From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes Courtney Summers's Fall or Anything, a gripping story about one girl's search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.
When Eddie Reeves's father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father's and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie's vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||273 KB|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Courtney Summers is the author of young adult novels including Fall for Anything, Some Girls Are, and Cracked Up to Be. She lives and writes in Canada, where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and a word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse.
Read an Excerpt
Fall for Anything
By Courtney Summers
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2010 Courtney Summers
All rights reserved.
My hands are dying.
I keep trying to explain it to Milo, but he just looks at me like I'm crazy.
"They don't feel warm—they haven't." I squeeze the tips of my fingers as hard as I can, which hurts. "They're not numb, though ..."
"Maybe you have that ... Raynaud's disease," he says. He takes my right hand and studies my fingers. They seem healthy, pink. He shakes his head. "They're not blue."
"But they're cold."
"They feel warm to me."
"They feel cold," I insist.
"Okay, Eddie," he says. "They're cold."
I jerk my hands from his and then I rub them together. Friction. Heat. Milo can say what he wants; they're freezing. It's the hottest summer Branford has seen in something like ten years, but I haven't been able to get my hands to warm up since it happened.
I hold them up again. They don't even look like my hands anymore. They don't even look like anything that could belong to me, even though they're clearly attached.
"They're different," I tell him.
"Would you please put your hands down?" he asks. "Jesus."
My hands have changed. I catch Milo looking at them sometimes, and I see it on his face that they're different, no matter what he's saying now.
We're at the park, sitting on the picnic tables, watching a summer world go by. Kids play in the fountain with their parents. Pant legs are rolled up and big hands are holding on to tiny hands, keeping them steady against the rush of water. The smell of burgers and fries is in the air; food. It reminds me the fridge at home is empty and I have to go grocery shopping today or my mom and I will starve. I don't even know how long the fridge has been that empty, but I noticed it today.
"What's in your fridge?" I ask Milo.
"Doesn't matter," he says. "My mom isn't home."
We're stuck between my house and his lately. He hasn't been allowed to have girls at his place unsupervised since he hit puberty and I don't like hanging out at my place now.
It's too depressing.
"That's not why I asked. I have to go grocery shopping and I don't know what to get ..." I rest my chin in my hands. "And I really don't want to do it."
He hops off the picnic table. "Let's just get it over with, okay?"
We make our way out of the park and go to the grocery store. I've barely stepped through the automatic doors when I decide it is The Saddest Place on Earth.
Everyone just looks sad.
We end up in produce. I give myself a headache over the kind of math you have to use to buy food, which you need to live. I don't even know what I want or what we need or how much I should be spending or what's reasonable to spend. EVERYTHING HERE IS A STEAL, if I believe the signs, but there are two grocery stores in Branford, so I don't know.
"It's not hard," Milo says, but even he sounds kind of unsure.
It is hard. I've never done this before.
I never had to.
We head to the frozen foods and I start shoving TV dinners into my cart and then I go to the dairy aisle and get cheese and bread because it seems less hopeless than TV dinners. And then I stand there, lost. What's next? This is what grown-ups do.
It's such a waste of time.
"Hey," Milo says. "You here?"
"I'm here," I say. I think.
I head back to the freezers and grab some frozen vegetables. I read somewhere they're better for you than fresh because they were picked at a perfect moment in time and frozen in it. Fresh vegetables aren't really fresh because as soon as they're out of the ground and on their way to the grocery store, the best parts of them have already started to fade away.
"I should get ..."
I trail off and turn in the aisle, trying to ignore the sad faces shuffling past, and then I grab some ginger ale. Ginger ale is usually only for when we're sick and I know we're not technically sick, but every time I'm at home, I feel like I could puke so that must be close enough.
When we step inside my house, all the lights are off.
It wouldn't be a big deal since it's summer and it's the middle of the day, but all the curtains are drawn too. It's like some kind of permanent dusk or twilight here now—those two points in twenty-four hours where it's too early or too late to do anything. I'm discovering those moments feel like they go on forever. Milo reaches for the first light switch he sees, but I stop him and bring my finger to my lips. I keep it there until I hear it.
"You'd feel so much better if you had one room that was neat and clean ..."
Enemy presence confirmed.
Now I just have to figure out how to sneak the groceries into the fridge and leave again before she notices I'm here.
