Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

“Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver

 HarperCollins 2010

From the cover, the buzz, the title, the publisher, I just assumed the book was another pleasant contemporary “hot” little read. I wanted to take a break from sifting through the contemporary historical fiction — all that bloodshed in Vietnam, all these arrests in Argentina . . . (still working on that list by the way, people!! https://katiaraina.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/where-is-my-super-duper-list-of-contemporary-historical-fiction-sorry-still-working-on-it/)

When I moved past the cover, I discovered a raw literary masterpiece that blew me away. A deep and lyrical YA read that has words like “BEEYATCH!” in it, if you can believe that. It is a fantasy that didn’t read like a fantasy, or magical realism or whatever, because it felt so true.

One of the amazon.com reviews questioned the consistency/believability of the ending.


Usually, I am real strict with this as a reader — every single little detail has to match, make sense, etc. This time, yes, now that I think about it, there were coincidences, there was magic unexplained. But did I care? Did I once think about it when I was reading?

I believed every word.

When I become a teacher, it’s a book I will teach to my students, bad words and all. I think everyone should read it. Go read it. Drop everything and read it — then come back here and tell me you didn’t gain amazing new insights into being a human, into being a parent, or a teen, or whoever you are. I dare you! 



May 6, 2010 - Posted by | Book Impressions |


  1. I actually just started this, so im in the first 50 pages. but so far its good! But wow, for you to actually teach it to your students, im expecting it to be a real life lesson and an awesome book! This made me more excited now! Thanks for the review!

    Comment by InMyShelf | September 19, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi, and thanks for stopping at my blog,

      No, I don’t teach it — I don’t have any students to teach, unfortunately. I was studying education, but then abandoned that idea…But if I did become a teacher, boy would I love to teach this, if I were allowed to. I can imagine the great discussions students could have on all the moral questions raised by this story. You’re going to love it.


      Comment by Katia Raina | September 20, 2011 | Reply

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