Moriarty exposes the underbelly of family strife in this coming-of-age college drama set near Lawrence, Kans. One day, Veronica Von Holten is happy, med-school bound, in love with her boyfriend and not far from her supportive family. Then her father finds another man in the bed he shares with his wife of 26 years. As a messy divorce ensues, Veronica struggles to keep her own life in check while her mother’s unravels, and a car accident, a house-sitting gig gone bad and an illicit kiss turn Veronica’s personal life upside down. Things come to a head when her mother shows up on Veronica’s dorm doorstep with the elderly family dog, Bowzer. Veronica is faced with the difficult task of navigating personal strife on top of her family’s struggle to define itself anew. Moriarty (The Rest of Her Life) delves into this realistic but narrow world with an inviting honesty and creates a cast of vivid and flawed characters that will hold readers rapt with a queasy sense of unease. (Aug.)
Veronica Von Holten is about to learn just how badly life can spiral out of control. She's already stressed by the demands of being a premed major when a series of bad decisions and her parents' acrimonious divorce leave her dazed and confused. Within a few weeks, she finds herself sheltering her now homeless mother and aging dog Bowser in her dorm room, crashing a borrowed car in a snow storm, hosting a party that trashes an apartment, and then being stalked by the apartment's owner. Meanwhile, her mother is following a parallel trajectory when unexpected expenses leave her struggling to survive and maintain some dignity. After reluctantly joining forces, the two find unorthodox ways to sort out their lives and find joy again. VERDICT The third time proves a charm for the author of The Center of Everything and The Rest of Her Life. Veronica's story is told with a clarity and humor that make both her descent and her recovery believable. Recommended for readers who enjoy coming-of-age novels and intelligent chick lit.—Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll., NC
Moriarty (The Rest of Her Life, 2007, etc.) slips inside the skin of a premed student disoriented by her parents' divorce and her own fumbling attempts to live up to others' expectations. Veronica Von Holten's father, a lawyer who raided his retirement when times grew lean, and her mother Natalie, a stay-at-home mom who had once been a teacher, separate after Dad catches a strange man asleep in his own bed. After the family house is sold in the divorce proceedings, Natalie takes the ancient and often incontinent family dog Bowzer away in her minivan with the rest of her possessions. Now strapped for money, she struggles to support herself in a world that no longer considers her skills valid or useful. Meanwhile, Veronica's life turns inside out. She's struggling with an organic-chemistry class that might as well be Mandarin for all the sense it makes to her; her rock-steady engineering-student boyfriend Tim wants her to move in with him; and she stinks at her job as a Resident Advisor in the dorm. Without a car and longing for some privacy, Veronica leaps at the chance to housesit for one of the more dubious campus characters: a guy named Jimmy, who has piercings, a shaved head, a mysterious, possibly illegal source of income and an oddly familiar girlfriend. Things don't go quite as Veronica hopes they will, and soon she's nursing a headache, heartache and bad attitude that she will later come to regret. Moriarty deftly explores the shifting ground between Veronica and each of her parents, but it is the familiar turf of mother-daughter relationships that primarily engages her. In her careful and knowing hands, Veronica, Natalie and the rest emerge as characters readers will care about.Turn off the phone, lock the door and order takeout before opening this sweet, straight-through read that leaves no loose ends dangling. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh/Willam Morris Agency
"WHILE I'M FALLING deftly captures the moment a child realizes that growing up means being responsible for your parents' mistakes - and preventing yourself from making the same ones. Laura Moriarty keeps getting better and better."
"WHILE I'M FALLING deftly captures the moment a child realizes that growing up means being responsible for your parents' mistakes - and preventing yourself from making the same ones. Laura Moriarty keeps getting better and better."Jodi Picoult, author of Handle with Care