Falling for You Featured Hot
Affection turns to obsession—and love means both devastation and redemption—in this gripping novel from the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me.Rae’s always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her…and the less she wants to give.
As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous. He’s not about to let her go. And with danger following her every move, Rae must fight for the life and love she deserves if she’s going to survive.
An Inspiring and Touching Novel
What I Loved:
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. 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.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The ending felt the slightest bit rushed perhaps. I would have liked to know more about what became of Dean and what her home life was like at the end.
The Final Verdict:
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.
I'm a huge fan of stories that paint a realistic story of an abusive relationship without going over the top. As a survivor of abuse, I feel it's important to get these stories out there. How I wished they'd been there when I was a teen. Maybe then I wouldn't have felt so alone with my pain. So I applaud novels that are able to show this sensitive topic in a real way.
FALLING FOR YOU alternates between Rae in ICU after a personal tragedy to the events that lead up to it. Rae lives with her distant/unfeeling mother and an abusive stepfather. He demands she feed him at a certain time and finds fault with her. Rae, like many survivors of abuse, doesn't reach out to others due to being embarrassed of her family situation. **Oh, how true this felt to me as I did the very same thing. So when a cute new boy shows up and is interested in her, she's intrigued. Nathan takes her on a date that is awkward but also confusing. Right here most would say, leave Nathan and move on but Rae accepts another date. Things at home go from bad to worse when her stepfather loses his job and demands her paycheck. The only thing that makes sense to Rae is her part time job at a flower shop and her journal of poetry. All the while she must grasp on to the light in order to make her way out of the darkness and fight for her life and the love she deserves.
This story resonated with me on many levels. Rae's story felt similar to my own as a teen. What some don't get is how easy it is for abused girls to fall into abusive relationships with boys that first come across as loving but are in fact demanding and worse, abusive too. It might not make sense to those who aren't in situations like this. I know personally how easy it is to fall into an abusive relationship. Also the peer pressure of high school and even college to have a boyfriend can be pretty intense. Unfortunately, sometimes having any kind of relationship is better than being alone for someone that comes from an abusive background. So yes, Rae's relationship with Nathan was very probable to me.
Another thing was how Rae doesn't share much with people around her. It's easier not to open up to others because of the shame of living with an abusive family member and/or not having money to buy nice things. Once again the author does a great job of showing the reader this.
What I loved about this story though is the hope that is woven throughout. Leo is the boy who works next to the flower shop. Rae feels comfortable around him. I totally loved him and how he tries to reach out to Rae. There's other too that reach out to Rae in small ways. What's great about this story is how we see little glimpses of light in the beginning that slowly snowball into some more.
The only thing I could say is I kind of wanted more poetry and also to read some of the other students poems from her English class. But this is Rae's story and her world is shown in poetry mixed throughout this novel. You feel her fears, struggles, and even doubts that I feel will resonate with readers.
One sentence sums this book up best: Where light shines, darkness disappears. It would have been so easy to just leave this as a book about an abused teen, but instead Schroeder shows us how acts of kindness help Rae reach out to others and how speaking out does have a ripple effect.
Emotional, moving tale that had me smile at the end. To me, that's a true sign of a great book!
2. Loved how hope/light is woven into this otherwise dark premise
3. Love Leo
4. Ended reading with a smile
Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder
This book was great! It is one of those books where you aren't sure if there is going to be happy ending or not. I almost always find myself reading books that only focus on the love story part of it because that is my favorite part. While this book did have a love element to it, it was not the main focus.
This book does deal with the dark issue of abuse. Rae doesn't have the best home life. But she does have friends who love her and are like her family. She works at a flower shop called "Full Bloom" and her co workers are her extended family.
I loved that this books starts off right on the first page letting you know that something bad has happened our main character Rae. Which of course makes you guess and try to figure out what happened. Of course what I thought happened to her did not end up to be right!
There is a new boy at school Nathan who ends up being Rae's boyfriend and who isn't exactly her knight in shining armor. She also has a friend named Leo who works at his families coffee shop next door. He is sweet and wants to help Rae in any way he can.
One of my favorite parts of this book is the poetry. Rae loves to write poems and you can find it between many of the chapters throughout the book.
I would definitely recommend this book. It was a great read that deals with real issues and has a little romance added in. Happy reading!
Review originally posted on my blog:http://www.ramblingsofabooknerd.com/2013/01/review-falling-for-you-by-lisa-schroeder.html
Dark book with a strong yet flawed but relatable main character, sprinkled with light moments
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.
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.