Falling for You

Falling for You

4.1 17
by Lisa Schroeder

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Affection turns to obsession—and love means both devastation and redemption—in this gripping novel from the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

Rae’s always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of

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Affection turns to obsession—and love means both devastation and redemption—in this gripping novel from the author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

Rae’s always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her…and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous. He’s not about to let her go. And with danger following her every move, Rae must fight for the life and love she deserves if she’s going to survive.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Obsession, neglect, abuse, friendship, and love abound in Schroeder's new novel. Readers looking for a realistic teen read saturated in emotion will love Falling For You."
VOYA - Rebecca Denham
Rae lives life around the edges; avoiding the spotlight, hiding the extent of her financial situation and family drama from her friends and teachers. She dreams, though--dreams of being able to move out, of being happy, of being loved unconditionally. When a new guy, Nathan, arrives at school and notices Rae, some of those dreams seem to be within reach, but elation quickly turns to fear as Rae realizes that Nathan has a dark side. Tragedy lands Rae in the ICU floating between life and death, and in that place, she must find the courage to fight for the life she deserves. Obsession, neglect, abuse, friendship, and love abound in Schroeder's new novel. Each chapter starts with a poem from Rae's poetry journal and the structure of the book leads readers through the six months leading up to the hospital. The poetry aspect of this novel gives readers a chance to peek into the depths of Rae's soul and adds dimension to her character. Schroeder has done a wonderful job of creating teenage characters from a variety of backgrounds and using those backstories to influence their actions. This novel is ripe for use in a classroom or a book club; discussion points include: healthy relationships, poetry as expression, relationship boundaries, and more. Readers looking for a realistic teen read saturated in emotion will love Falling For You. Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Abuse victim Rae, now on the brink of death, recounts the events that led her to such circumstances. Trying to fit in, Rae never lets on that money is tight, that her stepfather is cruel and narcissistic, and that her mother turns a blind eye to his atrocities. When handsome Nathan Sharp arrives at her school, she accepts his offer of a date. Immediately, it is clear that Nathan isn't quite right, with his extreme neediness and intensely possessive behavior. Rae is achingly slow to pick up on these blatant red flags, but that seems understandable, taking into account her home life. There, her stepfather's abuse escalates as he loses his job and begins to dabble in shady enterprises. Through all of this darkness, Rae finds solace in writing poetry, which she shares anonymously in the school paper, and comfort with Leo, the shy, kind boy who works at the coffee shop. Important issues are examined, but the plot threads are many, and some seemingly important ones fizzle out dully, and the resolution of Nathan and Rae's relationship is far too tidy. Many of the elements of contemporary realistic fiction are present and accounted for—poetry, abuse, love triangles—however, this ends up reading like a not-as-romantic version of Gayle Forman's If I Stay (2009). (Fiction. 13 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Rae's life may not be easy, but she has close friends, a job she loves, and some savings to help her escape someday. Sure, she has to deal with her distant mother and verbally abusive stepfather, but she's able to separate herself from the reality she shares with her friends. Then she meets Nathan, whose affection quickly turns stifling and even frightening. At just about the same time, her stepdad loses his job, starts stealing her paychecks, and begins a downward spiral. Rae's narrative is punctuated by entries in her poetry journal. Alongside the story of Rae's increasingly troubled home and rapidly derailing love life runs a narrative in which her English teacher appeals to students to submit poetry for the school newspaper. Rae asks to submit poems anonymously and starts a "poetry revolution," with anonymous selections pouring out of the woodwork. It is only toward the end of the story that she begins to see the value of being forthright about the uglier parts of her life. Rae is a well-drawn, strong-willed heroine, and her blossoming relationship with a homeschooled neighbor adds a sweetness and depth to the story. Some other characters (her friends, her mother) feel a little thinner. The biggest disappointment is the book's cover, which shows a passionate, rain-drenched kiss between what one can only assume is Rae and Nathan. It feels misleading as that relationship does not define the story. Still, readers looking for a quick read about a strong teen who finds her voice will not be disappointed.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

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Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
HL540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

it hurts

I WAS MAKING HAMBURGERS FOR DINNER. DEAN, MY STEPDAD, loves hamburgers, although I wasn’t making his favorite out of a deep devotion for the guy. Grease kept spraying up from the frying pan, burning my hands, like tiny electrical shocks. It was a small price to pay. Once I got him fed, I could retreat to my room, like always, where he’d leave me alone for the rest of the night.

When the meat was done, I put the patties and buns on two plates, then rushed around grabbing the chips, a Coke for me, and a beer for him.