"—get Eddie to clean the living room up, start your day there every morning. Have your tea, center yourself, and let it motivate you into creating a new routine. You can't stagnate, Robyn. I was talking to Kevin about it. You have to force yourself to adjust, basically ..."
I back into Milo because all her voice makes me want to do is run, but our grocery bags rustle against each other, and just like that, it's over for both of us.
"Eddie?" Beth's voice is glass-edge sharp and goes straight up my spine. Milo rubs my shoulder with his free hand. "Eddie? Is that you?"
I turn on the light. "It's me ..."
We step into the kitchen. Beth is there, her arms crossed. Behind her, I glimpse my mother. She's at the table, wrapped up in Dad's old housecoat.
"Where have you been?" Beth asks. She nods at the bags. "What are those?"
Beth has been my mother's best friend since way before I was born. Beth is what happens to mean girls after they graduate high school. Beth is what happens to mean girls after they graduate high school and turn forty. Beth is what happens to mean girls after they graduate high school, turn forty, and develop gerontophobia and thanatophobia, which means she's unnaturally afraid of getting older and dying, which would be sad if her endless Botox injections and vitamin-popping and paranoid trips to the doctor weren't so mockable. She's always hated me. She wishes Mom and Dad never got married or had a kid because my existence just reminds her of how old she's getting.
Beth has spent every waking hour trying to emotionally bleach this place out and turn it back the way it was, but it will never be the way it was.
Beth is driving me fucking crazy.
"They're groceries," I tell her. She holds out her hands and I give the bags over. Milo does the same. "The fridge was empty."
Mom wordlessly opens her arms and gestures me forward. My heart inches up my throat and I go to her, burying my face in the housecoat. It's starting to smell less and less like him and more like her. She grips me tightly.
"Leave a note," she whispers. Her voice is crackly. "Next time you leave the house, leave a note, okay?"
I nod and she lets me go. I feel Milo watching us. Sometimes I hate that he does. I know he can't help being in front of it, but he doesn't have to look.
Beth riffles through my purchases. "These will have to be returned. You can't have this in the house. It's not healthy. TV dinners, Eddie? Processed food is like eating death—"
"But the fridge was empty—"
"I know. Your mother called me."
Beth opens the fridge with a flourish, and where once was nothing, now is everything, and everything is lame. The crisper is full of bright colors; vegetables. Cartons of yogurt line the bottom shelf, and from here I can see she's organized them alphabetically by flavor. Cottage cheese. Hummus. She goes into the cupboards, opens them, and I spot boxes of couscous and tabouleh and dried beans and I completely lose interest in food forever.
She closes the doors and stares at me accusingly.
"How did you let it get down to nothing ?" She sets my bags on the floor in front of me. "Take these back. We don't need them."
"But the ginger ale—"
"Take them back," she repeats firmly. "And by the way, your mother and I were talking. We thought you could clean up the living room—to give her a space where she can create a new routine. Begin the process of starting over. I was talking to Kevin and Kevin said—"
"Kevin as in Kevin your esthetician?"
Milo snorts and Beth turns red. She takes a deep, cleansing breath —at least that's what she calls them, but I don't think deep, cleansing breaths go in and out through the narrow spaces between clenched teeth—and after a long moment, she smiles very, very sweetly, which is what she always does before she spews her sugared venom at me.
"I'm just curious—what about that idea sounds unreasonable to you?" She crosses her arms. "Please tell me, Eddie. Let's have a nice talk about this."
"Can't." I pick up the grocery bags, ginger ale and all. "I have to take these back."
I glance at Mom again, looking for some kind of reaction. She hates when I fight with Beth, usually implores us both to stop, but she's quiet, her hands clutching her housecoat closed.
She's staring at the wall, where there is a photograph of my father.
In the photo, he's laughing.
Milo and I have this drinking game about Beth: every time she annoys me, we drink.
She annoys me a lot.
"So what do you think Elizabeth Bathory is doing right now?" I ask.
"I don't know," Milo says.
I tilt my face toward the sun. Beth stays out of the sun as much as possible. She doesn't want wrinkles or cancer, but she's a walking spray-on tan because she doesn't want to look old either. For her next birthday, I'm going to break into her house and fill it with clocks.
I take a swig from Milo's flask and hand it back to him. He screws the top back on. He inherited the flask from his grandfather and stole the liquor from his mom. The circle of life.
