THE FREE FALL by Jane Ratcliffe


Age Range: 14 & up
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In a truly directionless descent, this disturbing discourse plunges steadily downward beginning with the end, as Violet “Let” Hitchcock, recovering in the hospital, the cause of her injuries unknown, chronicles the events leading up to her admittance. The cast of characters is comprised of Let’s sexually starved mother; her emotionally challenged father; her best friend CJ, who downs any alcohol or illicit drug; her brother Logan, an angry young man with no sense of future; boyfriend #1, Henry, a rich, love-’em-and-leave-’em bad boy; and boyfriend #2, Ryder, a Thoreau wannabe. Besides Let’s inexplicable obsession for praying roadkill into Heaven, her search for individuals with the shine—“that trippy kind of grace some people just seem to be born with”—and flip-flopping between Henry and Ryder to determine who has true shine, her story seems aimless and purposeless. In essence, first-timer Ratcliffe presents one degenerate escapade after another in which Let, CJ, Logan, Henry, and Ryder engage in meaningless drunkenness, drug abuse, and sex, and learn nothing from their experiences. For realistic, hard-hitting fiction about a young woman making tough choices about relationships, stick to Sarah Dessen’s Dreamland (2000). (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6667-5
Page count: 360pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2001