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Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder
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Falling for You (edition 2013)

by Lisa Schroeder

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Member:BornBookish
Title:Falling for You
Authors:Lisa Schroeder
Info:Simon Pulse (2013), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder

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Showing 5 of 5
A good quick read. Recommended for teens who like angsty, realistic fiction. This is working its ways to being new adult without but not quite. Deals with rocky family issues, depression, breakups, romance, financial issues. ( )
  LaneLiterati | Mar 4, 2014 |
Another amazing book by this author. can't wait to see what she writes next ( )
  TeamDewey | Apr 1, 2013 |
Going into Falling for You, I knew I was in for an emotional ride. I'd glanced at enough reviews to know that Falling for You deals with an abusive relationship. What I didn't know was how much deeper this book is, how many wonderful ways that Schroeder's novel sets itself apart. Though this book is sad and deals with painful subjects honestly, Falling for You is ultimately a tale of hope and inspiration.

Poetry has never really been my thing, which is why I am glad I started with this Schroeder novel, written predominantly in prose. I'm starting to open up my mind to poetry, but I'm easing into it. There are a number of poems woven throughout the novel, in the form of submissions to the school's newspaper. I actually really love the poems, which are simple, beautiful and truthful, and fit Rae perfectly. My favorite poem is Cherish, which deals with comparing books to life and going for your happy ending, an excerpt of which you can see as my favorite quote down below. Her prose works really well too, and the poems add texture to the novel.

The story opens with foreshadowing. Rae is in the hospital, and the reader has no idea why. Month by month, the narration moves steadily forward towards some type of unknown danger. Schroeder makes good use of the device, luring the reader in, but not hitting the reader over the head with the foreshadowing hammer.

I just adore Rae as a main character. This girl has so many terrible things going on in her life, but she is just so strong and kind-hearted. Rarely do I encounter heroines with such adversity but such strong spirit. Rae does not come off as some sort of Pollyanna type either. She suffers a lot, and sometimes wants to give up, but she doesn't; she powers through, and I admire her so much for that. She makes decisions, both good and bad, and takes ownership of all of them, never passing the blame for her own choices.

While I thought the main thrust of the book would be her abusive relationship with a boyfriend, the main focus is more on family, both the one you're born into and the you build around you out of kindred spirits. Dean, her step-father, is the scum of the earth, but Rae's mother can't or won't leave him. He orders Rae around, steals the money she earns from her part-time job, and hits her if she doesn't please him. While he might be irredeemable, Schroeder shows the shades of gray in such a situation with the character of Rae's mother, who, while not a bad person, is unable to resist the sway of this man, even though she knows what he is.

Rae gets involved with a new boy at school, handsome and intriguing. Rae has always kept people at arm's length because she does not want anyone to know about the mess her family life is, and she never wants to end up like her mother. Something about Nathan calls to her, though. Schroeder depicts a very different kind of unhealthy relationship than those more often found in YA, one where he messes with her emotionally. Nathan pushes for sex and makes everything about his needs and wishes. He clings to her, jealous and needy. I love that Rae is very self-aware, not blind to what's going on, but struggles to make the right decisions anyway. This shows, far better than blithe unawareness of his manipulation, how strong the impact and pull of such a boy can be.

What really makes Falling for You such a strong novel, though, is that, despite the hospital and the abuse and the money issues, it's not an endlessly depressing book. There are a lot of sweet moments. Rae has friends she can depend on, and they have real conversations, good moments outside of everything else in her life. She loves her job and her coworkers. She finds fulfillment in submitting poems to her impassioned English teacher, Ms. Bloodsaw. Falling for You has a lovely message about paying it forward, doing your best to make this world a little bit better for someone, to brighten their day. This message is a wonderful one for teens and adults alike, and is shown, rather than merely lectured.

When I reached the halfway point in Falling for You, I went to Goodreads and added all of Schroeder's other books to my to-read list, because I had read enough to know that I want to read everything this woman writes. Her beautiful writing, truthful depictions of real life situations, and well-drawn main character make Falling for You a book you cannot help falling in love with. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
I think at this point we all know that I think Lisa Schroeder writes the best verse novels out there! Whenever anyone asks me about novels in verse that is the first name that comes out of my mouth. This novel however, is Lisa’s first YA book told in traditional prose (with a good amount of poetry sprinkled throughout). I will admit when I heard this book wasn’t in verse I was disappointed, I was also a little nervous and wondered would it be as good as her other books? Well I am here to tell you that YES IT IS! Silly me to doubt.

The book is about a girl named Rae who has a very difficult home life that she keeps hidden from even her best friends. The way she deals with this dark part of her life is through keeping a poetry journal where she lets all her emotions flow freely.

