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The Edge of Falling

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  • Posted April 27, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    Caggie should have everything she could want growing up as part

    Caggie should have everything she could want growing up as part of New York City society. She used to. She had a picture perfect family. She lived in a beautiful Manhattan apartment. She went to an elite private school. She had a handsome, smart, nerdy, perfect boyfriend. She had a quirky, beautiful best friend even if she did live all the way downtown.

    She had everything until she lost the most important thing.

    Nothing seems to matter quite so much now that her younger sister is dead. Drowned.

    Caggie blames herself--maybe for the right reasons. Maybe for the wrong ones. She can't be sure when nothing makes sense anymore. Even Caggie's attempt to escape at a classmate's party goes horribly awry. Now everything thinks Caggie is some kind of hero.

    She doesn't know a lot, but Caggie is certain she isn't a hero.

    When she meets Astor, Caggie thinks he might be the perfect solution. Someone to help her forget. Someone who never heard about the drowning. But Astor has his own secrets; his own grief that he's been carrying.And his own secrets.

    Caggie was already buried under her own grief, her own regrets. Now, as she becomes closer to Astor, Caggie will have to decide if the combined weight of their loss will be too much for either of them to hold in The Edge of Falling (2014) by Rebecca Serle.

    Caggie is a realistic, honest character. She is quick to point out her own shortcomings and accept her due in terms of blame. Although narrated by Caggie, the story eventually comes full circle as Serle illustrates that a tragedy never affects just one person.

    Set in New York City's upper class, The Edge of Falling is set against the privileged, shining backdrop of New York's Upper West Side. What could have made the story flippant or decadent is instead tastefully handled with Caggie--a character who has never felt comfortable with her own family's wealth.

    Sharp, though sometimes predictable, The Edge of Falling is a quiet, meditative story about loss and what comes after.

    Possible Pairings: Where She Went by Gayle Forman, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Hero Type by Barry Lyga, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    Grief is not an easy emotion to deal with. Grief combined with g

    Grief is not an easy emotion to deal with. Grief combined with guilt is even worse. Caggie's seemingly perfect life turned completely upside down when her younger sister, Hayley, drowns in the pool of her family's beach house. Four months later she is hailed a hero after she saves a fellow classmate from jumping off the roof a high rise apartment building.




    Caggie begins telling us the story in late August/early September, right before her new school years starts. I love the narration style Rebecca chose. Not only is it first person, but Caggie is talking to us, the reader. Normally I don't care for when the MC makes us a character, but in The Edge of Falling, it works. By talking to us directly, Caggie makes the story more personal. She delves into details she doesn't tell her best friend, Claire; her brother, Peter; or her ex-boyfriend, Trevor. She also doesn't tell us everything at once. We get mini flashbacks into Hayley's life, her family before and after Hayley's tragic death, and what really happened on the roof with Kristen.




    It's not until Caggie meets Astor that she begins to feel "normal" again. He doesn't pressure her to talk about Hayley, understanding the pain and grief of losing a loved one, and she feels herself slowly pulling away from her all encompassing grief, while at the same time pulling even further from her family and friends.




    Caggie is likable character and I fell bad for her. Her sister's death is an accident, but she cannot help but feel guilty as she was supposed to be watching her. I personally find it hard to judge characters in situations I've never been in myself. I do not know how I would act so I can't say if I would or wouldn't do the same thing. I don't agree with her decisions - pushing her family/friends away, forgoing things that made me happy, turning off my emotions - but I don't know if I can necessarily fault her either.




    The Edge of Falling is a beautifully told story, both in plot and writing. You'll definitely feel numerous emotions throughout (love, grief, pain, hope, understanding, acceptance) and you'll connect with Caggie as she attempts to heal and learn to once again live her life.

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  • Posted May 3, 2014

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss.)
    17-year-old Mcalister (Caggie) is dealing the best she can after her sister’s death, and it doesn’t help that people think she’s a hero for saving a classmate – Kristen, from committing suicide by jumping off a roof. If people knew what really happened, they’d know that she’s nothing of the kind.