“Dinner’s ready,” I called.

“Good. I’m starving,” Dean said as he got up off the couch. He took a seat at the old butcher-block table and scrutinized his dinner plate along with the condiments I’d set out earlier. I waited. There was always something.

“Shit, Rae,” he yelled. “Where’s the onions?”

Right. His beloved onions. “Sorry. Hold on. I’ll get them.”

“Damn right you will,” he muttered.

I sliced through the onion, pretending it was his head.

I looked up. He handled his hamburger so gently. Putting on ketchup, mustard, and pickles with such tender care, you’d have thought he was a mother dressing her newborn baby.

I sliced harder. Faster.

“Ow!” The knife fell to the counter with a rattle. “Sh—” I pinched my lips together, keeping the promise to myself to be nothing like my foulmouthed stepfather. I blasted the water in the sink and thrust my hand under the stream, wincing because it stung.

Dean said nothing.

The reddish-pinkish water swirled down the drain, and I imagined a sink full of blood. It’d overflow onto the floor. Creep across the linoleum to his oil-stained boots.

How much blood before he’d notice?

How much blood before he’d care?

No doubt in my mind. He’d let me bleed to death. Years ago, when I’d hoped he might be the dad I’d never had, his nonreaction probably would have bothered me. Not anymore. I’d learned to keep my expectations low. There’s less disappointment that way.

Because one thing I really didn’t need any more of? Disappointment.

My mother definitely didn’t marry Dean for his compassion. She married him for money, what little of it he had, anyway. It was more than we had, which was nothing, and that was all that’d mattered.

I turned off the water and grabbed a paper towel, wrapping it tight around my finger, afraid to look too closely at the cut.

Dean got up with his plate and marched to the counter, cussing under his breath. He picked up a handful of sliced onions and put them on top of his burger.

Blood seeped through the towel. I squeezed it tighter.

He went back to the table. Sat down. Took a bite of his burger.

“Now, that’s better,” he mumbled.

The whole scene reminded me of the time I’d heard two DJs on the radio talking about a survey some researchers had conducted on memories. The results showed there are three things people remember most from their childhood: family vacations, holiday traditions, and mealtimes.

I had to laugh. Yeah, I’d remember mealtimes at my house, and immediately wish I could forget them.

• • •

I spent the evening in my room, doing homework. Mom got home around ten, like always. She worked the swing shift as a checker at the Rite Aid. I heard her in the other room, exchanging words with Dean. Their voices got louder, and my name was mentioned a time or two.

I turned up the music on my laptop in response, doing my best to fight the world with Foo. The Foo Fighters, that is. I traced my finger along my ankle, imagining the tattoo I’d designed in my head with a circle of musical notes and lyrics from my favorite song, “Everlong.” If I make it to eighteen with my sanity intact, I figure I’ll owe it to the Foo Fighters. Well, and to my job at Full Bloom. Might need to incorporate a couple of flowers into that design.

I picked up my book, trying to read like a good junior should. The Crucible. Ms. Bloodsaw (yes, that’s really her name) said it was a perfect example of irony. If you denied you were a witch, they hanged you. If you admitted you were a witch, they set you free. But you had to live every day with the lies you told. What kind of life would that be? I’d thought about it a lot. Probably too much.

Mom poked her head into my room. “Rayanna, how come the dishes aren’t done?”

I held up my bandaged finger for her to see.

“Well, it’s not broken, is it? Get out there and wash ’em. ’Cause I sure as hell can’t do ’em. I’ve been on my feet—”

“For over eight hours. I know, Mom. But I cut it really bad.”

“You’ll live,” she said. “Though you may not if you don’t get off your ass and get those dishes done. You know how Dean likes things kept neat around here.”

Grandma used to say, “The road to happiness is paved with good deeds for others.” Clearly my mother had taken a detour. Would it kill her to do just one nice thing for me?

I got up off my bed. “Why don’t you make him—”

“Go. Wash.” She walked over and pointed her finger in my face. “The damn. Dishes.”

I don’t know why I even tried. She always took his side. Just what I needed—another reminder of how I should expect nothing from either one of them.

My mother had never been an easy person to live with. I tried my best to be empathetic toward her. Grandma told me once that Mom had a lot of bad things happen to her when she was younger, and it left her angry at the world. When I pressed Grandma for more information, wanting so desperately to understand my mother, she said it wasn’t her place to tell me. And then she told me I should try not to take it personally, which is pretty much impossible to do when it feels personal.

After Grandma died from cancer six years ago, I told myself not to worry, because there was no way my mother could get any angrier.

Turned out I was wrong.

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