Friday, February 11, 2011

Fall for Anything by Courntey Summers

Friday, February 11, 2011

From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes 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?

Fall for Anything is my first introduction to Courtney Summer’s writing and I want more.  While I have read a few YA books dealing with the death of family member, nothing prepared me for the intensity I found page after page in this novel. Summer’s prose is powerful. I found myself continually writing down quotes from the book so that I would remember just how much of an impact they had in defining for me the despair that Eddie felt over her father’s suicide.

“Sometimes I am haunted by my grief. It circles me, stalks me. It’s always in the periphery. Sometimes I can fake it. Sometimes I make myself go so still, it can’t sense that I’m there anymore and it goes away.” 

Eddie’s grief is never far away, and it is this grief that drives her and the entire story. Everything comes down to her overwhelming desire to know why her father killed himself.

All of Summer’s characters are so life-like they cannot help but evoked a number of strong feelings from the reader: sympathy, anger, and empathy among others. One secondary character that created intense dislike even hatred was Eddie’s mother’s, friend Beth. In an effort to help Eddie’s despondent, lachrymose mother, she neglects to recognize the despair Eddie feels. While like Eddie, I detested Beth I also found her very cathartic. Beth’s presences in the novel allowed me to vent my emotionally draining empathy for Eddie’s grief, which is so pervasive throughout the story.

Another character, whose presence in the story offset the intensity of Eddie’s thoughts and emotions was Milo. He is the voice of reason and I loved how attuned he was to Eddie. He maintained a stable and reasonable presences supporting Eddie as she attempts to deal with her all consuming need to gain answers.  But as much as Milo cares about Eddie, he isn’t able to give her the answer she seeks. This too makes him a very believable character, one who knows the only thing he can do is just be there when Eddie needs him to be.

Courtney’s prose definitely invoked some of the strongest emotional responses that I have ever had. It is the quintessential book dealing with the aftermath of suicide. Just be prepared for a heartbreaking, totally honest trip that will leave you completely drained emotionally.  

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