"Do you think she's gone yet?"
"Beth?" he asks. I nod and he laughs. "No. She's going to stay there until you get back so she can give you the last word."
"I fucking hate her."
"I know you do."
We're sprawled out on the dry, yellow grass next to Ford River, which curls through Branford. This summer is so dry, the water barely trickles by the stones that peak far past its surface. It's painfully low. You could walk across it and never get your feet wet.
"Watch this," I say, getting up. "I mean, watch me."
"Twist my arm."
I give Milo a look. He returns a lazy smile. I stand, slip out of my sandals, and edge my way down to the bank. I place one bare foot on a large, sturdy rock and move to the next closest rock easily, even though it's smaller. I hop to the next and the next and then I'm in the middle of the river, which seems far enough. I face Milo and he claps.
"Take that show on the road," he calls.
I bow and make my way back to him. I settle on the ground and ease my head against his outstretched shins, like they're a pillow. I stare at the sky. It's clear, no clouds or anything. Just the sun, until it burns out billions of years from now.
"What are you thinking?" Milo asks. I hold up my hands. I don't even say anything and he goes, "Eddie, please don't make me feel up your hands again."
"Because I won't."
"I bet if I asked, you would."
Milo would do almost anything for me. He's been my best friend since second grade, when a brief but weird obsession with the original Star Trek got him sort of ostracized at the same time all the girls in our class decided a girl named Eddie must actually really be a boy. By third grade, we weren't so outcast anymore, but we were beyond needing other people. We still are. Anyone else who happens on the both of us, they're just temps.
Like that girlfriend he had that one time.
"Tell me about that night," I say.
He shakes his head.
He would do almost anything for me.
I look back at my hands.
"They are dying."
He turns his head toward the water and squints, like he's caught sight of something very interesting, but it's a lie. The sun is on him and he looks like he just rolled out of bed, but he always looks like that. His longish brown hair is always messy around his head. His blue eyes always look kind of sleepy. I lower my hands.
"So, are you going to be home later tonight?" he asks.
"Later like when?"
"Like, after ten." He's leaving me soon. I can feel it. Mostly because he has a part-time job at Fuller's Gas and it's getting to be that time. "I have to go to work."
"I'm crashing early tonight," I lie.
I like to make my nighttime escapes unnecessarily dramatic because it makes it easier to ignore the weight in my chest. I can briefly fool my body into believing I'm going on an adventure.
The adventure starts when it's late enough that everyone is asleep, usually just Mom, but sometimes Beth. Tonight Beth is staying over. I get out of bed as quietly as possible and then I open my window, fighting with it, because the house is shrinking or the window is expanding—I'm not sure—and when it's open, I crawl onto the roof, which slopes down, and make my way carefully to the very edge of it on my butt until my legs dangle over the side. It's not a long drop by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels farther standing up, so I don't.
I'm still impressed with the fact I can jump off the roof and land perfectly each time. Okay, not the first time. Definitely not the first time. I landed hard on my knee that time, but it wasn't enough to keep me from leaving. It was enough that I bled, sticky red all down my leg—but that just told me I was alive.
It is so easy.
I land. The ground is a shock against my feet, like it always is. Landing makes me dizzy. My cell phone vibrates in my back pocket. Milo. I ignore it.
I grab my bike and I get on it and I just go.
Branford is so still this late at night. Shuts down after nine o'clock. There are no cars headed anywhere and the roads are silent. Every so often I pass a house with an air-conditioner in the window and its rattling drone fills the street. When it fades, there's only the soft rush of my bike wheels on the pavement. The first night, I walked. It's too far to walk.
I come out here every night.
It's still dark out when I get back, close to morning.
I can't get inside the house like how I get out of it. I go around the back and in through the glass doors off the patio that open into my dad's old office. I sit in his old chair, at his desk. I lean my head back and close my eyes. The chair is falling apart because he wore it down, got it to fit him perfectly. He refused to throw it out and now I'm trying hard to belong to the space he left behind, but I'm awkward and small and I don't.
Sometimes, when my eyes are closed, I can convince myself I smell him: old paper and musk and something chemical. I open my eyes, expecting to see him but there's nothing.
The door creaks open.
My heart stops. I jump out of the chair fast.
Beth. She turns on the light and squints at me.
