Title: Lessons in Falling
Author: Diana Gallagher
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: 7th February 2017
Format: ARC e-Book
Note: This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
LESSON ONE: Playing it safe beats taking chances.
After an injury ends Savannah’s dream of a college gymnastics scholarship, she quits
despite her parents’ protests. She won’t risk breaking her body—and heart—again.
LESSON TWO: Catch your best friend when she falls—or regret it forever.
Rules are meant to be broken, according to Savannah’s best friend, Cassie—and it’s more fun to break them together. But when Cassie attempts suicide, Savannah’s left wondering how well she really knows her.
LESSON THREE: Leaping forward, not knowing where you’ll land, is the hardest of all.
Falling for Marcos wasn’t part of the plan. Not only did he save Cassie’s life, he also believes Savannah can still achieve her dreams. Except Cassie thinks Marcos and gymnastics will only break Savannah’s heart.
As Savannah tumbles and twists through toxic friendships and crushing parental expectations, she realizes you never know who will be there when you fall.
What I Thought:
Savannah is a teenage who was hoping for a gymnastics scholarship at a top college when she blows out her knee during a big competition. Lessons in Falling is the story of a school girl learning to overcome her fears and to challenge herself, experiencing new friendships and love, even if this means going against what her best friend thinks is right for her.
I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one; personally I enjoyed the book. Firstly a lot of people have said they went into this book expecting a book about gymnastics and that’s not what they got. I would agree with this, whilst gymnastics does feature within the plot it’s really not as central to it as some people expected. Now I didn’t pick up this book because of the gymnastics, I was more interested in the relationship aspect so the fact the gymnastics was secondary to Savannah learning to face her fears and stand up for herself didn’t bother me.
Secondly a lot of people have commented on the relationship between Cassie and Savannah, particularly Savannah’s reaction to Cassie following her attempted suicide. I can understand why people had problems with this, especially if attempted suicide is something they’ve had direct experience with. Did this book need a suicide attempt? Possibly not – Looking back at the relationship between Savannah and Cassie throughout the book it’s pretty toxic. Part of me can understand why Cassie would be nervous about Savannah going back to gymnastics after her accident but I would have liked her to be more supportive when she decided that’s what she wanted to do. It seems as though Cassie hates the idea of Savannah having other friends, she wants Savannah to be reliant on her, we see how she’s separated Savannah from friends in the past, and the way she tries to prevent her from making new friends. At the same time Cassie has other friends that she increasingly spends time with while excluding Savannah. It’s a relationship Savannah needs to distance herself from in order to grow, I understand that attempted suicide is the most dramatic way of creating the split but there are probably other ways in which this could have been done which would have had the same outcome. I also understand Savannah’s reaction to it, she tries to help Cassie as best she can, but Cassie isn’t ready to talk about her reasons for attempting suicide. While I completely understand why Cassie wouldn’t be ready to speak about it, I also understand why that might create distance in their friendship, I can also understand why later events, that I won’t go into in the review, push the friendship past the point of no return.
Would I recommend it?
Yes I would. I can understand why some people have issues with some parts of the book, but for me it was an interesting story about how sometimes a relationship you value can become toxic and stop you from reaching your potential. This on a personal level is something that I could identify with, I’ve definitely had friendships where I consistently put in far more than I ever got out, and while nothing so dramatic happened as a catalyst, I knew I had to distance myself from it for my own well-being.