Falling by Cat Clarke (review copy) - It's the party of the year and everyone's going to be there - the perfect opportunity for Anna to set up her newly-out best friend Tilly with the only other gay girl in school. And it'll help her keep her mind off the fact that she cheated on her perfect boyfriend Cam last night. But this party will change everything - A powerful novel about sexuality and growing up, realistically and frankly portrayed by acclaimed YA novelist Cat Clarke. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 14+ From Amazon UK
My contact at Barrington Stoke heard about LGBTQ YA Month and emailed me specifically to recommend Falling by Cat Clarke. I jumped at the chance to review Falling as I am such a big fan of Clarke, I was sure I would love it. Unfortunately, I thought it was just ok.
To distract herself from the guilt of cheating on her boyfriend the night before, Anna decides to help her newly-out best friend Tilly by matchmaking her with the only other lesbian at school. And everything changes.
Sadly, I didn't like any of the characters in this book, and I didn't find it one where that doesn't matter. Considering at least Anna is 16, if not all the characters, I found them to seem much younger. I could understand Anna's annoyance at how her boyfriend Cam acts, because nothing bothers him. And I feel he should have reacted differently. Even with the situation as it was, I felt there should have been more from him. And earlier, from Tilly. She wasn't happy, but she let things happen anyway, without even really putting up a fight. Anna was the worst, being so pushy but thinking she can get away with it in a way that made me want to shake her and shout, "How old are you?! Grow up!"
Despite Tilly being gay, when it comes to focusing on her character specifically, not much of a big deal is made about it. She's just a girl her best mate decides to set up with someone she thinks she fancies. The focus regarding the LGBTQ elements is on what Anna thinks about homosexuality, and how she looks having a gay best friend. There's more to it, but I can't talk about it without spoiling the story. This was very realistic, and found it to be a pretty believable situation. I did end feeling begrudgingly sorry for Tilly and Anna, and I think it worked well.
However, I knew from the very beginning how the book would end. I didn't know how that ending would come about specifically, I just knew it would. Clarke writes a certain kind of novel, and to have Falling fit that style, it seemed glaringly obvious to me what the ending would be. And it really bothered me. It wasn't a surprise, I wasn't shocked, and I closed the book feeling really annoyed.
I have read books before where I predicted the outcome yet still loved them, so I don't know why Falling bothered me so much. Maybe it was this particular story, or because it was a short story, or maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for this book. Either way, I didn't really enjoy it, which is such a shame, because I'm a huge fan of Clarke's. I guess this time, Falling isn't for me. Please do read more reviews of Falling before deciding whether or not to read Falling, don't decide on my review alone.
Thank you to Barrington Stoke for the review copy.
Published: 15th June 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
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Cat Clarke's Website