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Fall from Grace

Fall from Grace

3.5 2
by Charles Benoit

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"I need you to steal something for me."

Grace always has a plan. There's her plan to get famous, her plan to get rich, and—above all—her plan to have fun.

Sawyer has plenty of plans, too. Plans made for him by his mother, his father, his girlfriend. Maybe they aren't his plans, but they are plans.

When Sawyer meets Grace, he wonders if


"I need you to steal something for me."

Grace always has a plan. There's her plan to get famous, her plan to get rich, and—above all—her plan to have fun.

Sawyer has plenty of plans, too. Plans made for him by his mother, his father, his girlfriend. Maybe they aren't his plans, but they are plans.

When Sawyer meets Grace, he wonders if he should come up with a few plans himself. Plans about what he actually wants to be, plans to speak his own mind for a change, plans to maybe help Grace with a little art theft.

Wait a minute—plans to what?

From Charles Benoit, acclaimed author of you, comes a witty and unsettling tale of two high school seniors planning the job of a lifetime.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This portrait of a floundering teen should find a rapt audience. Sawyer is an insular but likable high school senior fighting an urge to rebel against conformity at home and at school. His parents are so controlling that they select his extracurricular activities and classes. They've already picked his college (their alma mater), and his dad denies Sawyer's request to apply elsewhere. His parents could win a prize for most annoying people in the story, but Sawyer's girlfriend is a close second. Zoë is a jealous gossip who treats him so scornfully that Sawyer isn't even sure he can consider them lovers. His life is predictable and planned out until Grace, a girl from the poor side of town who has no college plans and is possibly homeless, shakes up his world. She's determined to get a little fun by breaking the rules. Grace and Sawyer bond over old movies, The Sting being a favorite. When she helps him cheat on an exam, he becomes intrigued by her smarts and spontaneity, two qualities that draw him into her grand scheme to steal a great work of art. Too bad she's almost as absorbed in herself as he is or she might have something to offer Sawyer beyond her own ambition and self-interest. Some readers might find the ending a little depressing and cynical, but the story is clever and original nonetheless.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY
Publishers Weekly
Benoit follows You (2010) with an equally absorbing, though less sadistic, tale of a high school senior whose passivity and conflict-avoidance threaten to trap him in other people’s self-interested plans. By appearances, Sawyer leads an enviable life: he’s a respectable student, is doted on by involved parents, dates a sexy and popular girlfriend, and has a car, job, and decent college prospects. Only after meeting Grace, a girl from the “other side of the proverbial tracks,” whose opening line, “I need you to steal something for me,” piques his curiosity, does he become aware of the smothering, coercive nature of his other key relationships. Grace’s mysteriousness, cleverness, and unexpected propensity for fun compel Sawyer to participate in her increasingly wild plans to gain celebrity status, while her risk taking and courage inspire him to resist oppressive forces on the home front. Benoit’s fast pacing, spot-on dialogue, and plot twists keep readers guessing about Grace (“Trust me.... You’ve got no idea what I’m thinking”), rooting for Sawyer, and pondering questions about freedom, choice, and integrity in human connections. Ages 13–up. (May)
ALA Booklist
A satisfying piece of teen noir.
Michael Grant
“A shattering, gut-wrenching novel. Pick it up and you won’t put it down!”
VOYA - Bethany Martin
Sawyer's parents have his future all mapped out. After he graduates high school, he will attend Wembly College (his parents' alma mater) along with his longtime girlfriend, Zoe. He will major in accounting and become an insurance actuary. It is a nice plan, but it is not what Sawyer wants; he is not sure what he wants, but becoming an insurance actuary is not it. So, when Grace approaches Sawyer asking for his help stealing a model UN treaty, Sawyer agrees, simply because it is something of which his parents and Zoe would not approve. Soon, Grace is asking for Sawyer's help with her plan to become rich and famous, a plan that involves staging a museum heist. Sawyer is a character with whom teens will identify. His lack of direction and chafing under his parents' demands will be familiar to many readers. He handles ethical dilemmas and relationships in a realistic teenage manner. The other characters, including Grace, Zoe, and Sawyer's parents, are less developed. Grace's desire to be rich and famous, and to have fun is the driving force for all her actions, including her relationship with Sawyer. While her deeper motivations are hinted at, she is a bit one-note. The novel's ending, while fitting with the story, is unexpected and will appeal to those teens who like their endings realistic, rather than happy. Reviewer: Bethany Martin
Kirkus Reviews
Lies, lust and betrayal just don't add up fast enough. On the outside, high schooler Sawyer seems to be gliding through life. He's focused; he's got good grades, a hot girlfriend and plans for college. On the inside, however, he feels trapped by his parents' expectations and the tight leash his girlfriend keeps around his neck. Enter Grace Sherman, a smooth-talking, resourceful, quick-witted girl from another high school whose presence infuses him with excitement and a sense of danger. She's cool but weird enough to be sexy. What's more, she's hell-bent on stealing a painting from the local library, and she needs Sawyer's help. Benoit's second teen effort is just as tightly crafted as his first (You, 2010). Characterizations are solidly constructed, and the plot moves methodically as Sawyer is pulled deeper into Grace's plan. Despite Benoit's ability to pull all of these elements together, the novel is missing a hook, which is what made his first so effortlessly terrifying. Art theft as a concept may not pique the interests of teen readers, especially those looking for a body count. The tension also builds slowly--more than half of the novel is given over to building up Sawyer's relationship with Grace. It's definitely an intriguing pairing, but less-patient readers will be flipping pages to get to the action. A slow-build, film-noir high-school drama. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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File size:
611 KB
Age Range:
13 Years

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What People are Saying About This

Michael Grant
“A shattering, gut-wrenching novel. Pick it up and you won’t put it down!”

Meet the Author

Charles Benoit is a former high school teacher and the Edgar Award-nominated author of three adult mystery novels and the teen novel Fall From Grace. He lives in Rochester, New York.

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Fall from Grace 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
PrettyAngelNYC More than 1 year ago
The book was just full of mistery and misunderstanding a person, and what kind of talent they have and personality without even knowing them. It's like don't judge a book by it's cover. It was sad I am not gonna lie to you about that it really was.But I love it love it love it! The end was not at all what I expected.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I love a character who is so different, you can't help but get caught up in them. This book is just that. Have you ever had a time in your life where your parents, friends, signficant other ruled everything you do? Got tired of it? Yeah, that Sawyer. Everything is laid out for him all he has to do is follow the rules and stay out of trouble. Sawyer feeling indfferent about the desicions in his life, find another friend who just so helps him find who he is. I loved Sawyer. He is the type of character that is beinng screamed to be molded. He didn't talk back or say anythig, he did what he was told and when he was told. Grace open up his eyes to something different. For the first time, he was thinking about what he wanted to do. Grace herself is a character that just scream different. She goes after what she wants despite what other people think. I like to have that type of mentally. To not worry what others thinks and just go with it. There really wasn't a love interest but rather a friendship that is untouchable. Form with late night stakes, crazy conversations, Grace and Sawyer are like siblings getting into trouble. LOL! Overall, Fall From Grace is a great eye opener. It allows the reader to see a control life but to also learn to think for themselves. Never allow anyone to tell you what you can and can not do.