    School isn’t going all that well for Caggie, nothing is, apart from the arrival of new student Astor, who Caggie begins to feel something for.
    What really happened on the roof though? What happened to Hayley? And can Caggie find a way to move on with her life?


    I found this book quite boring for the first 70% of the story, it was only after this that we really got to see what Caggie was really going through.

    Caggie seemed to be grieving in this book. The way she behaved, and her views on life, her thoughts about what did and didn’t matter, all pointed to the fact that she was grieving for her sister, but it was all very subtle. Caggie drifted through life, and didn’t even really admit to herself just how bad she was really feeling inside.
    It wasn’t until the 70% mark that we really began to get clear ideas of what was really going on in Caggie’s head, and started to understand her mental turmoil, and it was only at this point that I was really able to connect with her.

    The storyline in this was okay, but I felt that the first ¾ of the book was pretty dull. It just dragged for me. Things happened that didn’t interest me, too much was left in the dark, and I just got bored. For me there just wasn’t enough to keep the mystery in the story, and at times I wondered whether I could even be bothered to finish it.
    I thought that the revelation about what happened to Hayley, and what happened with Caggie and Kristen on the roof came a bit too late in the story, and once we knew more about what had happened the story was more interesting.

    I really felt for Caggie when her depression was discussed, and it would have been nicer to have seen this side of her and her suffering earlier in the book. I totally loved the brutal honesty and pain in the line ‘How do you deal with missing someone forever?’ and thought that it was poignant and really summed up Caggie’s pain.

    The ending was okay, and I liked that we got a bit of a ray of light at the end, and hope that things would maybe get better for Caggie and her family. This was quite a difficult book to rate though, as I felt that it only really got good after the 70% mark, which was a bit of a shame.
    Overall; an okay story, with painful and poignant emotions towards the end.
    6.75 out of 10

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    2.5 I wanted to read The Edge of Falling because I love a go

    2.5
    I wanted to read The Edge of Falling because I love a good contemporary and this has all of the ingredients Guilt over being on watch when her sister drowned, the saving of a suicide that's not all it seems, and a mysterious boy with a past that sounds dark. So, I was glad to grab it when it was available for review on Edelweiss.
    I got right into the story, liking Caggie's voice and learning about the important things in her life. But can we talk about the nickname? Points for originality, but man, it rubbed me the wrong way. I just didn't like it maybe because I've never heard in real life or maybe because it is something I would never want to be called. But anyways, name rant over.
    I really wanted to get to the bottom of the dynamics with her and Trevor. He seemed to still care so much and try to talk to her, so I suspected early on that it was because she had pushed him away while grieving for her sister, and that was something that he couldn't handle. Not that a teenage boy would necessarily know how to help or be there anyways, just not enough life experience I guess. I liked her memories of them dating and was rooting for him with the information I had, provided there wasn't some big twist where he was a jerk or did something with big consequences.
    I didn't care much for Laila, Caggie's best friend. It seemed that Caggie never portrayed her in the best light and I didn't feel that sense of bonding and love that I usually get from best friends in high school.
    I thought that this story would be more about the events of her sister drowning, and what happened on the roof, but there was a lot of mundane drama that sandwiched the events that got my attention in the synopsis, and it felt like, especially at first, it was a deli ultra thin slice of meat we were given about the traumatic events, and the emotions.
    I connected with her some, but mostly Caggie was really detached. And trust me I get that in grieving or with depression that numbness and detachment are part of it, to keep us alive and going. But when I am reading, I need to be let under the surface a little more to connect before the character goes all detached.
    What I did love was how Caggie came to life when her brother Peter was there. She laughed, teased and opened up, feeling like it was okay to feel how she does, and hope of working things out. But that was only a tiny slice again, and while I loved what I saw, I wanted more of the brother and sister dynamics.
    The ending was more where it finally picked up, I understood Caggie more and the pieces came together.

    Bottom Line: Great premise just a little short on execution on top of detached protagonist.

