Sunday, June 13, 2010
Review: Freefall by Mindi Scott
Author: Mindi Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: 10.5.10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Music, Love, Friendship, Loss, Guilt
Description (from GoodReads):
How do you come back from the point of no return?
Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.
Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.
Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .
When I first read through FREEFALL's description I was torn. The cover seemed to call to me, but the description worried me... To be honest, only one seemingly small detail of the description gave me pause: Seth. I often have a difficult time relating to male narrators. In fact, there have only been two such novels that I enjoyed enough to compare to female narrated novels: PAPER TOWNS by John Green and BLACK RABBIT SUMMER by Kevin Brooks. I should never have underestimated author Mindi Scott; I found it remarkably easy to emphathize with Seth.
In ways, this novel was horrifying. I'm from a small town where most kids consider a "good time" a weekend of drunken debauchery. I now live in a college town where the weekend starts on Thirsty Thursday ... and there are still people that like to get an early start. So, for this reason, the drinking and subsequent consequences that occur in FREEFALL hit home. Seth's best friend loses his life on one of their many drunken nights. It's terrifying to think how many times the exact same circumstances could have led to the death of someone I actually know... someone real. I must give credit to Scott for portraying underage drinking and partying in such a realistic way. There's no sugar coating, no shiny veneer - and anyone who says that the situations in FREEFALL aren't realistic is terribly naive. I think it takes an honest portrayal for a message like Scott's to have any real impact on teen readers and authors do a disservice to teens if they try to soften those sharp edges.
As an onlooker, Seth's journey towards the acceptance of Isaac's death and the role his actions played invoked various emotions. I was grateful for the minor characters throughout the novel, who not only facilitated Seth's journey, but provided a much needed reprieve from his darker thoughts. Mrs. Dalloway, who teaches Seth's interpersonal communications class, was definitely one of my favorite characters and reminded me of some of the quirky teachers I've had. She provided humorous situations throughout the novel and the tools and guidance Seth needs to reach out to other characters, like Rosetta.
I found Seth's relationship with Rosetta to be completely believable. Scott's representation of many of the firsts Rosetta and Seth share is, at times, painfully realistic. I closely identified with their first real fight; it was so easy to draw parallels between reality and fiction. The accuracy of the depiction renewed the emotions I had felt when I was in the same situation, causing my bond to the characters to strengthen that much more.
FREEFALL is a tremendous debut from an extremely talented author. Not only did Scott write a male narrator that I could easily identify with, her novel imparts an important message about the choices we make and the consequences that follow... and how, afterward, we must pick up the pieces and move on.
I love the simplicity of the cover! Sometimes a cover clearly appeals to one gender over another, but, thankfully, FREEFALL's is neutral.