010 ISBN: 978-0-06-198749-6

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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