"I thought I heard someone," she says.
I don't say anything. Just wait for her to go. Of course, she doesn't. She steps inside and moves around the office slowly, taking it all in. I don't know if she's been in here since my dad died. She pauses and studies some of the photographs he took that hang on the wall. Leave. I don't say it, though. It's a miracle she hasn't noticed I'm still dressed.
"Such a waste," she murmurs.
"What's a waste?" I ask.
She gestures to the photos. "To have that kind of gift ... to have people respond to it." She pauses. "And then to just ... stop sharing it."
My father was famous.
A long, long time ago.
Maybe famous is the wrong word. My father was an artist, and to other artists he was a star. But I only know this about my father so long after it's been true, maybe star is the wrong word too. When he was twenty, he went by his initials, S.R., and turned an entire city into his own personal art gallery. He spent a year pinning his photos all over city walls, shots of people close and touching everywhere, until eventually, the media noticed. It took six months for them to out him, and when they asked him why he'd done it, he said, I want to share my work with the world. Simple. The world was charmed.
Later, he told me it wasn't his art or his sincerity, it was just the right time. Either way, he was briefly catapulted into the kind of life I've never been able to imagine him living, but spend more and more time trying to imagine him living.
Secrets on City Walls became a book.
His work was in actual galleries, in far more places than he's ever been.
Excerpted from Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers. Copyright © 2010 Courtney Summers. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Also by Courtney Summers,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had pretty high expectations for Fall For Anything...and I was not disappointed at all! It is easily one of my favorite books; I could read it over and over again without getting bored. I love the cover. It is just striking. Courtney Summers is probably my favorite author out there. She's been known as the 'Queen of Mean' for writing up compelling mean girls, but that's not what made me love Fall For Anything. No, in this story Eddie is not popular, she hasn't dated the most popular guy in school, and has never bullied. She is vulnerable and broken. "My hands are dying." The first sentence of the novel, the four words that stay with me through the whole book. Eddie has not felt alive since her father's suicide. She's a mess, and she wants answers. They even seem close enough to touch when she meets her father's student, Culler Evans. He understands Eddie and her obsession; but is he everything Eddie thinks he is? I love all the relationships in Fall for Anything. For example, Eddie's complicated friendship with Milo (and the confusion with Missy) had me completely curious with what would happen next. I also loved the relationships between Eddie and her mother, and Eddie with her father. I even found myself interested in the hate relationship between her and Beth. The characters and their actions felt so real, it made me love the novel even more. Furthermore, I have to mention how beautiful Summers' writing is. With Fall for Anything, and all her other books, just the way the story is written makes me want to devour it. They are written in such a way that takes fictional feelings and makes them pulse through me. Fall for Anything is a book that takes a master to create. Courtney Summers is that master
I don't think I've ever been able to become so absorbed with a character as I was with Eddie. While I was reading I became her and was only able to view the story as it happened to her, from her eyes. So trying to distance myself enough to write a review is proving to be a bit of a challenge. When Eddie is betrayed by what Culler had been doing all along, I was too because while reading It I wasn't able to read his character for anything other than what Eddie saw him as. Her emotions as she was going through everything in the story where mine while I was reading them. It was like I was reading my own diary. The aftermath of her father's suicide is a train wreck. Her life, her mother's life, everything is a mess, and none is able to tell her where to go from here, none is able to tell her why. But at the end Eddie realises something heartbreaking that will ring true to anyone who has lost a parent, or loved one. It's not why did it happen it's how do I move on from here. Grief is written so plainly that I want to cry thinking back on it. Summers' captures the feelings and emotions of what it's like when a person dies and the only thing you want is for time to stop, so that it will matter, for life to stop and rewind so you can change it. For your life to be turned upside down, and to have to figure out where you go from here. Courtney Summers has written a story which I cannot find one fault in, not a single one. She has written it so relatably that while reading I couldn't tell where Eddie stopped and I began. The characters go through a lot, and so did I while reading it. The ending wasn't perfect which is why it was perfect. It wasn't all tied up in a pretty little happily ever after package, it was real and believable and right. I can't tell you this book will mean to you what it did to me, but I can tell you it's one you don't want to miss.
