Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.

What I Liked:

I've been reading a lot of contemporary novels lately - a lot more than I'm used to reading. Actually, that's not completely true. I've read a few contemporary novels, and I have quite a bit to read coming up soon. It just feels like a lot of contemporary novels, when I so used to reading anything but contemporary (not that there is anything wrong with contemporary). I enjoyed Serle's debut novel (which was contemporary), so naturally, I was super pumped to read this one.

This book was a pretty good read. It definitely was not what I thought it would be. Caggie is dealing with a lot of heavy stuff right now - her sister died, when she (Caggie) was supposed to be watching her, and then Caggie saves a classmate from falling off a balcony, at a peer's party. Except that Caggie isn't a hero - because SHE was the one that went to that balcony, to jump, to kill herself, and Kristen was trying to save her. Not the other way around (though the other way around was what happened).

This book is definitely one of those "tough-issue" books, and we all know my experiences with those. I usually have polar extremes when it comes to those kinds of books - I either love it, or loathe it. My most recent "tough-issue" read (before this one) was Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens, and I was sooo not a fan (which is unfortunate, because the author is so amazing and nice!).

I'm not really sure how I feel about the characters. I sort of understood Caggie, except I don't necessarily agree with her choices, from beginning to end. I was suspicious about Claire, Abigail, Astor, and Peter. The only characters that I actually had genuinely friendly feelings toward were Trevor and Kristen - and that's because they seemed to be the only honest, caring characters of the book. 

I like the feel of this story. It was subtly about Caggie's healing process, but also, the healing of other characters. Caggie's sister's death affected many people. Caggie "saving" Kristen affected many people as well. So, this book was as much about Peter, Trevor, Kristen, Claire, etc., as it was about Caggie.

Astor is an interesting character. I'm not sure I like him very much, but I don't blame him for what happened - not really. Sort of, but not really. Like, some things were definitely his fault, and at times, he was definitely acting crazy, but he needed to experience healing just as much as Caggie did.

All of the characters experience some sort of growth, as the story progresses. The story primarily focused on Caggie's decline in school and her whirlwind relationship with Astor. For the most part, I liked the story. I liked the unconventionality of the romance - I personally saw it coming, but most people probably wouldn't. I enjoyed this book for the most part, and I'm glad I read it.

What I Did Not Like:

As I mentioned above, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Caggie. I don't think we clicked, but I could see her side of things MUCH easier than I could with most heroines of "tough-issue" books. I feel like her emotion shutdown and the way she expressed her grief was more subtle and more complex than other heroines of "tough-issue" books, which I would much rather read. At the same time, Caggie's decisions were probably just as screwed up, at the end of the way. Some of the things she did, especially when it came to Astor, were too much. Like, there were red flags going up in my head throughout the book, in many regards.

Most of the characters rubbed me the wrong way. I'm glad that they all went through their processes of grief, and most of them grew and developed throughout the story, but I didn't like most of them, for the most part. I liked Trevor a lot, and I liked Kristen, but otherwise, meh.

I wasn't very passionate about this book, and I didn't absolutely love it. I know it doesn't seem like I have a ton of reasons for rating this book as low as I did, but I just didn't love it. Nor did I really like it. I enjoyed it, I'm happy to have had the opportunity to read it, but I probably wouldn't buy it, or read it again.

Would I Recommend It:

I'd say maybe. This isn't like, a number one, absolutely loved, must have, must buy/borrow, will cry over, will change lives kind of book. It's a good read, but don't break your neck trying to get to the bookstore or library for this one. It's not the best contemporary novel out there, but if you already have it, or really wanted to read it before, then go for it. Do it. Otherwise, skip it.


3 stars. Maybe it was a feeling of apathy that held me back? I don't know. But I wasn't wild about this book. However, I enjoyed it, and I am happy that I read, finished, and reviewed it.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Aww I'm sorry you didn't like The Edge of Falling much! I just read and finished it not too long ago and really liked it! You brought up a lot of good points, several of which I agree on, so I can see why you rated it the way you did! I thought Rebecca Serle did a great job with this. I feel like writing a book about grief, loss, and stuff like that can be a tough subject that can either go really well or fall way too flat and I've read most of the flat ones, so I'm glad that Rebecca was able to pull this off so well in a way that I enjoyed! :)

    But I totally get where you're coming from with this!

    1. I'm glad you really like it! Serle took me a bit by surprise by this book, because somehow, I wasn't expecting such deep subject matter. But in a good way! I mostly liked this book, but not completely.

      Thank you!

  2. Hmm this is the first I've ever heard of The Edge of Falling but I feel like I wouldn't like it that much based on your review. I love the idea of Caggie and all of the characters growing and developing, but I wouldn't be a fan of the choices she made. I agree with you, though, I either LOVE tough issue books or I absolutely hate them! I feel like it seriously depends on the writing style and the overall tone lol. Great review, Alyssa! Sorry you didn't love this one, but I'm glad that you still enjoyed it :)

    1. I'm glad my review is your first! And I'm glad you're similar in that regard - it's either hit or miss. Although, I guess this one was kind of in the middle. I don't regret reading this one, which is good. Thank you!

  3. I don't think I've seen this title before, but no worries. I'm not a big contemporary reader, even less on "tough issue" books, and I'll probably skip this one. The only "tough issue" read I remember really liking, off the top of my head, is Speak.

    Thanks for the thought out review! :)

    1. Ooo, gotcha, for the most part, me either. I didn't read Speak, but I read one called Speechless, and it was SO GREAT :)

      You're very welcome!

  4. I also didn't hear about this book either but I now this book would not be my cup of tea because it is a tough issues I really don't like tough issues book sometimes they frustrates me too no end so yea I'm not going to try this one out thanks for your honest review Alyssa!

    1. It wasn't perfectly MY cup of tea :\ But if you're in the mood for a GOOD tough issues book, try Speehchless by Hannah Harrington. That one had a bit of humor to it, so it wasn't just gloom and doom. You're very welcome!

  5. Hmmm.... I do like tough issue books, and I like contemporaries, but neither are ones that I read on a regular basis. When I do, I want them to be incredibly special, because they should be when dealing with such issues. I love the idea behind this one, I love the places where this story could go. But I am hesitant because characters are a huge issue, whether you love them or hate them, in books like this one and it sounds like these characters might not be so grand. I think it is another case of try it out for myself. I truly appreciate your review though, because it gives me some hesitance going into the book, which hopefully will keep any disappointment at bay.

    1. I feel like I am extra picky with characters in contemporary novels that deal with tough issues, because the character directly impacts the tough issue (if that makes sense). So when I don't like the character, there is a good chance that I won't like the book. I'm happy that my review helped you in some way! I hope that if you do end up reading this book, that you enjoy it!

  6. I love reading contemporary novels! Even though, I don't always end up loving them. And that is the true crux, either they work for you or they don't. However, I usually still at least like what I'm reading. Unlike some genres where I end up hating some books.

    1. And the tough-issue contemporary novels are tricky, don't you think? I'm glad you like contemporary novels! I know what you mean. For me, it seems like the opposite.


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