Before I Fall
Reading Level: Ages 12+
This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read, produced a video book talk (link below) and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.
- If you could relive something in your life what would it be? Explain why.
- What holiday means the most to you? Explain why.
- If you could live one day over what would it be? Explain why?
- Is there acceptance of all students at your school? What would you change about the way students treat each other? Why?
- In the first section, why do Sam’s friends think she was quiet and didn’t want to go to the party? What’s the real reason behind her actions?
- In section four, why does Sam act and dress the way she does? How does everyone around her react? (Give four examples.)
- How are the scenarios changing for Sam? How does the scenario change as Sam goes through the day?
- What happens to Sam in the party in section four? Explain how her views change about her friends and other people she previously didn’t like.
- When Sam meets Juliet’s younger sister, Marian, how does she change her way of thinking toward Juliet?
- Describe how the people act at Thomas Jefferson High. How are the "unpopular" people treated?
- How is Thomas Jefferson High like and unlike your school?
- What does Cupid's Day actually represent to the students at Thomas Jefferson? Why is the number of roses so important?
- What does Sammy think about death when she dies? What does she say?
- What happens between Juliet and everyone at Kent's party? What does this tell you about all of the party goers?
- Why doesn’t Juliet trust Sam? Why does she get upset when she finds out that it was Sam that sent her all of the roses?
- How do people develop trust, and why is trust important in a community?
- What happened between Juliet and Lindsay when they were younger? Why did they stop being friends?
- What does Sam come to realize about Lindsay? What do they talk about shortly after that realization?
- What does Sam think about at the end of the book? How would it have been different in the beginning of the book?
Connections (Books and Movies with Related Themes):
- "Peggy Sue Got Married" -- In this 1986 movie, Peggy Sue passes out at her high school reunion and then wakes up in her past right before she graduates. It’s similar to Before I Fall because Peggy Sue relives her past to fix mistakes, like Sam.
- All I Need Is Kill -- In this book by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, a man must relive this unwinnable battle till he wins.
- "The Never Ending Story"-- In this 1984 mov, a boy dives into a book that never ends.
- "The Butterfly Effect" -- In this 2004 movie a college student finds a way to go back in time and live different ways.
- 12:01 PM-in this book, regular guy Myron Castleman, a New York City executive who begins experiencing the afternoon hour of 12:01 to 1:01 on an endless loop. He chases down a physicist who describes the phenomenon as a time disfiguration, but never discovers the cause or the solution.
- Doubled and Redoubled -- This short story by Malcolm Jameson, published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1938, may be the original time-loop story.
- How did you feel about Sam's transformation from the beginning to the end?
- How could the girls stop Juliet from killing herself?
- If you had the chance to relive one day in your life would you? Why?
- If the other girls could relive that day do you think they would stop Juliet?
- How do you think people who read this book might treat others differently? What would be the benefit to the school?
- Create a "fake book" for one of the main characters in Before I Fall. (Search for "fakebook" in Class Tools www.classtools.net)
- Create a PSA to raise awareness about the issue of suicide. Have the PSA approved before sharing it with a public audience.
- Write a draft anti-bullying pledge for your school with a small group and discuss what you could do with it.