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FREEFALL by Ariela Anhalt

FREEFALL

By Ariela Anhalt

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-15-206567-6
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

A hazing ritual at the elite Briar Academy goes horribly wrong, leaving Luke Prescott to figure out what really happened. Did Russell Conrad fall from the cliff to his death, or was he pushed? Luke’s best friend, Hayden Applegate, is now in jail, and Luke will soon be called to testify as the only (he thinks) eyewitness. Anhalt seems to know the boarding-school world well, creating a rich setting for this drama of family demons, school friends and rivals, and an anguishing struggle of conscience. The third-person point of view provides a necessary distance from the protagonist, keeping the story from becoming claustrophobically wrapped in Luke’s troubled psyche, and the italicized interior monologue effectively juxtaposes Luke’s thoughts with his spoken words, often at odds with each other. The final courtroom scene is riveting, as Luke struggles to finally do the right thing and take control of his life. An unusually rich and layered first novel. (Fiction. 14 & up)