Today on the blog, I have Christa from More Than Just Magic who has written a fantastic and moving guest post about FALL FOR ANYTHING! I won't say much more, just read on!
Grief is a messy thing.
I'm always a little bit wary of novels that deal with grief. Mostly because I find that they fall into two categories 1) stories that strictly adhere to the seven stages of grief and 2) stories that don't. Everyone grieves differently of course but I personally think the seven stages are a tad simplistic. Like I said, grief is messy. It has its own agenda and schedule. And because of that I almost always prefer the second kind of story.
Courtney Summers gets that. Early on in Fall for Anything our protagonist, Eddie Reeves, states “grief can make your skin feel sore and bruised and electric" (p. 40) and its true. It does all those things and more.
The story of Fall for Anything hit close to home for me. I also lost my father when I was a teenager and I saw so much of myself reflected in Eddie. There is nothing simple about losing a parent at a young age (or at any age). There's a part in the novel when Eddie is talking about sympathy cards and how useless all the messages feel and I felt myself nodding right along. She suggests one that says "Now you'll be a lesser person than you were" and while I don't really recommend sending someone a card that says that, it does sum up exactly how I felt when my father died.
I think more often than going through the seven stages, people go through a "quest for answers" like Eddie does. No matter how someone dies there is always this pressing need to know "why." This is exactly what Fall For Anything is about - trying to answer, unanswerable questions and trying to get to a point where you can stop obsessing and keep going. Despite all the crazy things Eddie does in this novel, like returning to the spot where her father dies, or running off with an older boy she barely knows, I found her incredibly brave. She's a survivor and she's a fighter. And some days it's easier to fight than others. It's not a checklist you have to get through, its way more wibbly wobbly than that. But you can get through it.
Fall for Anything doesn't end with everything all wrapped up and happy again. But you do see small signs that Eddie is healing. I was particularly struck by the scene where she goes to get her hair cut and she realizes her father will never know this version of her - because I have had that same experience. I've had it a number of times over the years. And I think the lesson there is when you lose someone you may feel like a lesser than you were before but as you continue to grow as a person that feeling retracts.
If you've ever lost someone close to you this novel is surprisingly comforting. It lets you know there are people out there who understand how it feels, who know that "sometimes you can think too much" (p. 46) and that sometimes you want to scream and cry and sleep and run all at the same time. It's a novel that gets under your skin and leaves a mark. Fall For Anything is an incredible story and I'm so happy Ciara had this read-a-long so I could experience it.
Thank you SO MUCH Christa for being on the blog today and sharing your thoughts with us. I'm so glad that this book affected you so much (in a good way). You guys, be sure to check out Christa's blog AND the YA Speculative Fiction magazine she co-runs called INACCURATE REALITIES. She is a very talent writer and blogger and such an awesome person to chat with. If you're not following her, you're missing out!
Up tomorrow, the second discussion post!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)