Thursday, December 23, 2010
Review: Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
When Eddie Reeves’ infamous photographer father commits suicide, she’s left devastated, alone, and desperate to figure out why her father killed himself. With her mother incapacitated by grief and confusing tensions springing up between her and her best friend, Milo, Eddie takes to trying to figure out the mystery behind her father’s death by herself…until she meets Culler.
A former student of her father’s, Culler also wants to know why Eddie’s father commited suicide. Eddie and Culler bond over their mutual grief and, following a string of clues that might give meaning into the suicide, they attempt to seek out answers. But what they find out might not be what they want to know at all.
You want to know why Courtney Summers is a must-buy? Because she can take any topic—even a riskily overexposed one such as the death of a loved one—and write about it in such a way that sucks you in and makes you feel like this is the first time you’ve ever read about that topic before. So yes, that’s what FALL FOR ANYTHING does with grief, wrapped up in beautiful descriptions of art photography and and nail-biting mystery.
Courtney Summers has nearly unmatched talent with developing three-dimensional characters using her trademark sparse prose. Even with this tight prose, there is never a moment when she just comes right out and tells us something about the characters and their relationships with one another. Instead, the characters’ issues, histories, and desires are allowed to unfold on their own. It is in this way that we see the growing tension between Eddie and Milo—not melodramatic tension, but the achingly relatable confusion that arises when old, cherished friendships seem to be on the cusp of becoming something more.
Some characters ring truer than others: Beth, Eddie’s mother’s old friend, is callous perhaps to the point of incredulity, and there is something unsettling about Culler, the way he insinuates himself into Eddie’s life. But instead of detracting from the story, they simply add to the novel’s insistent pace, that there’s always something, something just beyond the next page that will give some relief to poor Eddie’s desperation to find meaning in her father’s death. The dramatic climax, followed by the quiet resolution, makes it all the more clearer to us the complexities of grief, and the lengths that we might need to go to in order to find peace.
In that sense, then, FALL FOR ANYTHING itself reads like a story of our own grief, from the anxiety we feel for Eddie, to its breathless yet not quiet restful ending. Regardless of whether or not you’ll enjoy that, there is no doubting the fact that FALL FOR ANYTHING is an incredible read. Courtney Summers is three books into her writing career and showing no signs of faltering. I will read anything she reads, and no matter which Summers book you start with first, you will most likely come to the same conclusion, too.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - Not my favorite Summers book cover (that title belongs to Some Girls Are), but I think it gets the mood of the story right: the unfocused, cluttered, and grasping desperation for things to make sense.
St. Martin's Griffin / Dec. 21, 2010 / Paperback / 224pp. / $9.99
ARC sent by author and publisher for review. Thank you!