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.
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
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)

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Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.14(h) x 1.02(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 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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Falling for You 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding! Its 355 pages long and i read it in 5 hours. Must read! Not a waste of money at all. I didnt want it to end!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me all over the place with emotions! I was hesitant at first thinking that it would be a basic storyline but read it just because I figured that a lot of writers have some good twists. Well this one did. I was second guessing what was going to happen a lot and that made me even more wrapped up in the book. I definitely had a good amount of emotions wrapped up in it and cried in a couple places. I loved this book and I am happy that I took a chance on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You know when a book is really good if it makes you cry and I did just that.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    Wow. This is one powerful and emotional book. I really connected with Rae and appreciated how she always used poetry as her healthy outlet for the negatives that were going on in her life. She was strong, and caring to a fault, which led her to more relationship troubles on top of her unstable home with her stepfather and unavailable mom.     On the theme of healthy outlets, I also like how it featured Leo's methods as well with the videos. I read so much about unhealthy outlets like drinking, eating disorders or cutting that even though this is an issues book with the relationship with Nathan and Rae's stepdad, that it does show other good things to take away.     Falling for You goes back and forth between Rae being in the ICU from some sort of tragedy to the past, where she first meets Nathan. I think the transitions are seemless and add an extra element of mystery and needing to know what exactly put her there and even though I have two possible scenarios, it could be something unexpected as well.     The writing is beautiful and I am sure to finally pick up some of Lisa's other books like The Day Before or Far from You to start with.     Rae is a really strong main character, and she is so selfless and brave. I really enjoyed being in her head no matter how dark it got in there. I love how she kept fighting and even when she was in pain, she wanted to still help others.      Falling for You also has a superb cast of secondary characters. The people that she works for and with at Full Bloom, Nina and Spencer are great. Their dialogue is so well written and their interactions are the warm and fuzzy that adds brightness to the dark that feeds into Rae from her home life and the negative relationship with Nathan.       I also appreciated how Ella, the grandmotherly figure was featured. She had something to teach Rae, and love to give, and she helped break Rae out of her shell, and show her that people with problems and sadness don't have to fake it to be likable.       Then there is the sweet and swoon worthy Leo. I fell for him in their first interactions. I loved their banter and his easy and caring manner. It was a sweet friendship and he really brought out the best in Rae.       And, as many of you know, I usually steer clear of books written in verse, but this is a hybrid, much like Collateral by Hopkins that I just read and loved. It is mostly written in narrative, but there are poems, but they only enhanced the story in my opinion.  Favorite quotes (from the arc)  I also really liked Alix and the friendship that her and Rae had. She supported her without pushing too far, and was there without judging when Rae shared some of her true self.  Alix speaking to Rae "But I think that is why sweet girls sometimes stay with guys who are tools. The physical part is great. they love feeling loved and they put up with stuff they shouldn't." (p. 218) I think that this is so true. I was in a bad relationship and even at points where I knew that I shouldn't put up with it or stay, I couldn't let go of the happy times, and the feeling of being wanted and often mistakenly equating physical attraction for true love.  I also really liked the poem that she finally submitted speaking up for those keeping quiet about their pain "Scars by Rae Lunch When a wound is fresh, my pen is the ointment and my paper the gauze.  What a surprise I'm not the only one.  We write to remind ourselves we have a voice. That what we feel, think, worry about, and speak matters.  Any et, we've been hiding our scars behind a single word. Anonymous.  Don't we all hurt some days? Isn't that part of the human experience we share? Maybe we shouldn't be so afraid to let the world see our scars.  Sharing brings people together.  It's secrecy that can tear people apart. " That really made me realize the power that poetry can have...  Bottom line: Dark book with a strong yet flawed but relatable main character. Lots of light moments of friendship and caring for others. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book. But by the time I reached the end I was left with unanswered questions. What happened to the overbearing boyfriend? Where was her mom? The quick details after the incidents werent enough. I felt that the author ended the story far too quickly. But besides that, the events that lead to unsatisfying ending were great. I had a hard time putting the book down. Overall its a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down. Such a great read and amazingly powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hit close to home but I loved it so much brilliant writing!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I couldnt put the book down! I could totally relate to Rae's life at home so the story felt very personal to me. My favorite part about this book is how it teaches you about how changing your outlook on life can change everything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think Lisa's fans are going to have to prepare themselves for a different kind of book before opening the covers of FALLING FOR YOU. With that said, the book is a pleasant read. Going from writing verse novels to a full-out novel is quite a different task, and I think Lisa did a decent job. There are parts where you almost feel as though she's telling you too much (as in, as a reader, you tend to assume some things and yet, she explains them anyway) but I think this will only be noticeable to some. As for the storyline, I know there are lots of girls out there right now who are probably in Rae's same predicament, so I'm not going to touch that part of it. I personally would have liked to get to know the characters more. And maybe it was just me but there’s a bit of a mystery going on and I was reading into that whole bent of it completely wrong. But again, going from writing a verse novel to this is so much different, and I think she just wasn't sure what to do at times. With all that said, I still recommend reading it. Just go into it knowing it’s for the experience of reading her first full-length novel.. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like the writer had a good idea but failed to convey it well... When I read a book I want to get the message behind the words, there was too much going on here, and I think that the Nathan character should have been her safe place.. This could have been a love story but it should have stuck with one guy.. I think Nathan got jipped.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stacy_lizz More than 1 year ago
two stars is me being generous. i feel like what was inside the book was completely different than what was conveyed on the summary.  I would try to get a refund, but i can't considering i wrote in it. I don't feel like this is a book worth buying, you're better off checking it out at the library.  Save your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago