How to Fall by Jane Casey

How To FallHow To Fall by Jane Casey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would like to thank the publisher through NetGalley for my review copy of How to Fall.
How to Fall is the first in a young adult mystery series by author Jane Casey, and in my opinion, it is her most compelling and enjoyable novel yet. The novel follows our spunky heroine Jess, a teenager living in London who takes a summer trip to visit her relatives in rural Devon. Jess and her mother have been estranged from this part of the family for many years, but after the recent death of Jess’s cousin, Freya, the two women travel out to visit their relations and reestablish a connection. However, when Jess arrives in the rich coastal town of Port Sentinel, she realizes that the surface glitz of the community hides dark secrets, and begins to suspect that Freya’s death may not have been an accident.  As Jess gets to know her cousins, and the other teenagers in Freya’s peer group, she tries to understand her cousin, and what led to her death.
So, what do I love about How to Fall? First of all, the writing itself is great. The first chapter, a prologue chronicling Freya’s last moments, is one of those near perfect intro’s, a few short pages of lyrical, atmospheric writing, which delighted me. Secondly, the main character of Jess is the type of heroine I feel I can be proud of and root for. She is smart, independent, and not afraid to speak her mind or trust her instincts. But she is also kind. Third, the world that the author creates seems fully formed even in this first novel, with a diverse cast of characters, from the quirky old lady who runs a charity shop, to the creepy policeman, to the gangs of vicious, popular girls.
If I was to describe How to Fall as a movie or TV show, I would say that it is a combination of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, and Clueless.
Prior to reading How to Fall, I had read Jane Casey’s adult mystery novel, The Burning, and enjoyed it. I plan to continue reading that series, but I very much enjoyed Casey’s first foray into the YA genre, and think that, in its own way, How to Fall may be the beginning of an even more addictive series than The Burning. I also think that How to Fall would lend itself very well to a television adaptation.
I hope this novel gets wide publicity, because I think it will appeal to a large audience, including both teens and adults. With her likeable heroines, intriguing mysteries, and compelling combination of suspense, humor, and atmosphere, Jane Casey is an author to watch.

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