Sunday, March 06, 2011

Falling Under - Gwen Hayes

Falling Under
Gwen Hayes
New American Library

Young Adult/Paranormal

Theia Alderson begins as a sheltered and rather vanilla poor-little-rich girl, sheltered from the world and everything in it by an overprotective, if loving, Father. Professional decorators update her room regularly, Father’s personal shopper buys her clothing for her, and until moving to the US from London a few years ago, she was homeschooled. High school and a few friends have made a big difference in her life, but she’s still mostly wrapped in a nice, safe, boring cocoon.

“Everything changed the night I saw the burning man fall from the sky.” The man fell onto her lawn, burned, and turned to dust. The next morning, she isn’t at all sure it had happened. Then the dreams begin; dreams about a handsome boy she’s never met, in a place that is somewhere not quite real. His name is Haden, and when she sees him in the school admin office, she’s beyond shocked. The dreams continue, even though waking-time Haden pretends he has no interest in her. So, either she’s seriously crazy, or he’s keeping some serious secrets from her.

The plot of the first half of the book will be familiar to anyone who has read a certain series of books or seen the movies made from them. It’s a lot of back and forth, he loves me/he loves me not kind of thing. One day, Theia is positive that their love is real and forever; the next day, she completely believes that he wants nothing to do with her. This might play very well if you’re thirteen. I struggle to remember that far back in my life. Theia’s friends and a few secondary characters go a long way towards making all of this bearable.

Adults looking for an interesting paranormal story would be advised to stick it out through all the teen angst of the first portions of the book. In later parts of the book, the mystery of Haden’s identity is solved, and with that knowledge come a host of other problems for everyone involved. These last portions of the book tell a much deeper and complex tale, with a unique setting and characters. Theia and Haden both change and mature during this part of the story, and I liked the characters on the last pages far better than I liked them on the first. The book is complete, but the final pages leave things open for a sequel.

Rating: 7
March 2011
ISBN# 978-0-451-23268-7 (trade paperback)


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