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  • Posted March 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Edge of

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
    Publisher: Simon Pulse
    Publication Date: March 18, 2014
    Rating: 3 stars
    Source: eARC from Edelweiss




    Summary (from Goodreads):




    Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.




    What I Liked:




    I've been reading a lot of contemporary novels lately - a lot more than I'm used to reading. Actually, that's not completely true. I've read a few contemporary novels, and I have quite a bit to read coming up soon. It just feels like a lot of contemporary novels, when I so used to reading anything but contemporary (not that there is anything wrong with contemporary). I enjoyed Serle's debut novel (which was contemporary), so naturally, I was super pumped to read this one.




    This book was a pretty good read. It definitely was not what I thought it would be. Caggie is dealing with a lot of heavy stuff right now - her sister died, when she (Caggie) was supposed to be watching her, and then Caggie saves a classmate from falling off a balcony, at a peer's party. Except that Caggie isn't a hero - because SHE was the one that went to that balcony, to jump, to kill herself, and Kristen was trying to save her. Not the other way around (though the other way around was what happened).




    This book is definitely one of those "tough-issue" books, and we all know my experiences with those. I usually have polar extremes when it comes to those kinds of books - I either love it, or loathe it. My most recent "tough-issue" read (before this one) was Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens, and I was sooo not a fan (which is unfortunate, because the author is so amazing and nice!).




    I'm not really sure how I feel about the characters. I sort of understood Caggie, except I don't necessarily agree with her choices, from beginning to end. I was suspicious about Claire, Abigail, Astor, and Peter. The only characters that I actually had genuinely friendly feelings toward were Trevor and Kristen - and that's because they seemed to be the only honest, caring characters of the book. 




    I like the feel of this story. It was subtly about Caggie's healing process, but also, the healing of other characters. Caggie's sister's death affected many people. Caggie "saving" Kristen affected many people as well. So, this book was as much about Peter, Trevor, Kristen, Claire, etc., as it was about Caggie.




    Astor is an interesting character. I'm not sure I like him very much, but I don't blame him for what happened - not really. Sort of, but not really. Like, some things were definitely his fault, and at times, he was definitely acting crazy, but he needed to experience healing just as much as Caggie did.




    All of the characters experience some sort of growth, as the story progresses. The story primarily focused on Caggie's decline in school and her whirlwind relationship with Astor. For the most part, I liked the story. I liked the unconventionality of the romance - I personally saw it coming, but most people probably wouldn't. I enjoyed this book for the most part, and I'm glad I read it.




    What I Did Not Like:




    As I mentioned above, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Caggie. I don't think we clicked, but I could see her side of things MUCH easier than I could with most heroines of "tough-issue" books. I feel like her emotion shutdown and the way she expressed her grief was more subtle and more complex than other heroines of "tough-issue" books, which I would much rather read. At the same time, Caggie's decisions were probably just as screwed up, at the end of the way. Some of the things she did, especially when it came to Astor, were too much. Like, there were red flags going up in my head throughout the book, in many regards.




    Most of the characters rubbed me the wrong way. I'm glad that they all went through their processes of grief, and most of them grew and developed throughout the story, but I didn't like most of them, for the most part. I liked Trevor a lot, and I liked Kristen, but otherwise, meh.




    I wasn't very passionate about this book, and I didn't absolutely love it. I know it doesn't seem like I have a ton of reasons for rating this book as low as I did, but I just didn't love it. Nor did I really like it. I enjoyed it, I'm happy to have had the opportunity to read it, but I probably wouldn't buy it, or read it again.




    Would I Recommend It:




    I'd say maybe. This isn't like, a number one, absolutely loved, must have, must buy/borrow, will cry over, will change lives kind of book. It's a good read, but don't break your neck trying to get to the bookstore or library for this one. It's not the best contemporary novel out there, but if you already have it, or really wanted to read it before, then go for it. Do it. Otherwise, skip it.




    Rating:




    3 stars. Maybe it was a feeling of apathy that held me back? I don't know. But I wasn't wild about this book. However, I enjoyed it, and I am happy that I read, finished, and reviewed it.

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