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FALLING by Doug Wilhelm

FALLING

By Doug Wilhelm

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 0-374-32251-1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Ninth-grader Matt Shaw spends his after-school hours walking the streets of Rutland, a small city in Vermont that conceals serious secrets. His idolized older brother Neal was not handed a Division I basketball scholarship and has plunged himself into heavy drug use. Matt, also a hoop protégé, has quit playing and roams Rutland trying to cope with his dysfunctional home life. Katie, another ninth-grader in search of self, connects with 1wanderR in an online chat room and realizes this cyber person is her school’s former basketball star. She is intrigued by his pain and manages to introduce herself in person. The teens’ romance has flashes of authentic first-love give-and-take. However, at times they converse about their inner feelings on almost an adult level. Underlying Katie and Matt’s struggle to center themselves is Neal’s increasingly dangerous behavior that alerts the police. Serious mistakes lead to a climatic tragic situation with alarming consequences that will have teens turning the pages. The too-neat-and-tidy wrap-up flaws an otherwise solid effort. (Fiction. YA)