Falling by Cat Clarke

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Falling by Cat Clarke

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: Casual sex, jealousy, alcohol and tragedy combine in a very dark LGBT romance for older teens from Barrington Stoke.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd.
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781122075

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Falling is a book that I liked for some reasons, and disliked for others. It is very short and terribly bleak romance. Anna seems to have it all. She is popular, pretty, and has an absolutely perfect and very wealthy boyfriend, Cam. I'm afraid I never warmed to Anna though. She comes across as one of those people who feel the world revolves around them. Self centred as she is, she does truly care for her best friend Tilly, perhaps more than she realises. It all comes together in tragic misunderstanding on the night of Cam's big party, a party he never wanted to have, but that Anna pushed him into.

Barrington Stoke has listed this book as age 14+, and while I normally am hesitant to place age limits on books in this case, I do feel 14 is an absolute minimum. This is because of one scene of a sexual nature which I felt was perhaps more graphic than it needed to be. It was also a scene with a distinctly creepy feeling as an intoxicated Anna prepared to have sex with someone she did not care for, almost as an act of revenge. A part of me found this very unsuitable for children. Another part of me realises that this is a situation many children are all too familiar with, and the situation is not glamorised in this book. In fact of all Anna's indiscretions are about come to come crashing down on her in a life changing manner as she risks losing the one person she really does love.

The parent in me liked the fact that this book does show consequences for actions. I especially like the fact that the publishers have had the courage to tackle very sensitive themes. This book deals with promiscuity, alcohol abuse, casual sex, broken hearts, finding yourself, coming out, and growing up emotionally. That is a lot to tackle in 72 pages. I feel that books with lesbian and gay characters can help young people who are struggling to come to terms with their own identity to feel less different and isolated. I also believe reading books can help children learn to be more accepting of others, and to think about how the another child might feel. This book does give the reader a very strong impression of the turmoil the main character is suffering. The author conveys emotions well in a very harsh and raw manner, especially despair.

On the down side, I found the book entirely predictable. It was quite clear early on exactly how this would turn out. This not one of my favourites in the Barrington Stoke collection, but I am not in the target audience either. The book is certainly unique. While finding books for boys is usually far more difficult than for girls, with dyslexia the tables seem to be turned as significantly more boys suffer from this condition than girls. This book offers something to older teenage girls who are still struggling with literacy and may encourage them to seek out the authors longer and more complex works.

Falling is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. Working with a team of experts in the field, Barrington Stoke have developed their own font which is especially designed to make reading as easy as possible for children with dyslexia. They also print all of their books on a thick, off white, non-glare paper to minimise distractions which can make reading more difficult. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, but at a much lower reading level than the interest level. This book could easily appeal to adults as well as children.

If you'd like to read more by Cat Clarke, we can recommend Undone and Torn. She's also popped in to Bookbag Towers to to chat to us.

Buy Falling by Cat Clarke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Falling by Cat Clarke at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Falling by Cat Clarke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Falling by Cat Clarke at Amazon.com.


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Robert James said:

Agree completely, Margaret - I read this today and was staggered by how bleak it is, even compared to Cat's longer books, which are already pretty dark. I was taken completely by surprise by the ending, though - had the first 'twist' figured out but wasn't expecting it to finish like that at all.


Margaret Young said:

Thanks, its always nice to know how another reader takes the book. I think Falling is a book people would love or hate. I felt both towards the book. It would certainly have many I know in a complete tizzy and ready for good old fashioned book burning, but as bleak and gritty as it is, it is very, very realistic and the book stays with you. It encourages the reader to see things from a different perspective and any book that broadens your outlook has value.

All the best

Margaret