The Free Fall by Jane Ratcliffe

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A brilliant debut novel that perfectly captures a teenager's struggle to stay real.

I suppose the whole thing began with me looking for the shine. That's what I used to call that trippy kind of grace some people just seem to be born with.

Jane Ratcliffe's debut novel perfectly captures the voice of a girl turning sixteen in a wealthy suburb of Detroit. By turns funny, perceptive, innocent and yearning for experience, Let is a character you immediately feel you know. Let's family lives by its own rules and routines which Henry, an irresistible nineteen-year-old with cheekbones like a mad dog totally disrupts. He leads Let on a wild ride of drugs and sex, and when Let meets Ryder, who is half wise beyond his years, and half lost boy warehoused at an exclusive private school, she is fully in the free fall.

Older teenagers are eagerly responding to books that tell the truth about coming of age, which is not so much bleak as it is beautiful, terrifying and dream-like. In The Free Fall, Jane Ratcliffe announces herself as one of the new generation of fearless yet lyrical chroniclers of coming-of-age.


About Jane Ratcliffe

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Published August 1, 2001 by Henry Holt & Company. 192 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Children's Books. Fiction

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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.

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