Title: Falling for You
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Release Date: Available
I have a thing for romance novels. They’re my weakness. I know that sometimes they can be sappy, cheesy, and completely unoriginal, but (usually) it doesn’t matter – I’ll read them anyway. However, I’ll keep in mind that the average young adult reader is probably not quite as romance-novel oriented as I am, so I’ll do my best to keep this review objective. Falling for You, by Lisa Schroeder, seemed sort of sappy, a little bit cheesy, and not completely original at the beginning. The first half of the book had me a little worried that it was going to follow exactly the same pattern as every single other romance novel that I’ve read, but I was relieved as the author began to branch out and the unique plot evolved into a wonderful, sweet, and hopeful story.
Falling for You is the story of Rae Lynch, a high school junior who lives with her hardworking but oblivious mom, and mean stepfather Dean. At the beginning of the book, Rae meets Nathan, a boy new to her school. His blunt persistence and quirky charm quickly lead Rae, although not initially a romantic person, to give him a chance. Soon, they become the school’s newest couple. But as their relationship progresses, Nathan becomes more dependent on her. He becomes jealous, clingy, and pushy, and takes out his frustration with his life at home on Rae. However, Rae has her own problems at home. Her stepfather Dean has lost his job and starts demanding that Rae give him her paychecks. Rae loves her job at Full Bloom flower shop though, so she continues working, despite having to give up her money. And as Dean grows more abusive, Rae sees some similarities between him and Nathan, two people she never thought would be comparable. When Rae starts spending more time with her homeschooled friend Leo, who works in his family’s coffee shop next door to Full Bloom, she realizes how much she enjoys her time with him, making Nathan more and more jealous.
The two types of interspersed excerpts inserted between chapters made this book even more enjoyable to read. The first type are passages titled “The Hospital.” Through these stream-of-consciousness-style snippets, we can tell that something has happened to Rae to make her wind up in the hospital. Instead of telling the story in parts, (“Part 1,” “Part 2, etc…) the book counts down how many months before (“Six months earlier,” “five months earlier,” etc…) the event that landed Rae in the hospital, each part prefaced with a short scene from the ICU. This technique makes the book more suspenseful and engaging, and readers are curious what happened to Rae and if she will be okay.
The second excerpt comes in the form of poetry. Rae is a closet poet and she expresses her feelings in her poetry journal. At the ends of certain chapters we get to read poems out of Rae’s poetry journal as she decides which to submit for her school newspaper’s poetry corner, grappling with the choice to submit anonymously or include her name with her poems. Many of her poems are poignant and emotional and it appears that Lisa Schroeder is a talented poet.
Although the beginning of the book was a little dry and unexciting, as it continued, I grew more and more interested until I didn’t want to stop reading. The book is a relatively short and easy read, and can provide a nice break from reading textbooks as school picks up again. Although it is mainly a romance, the multiple facets of Rae’s life make for a more dimensional novel, as opposed to simply a love story. I ended up liking this book much more than I initially thought I would, and I definitely encourage those who enjoy romances (and definitely fans of Sarah Dessen) to read Falling for You.
Review by Katie
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