After Eddie Reeves' father commits suicide, her world turns upside down. She never would have imagined her father ending his life and neither could her mother. Now, the two of them are worlds apart. Eddie leans on her best friend Milo to keep her company, while her mother refuses to leave the house or her father's housecoat. The only outside company they have is Beth, Eddie's mother and a woman who Eddie hates. I've never read anything by Courtney Summers before, but Fall For Anything makes me want to pick up Summers previous books, read them, then scour her computer for any forgotten or abandoned manuscripts. That's how good this book is. Eddie is quietly intense, in that way that lingers in your head and presses on your thoughts. Her loss is so vast and inescapable, but Summers doesn't make it suffocating or difficult to read. I never felt like the book was weighing me down, only that the death and Eddie's pain was hovering around me, begging me to continue the story. Eddie's search for the reason why is played out masterfully and beautifully. Summers has created a character that is completely realistic and lifelike. Everything about Eddie feels real. From her personality, her actions, her emotions, and her grief, she is real. Milo, Eddie's best friend, is undeniably attractive and his relationship with Eddie is far from clichéd (yay!). Then there's Culler Evans. Oh, Culler Evans, how is it that someone who could easily be a pretentious artsy guy, turn out to be the only person who Eddie relates to, therefore someone I care about? Like I said, Summers is amazing. And Fall For Anything is a story that will break your heart in seemingly innocent, hidden ways. The story is a search for reasons, for whys, and Eddie will take you on a journey that is unexpected, with twists and turns, ups and downs. Her grief enthralled me and I was fully committed to find out exactly why Seth Reeves decided death was superior to the life he had. I'll be picking up Summers other books ASAP and devouring them just as fast as this one. Opening line: My hands are dying. ~ pg. 1 Favorite lines (I want to quote the entire book, but I'll refrain): Forget sappy messages about overcoming; I want ones that say NOW YOU'LL BE A LESSER PERSON THAN YOU WERE or WE CANNOT POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND or I CAN UNDERSTAND BECAUSE SOMEONE I KNOW DIED TOO or maybe something about how grief can make your skin feel sore and bruised and electric because that's how my skin has felt ever since, except for my hands. ~ pg. 40 *This is the ARC version and words, sentences, cover art, etc. may change before official publication
I absolutely love courtney summers books. Falling for anything is a great read, full of emotion and heartache. I really enjoyed it and cant wait to read her next book ,This is Not a Test.
10*s out of five!!!! Extreamly good!!!!! :D
Eddie Reeves is devastated when her photographer father commits suicide. She is consumed by the question of "why?" He left a note, but there were no answers. She meets Culler Evans, her father's one and only student, and he is consumed by the same questions she is. Culler is mysterious, and seems to know more about her father than she does. Culler shows Eddie his discovery, at the place where her father committed suicide, and from there, they go on a search to find answers. FALL FOR ANYTHING actually had a pretty slow start, unlike Summers' other novels. I was a little disappointed, because it wasn't like her other ones. It was still good, though. I felt a genuine concern for Eddie's character, because of her hurt and depression from her father's suicide. I was worried about her, and I don't often feel that kind of connection with characters. Overall, this was a fairly good story, with a huge twist at the end which I definitely didn't see coming. If you enjoyed Ms. Summers' other novels, check this one out, too!
Two novels later (I still need to read her first one), and I'm quickly becoming a fan of Courtney Summers. Her stories are haunting and very real world. Ever have a book that totally works it's way into your brain because of something that has happened to you personally recently? For me this was one of them. No, I didn't recently have someone close to be commit suicide but the death of a friend that came as quite a shock. I don't deal well with death, there I said it. And this book brings up a lot of my fears and other emotions that I can only imagine if I had lost a parent at a young age (although this one also made me think about losing a child). Eddie was marvelous. I think I might have cried right along with her. I hated Beth for all the things she was doing, even though I knew it was her own way of coping. I felt sorry for Eddie's mom, because I could imagine what she was going though. And most of all, I wanted Eddie to wake up and realize who she could trust and who she couldn't. Sometimes grief makes you do things you wouldn't normally do. I honestly wasn't surprised at the twist in the story. I think I was expecting it. Although the motives given, I honestly questioned. It seemed to convenient for me. I was happy to see Milo stick by her through it all. It must have been hard for him too. His feelings for Eddie mixed in with what happened would be hard for anybody to bear. I can't wait to see what Courtney Summers produces for us next.