Friday, January 18, 2013

Fall to Pieces

Ella is depressed and confused. Her best friend Amy died at Ella's party and Ella can't remember anything from that night. She has no idea if Amy's death was the result of suicide or murder or accident or why it happened. Their mutual friends Petal and Mark seem to be hiding something from her and it hurts that they won't tell her anything. Mark and Ella created the game Pick Me Ups, where they jump from dangerous heights. Mark and Petal do them for fun and to drive away their grief, but Ella remembers a bit of that night every time she does them. After a while of this, Ella brings in a newcomer to their group, a boy she dubs "Explosive Boy" or E (whose name is actually Tristan). Her idea is that the newcomer with bring her, Mark, and Ella closer together, but things don't end up going just as Ella planned. Ella may not be ready to face the real truth even as she strives so hard to figure our what happened.

Fall to Pieces is a dark contemporary young adult novel that doesn't pull punches. It tackles real teen issues such as drinking, sexuality, suicide, peer pressure, bullying (from the point of view of the bullies), and death. These teens are not sweetness and light. They are bullies that target people for fun without realizing the damage they do. Even after Amy died, many people spoke ill of her because of her bullying ways, which is weird. People usually bend over backwards to make dead people seem like saints even if they clearly weren't. I appreciate the view of bullying from the bullies point of view because I don't see it written about much. It provides insight to motivations behind it and shows that bullies aren't evil people. Even though a lot of people take issue with it, I like the language used. There are a lot of curse words, but that's how some people actually talk. It's refreshing to see after so many authors make up their own new words that mean the same thing to avoid using the real ones.

Even though the plot is like taking the crazy adrenaline junkie/suicidal part of New Moon and making a whole book about it, I liked it overall. Even though it seems melodramatic, teens are melodramatic and people deal with grief in their own way. It may be self destructive and life threatening, but it's still a way. Ella, despite her mistakes and issues, is a sympathetic character because we don't just see her actions, but her thoughts and her mind set. She may be annoying and cruel sometimes, but she's taking out her guilt, confusion, and grief on other people and it makes her seem more real. I really like Tristan, the Explosive Boy. He truly has Ella's best interests at heart and shows he cares about her way more than her friends. His own secrets and tragedies are wearing on him. He's the most interesting and relatable character in the book.

Fall to Pieces is an impressive debut that tackles realistic issues. The plot takes surprising twists and turns along the way and shocked me in the end. I never could have predicted the outcome of the book. I'm usually not super interested in contemporary teen reads, but I like this one. I would recommend it to people not afraid of realistic, depressing situations and curse words.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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