I absolutely loved the formatting of this book! The book starts off with a snippet of Rae in the hospital but we don’t know what happened to put her there. The book then jumps to six months earlier, then we get another snippet at the hospital, five months later, snippet, four months, and so on and so forth. This created a great sense of tension and mystery throughout the whole book as we wonder what is going to happen to Rae.

As for the characters, it was so refreshing to have such a strong, intelligent, and loving protagonist like Rae. Her love and care for others, even those who had hurt her kept surprising me. She really was a remarkable character.

Nathan is the new guy who immediately shows interest in Rae. You could tell he was trouble from the first moment he opened his mouth, I just wish Rae could have seen it too! It was understandable how she looked past it though, because she had never had a boyfriend before and dreamed of having someone who really cared for her.

Leo was the awesome friend. He was completely laid back, fun, caring, super sweet and did I mention he’s homeschooled?!? Homeschooled characters don’t really pop up often in YA so I was pretty excited. (I was homeschooled myself, so that’s why I’m so excited about this!)

All in all, this book was a battle between light and dark, about finding the light even in the darkest most trying times. It was emotional. It was mysterious. It was hopeful. It was wonderful. ( )
  BornBookish | Jan 1, 2013 |
Wow. This is one powerful and emotional book. I really connected with Rae and appreciated how she always used poetry as her healthy outlet for the negatives that were going on in her life. She was strong, and caring to a fault, which led her to more relationship troubles on top of her unstable home with her stepfather and unavailable mom.
On the theme of healthy outlets, I also like how it featured Leo's methods as well with the videos. I read so much about unhealthy outlets like drinking, eating disorders or cutting that even though this is an issues book with the relationship with Nathan and Rae's stepdad, that it does show other good things to take away.
Falling for You goes back and forth between Rae being in the ICU from some sort of tragedy to the past, where she first meets Nathan. I think the transitions are seemless and add an extra element of mystery and needing to know what exactly put her there and even though I have two possible scenarios, it could be something unexpected as well.
The writing is beautiful and I am sure to finally pick up some of Lisa's other books like The Day Before or Far from You to start with.
Rae is a really strong main character, and she is so selfless and brave. I really enjoyed being in her head no matter how dark it got in there. I love how she kept fighting and even when she was in pain, she wanted to still help others.
Falling for You also has a superb cast of secondary characters. The people that she works for and with at Full Bloom, Nina and Spencer are great. Their dialogue is so well written and their interactions are the warm and fuzzy that adds brightness to the dark that feeds into Rae from her home life and the negative relationship with Nathan.
I also appreciated how Ella, the grandmotherly figure was featured. She had something to teach Rae, and love to give, and she helped break Rae out of her shell, and show her that people with problems and sadness don't have to fake it to be likable.
Then there is the sweet and swoon worthy Leo. I fell for him in their first interactions. I loved their banter and his easy and caring manner. It was a sweet friendship and he really brought out the best in Rae.
And, as many of you know, I usually steer clear of books written in verse, but this is a hybrid, much like Collateral by Hopkins that I just read and loved. It is mostly written in narrative, but there are poems, but they only enhanced the story in my opinion.

Favorite quotes (from the arc)
I also really liked Alix and the friendship that her and Rae had. She supported her without pushing too far, and was there without judging when Rae shared some of her true self.
Alix speaking to Rae "But I think that is why sweet girls sometimes stay with guys who are tools. The physical part is great. they love feeling loved and they put up with stuff they shouldn't." (p. 218)
I think that this is so true. I was in a bad relationship and even at points where I knew that I shouldn't put up with it or stay, I couldn't let go of the happy times, and the feeling of being wanted and often mistakenly equating physical attraction for true love.

I also really liked the poem that she finally submitted speaking up for those keeping quiet about their pain
"Scars by Rae Lunch
When a wound is fresh, my pen is the ointment and my paper the gauze.
What a surprise I'm not the only one.
We write to remind ourselves we have a voice. That what we feel, think, worry about, and speak matters.
Any et, we've been hiding our scars behind a single word.
Anonymous.
Don't we all hurt some days? Isn't that part of the human experience we share?
Maybe we shouldn't be so afraid to let the world see our scars.
Sharing brings people together.
It's secrecy that can tear people apart. "
That really made me realize the power that poetry can have...

Bottom line: Dark book with a strong yet flawed but relatable main character. Lots of light moments of friendship and caring for others. ( )
  brandileigh2003 | Nov 28, 2012 |
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Very good friends, her poetry notebooks, and a mysterious "ninja of nice" give seventeen-year-old Rae the strength to face her mother's neglect, her stepfather's increasing abuse, and a new boyfriend's obsessiveness.

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