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.