Rae's always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her...and the less she wants to give.
As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.
Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves -quoted from Goodreads
Falling For You is a book the encompasses light, love, life, darkness, pain, and this incredible will to keep going. I like to blame this on my freshman year English teacher who always had us talk about the light and dark themes that we found in the books we read, and movies we watch (which has stayed with me since then), but I loved the way Lisa developed and showed the light and dark themes that are at the heart of this story. It's not just with Rae's home life, and her life at work and school, but her friends, the people who come into her life, the actions both good and bad that are done in this story and of course different love interests in this story. Can I just say I loved the differences between the two romantic interests, and don't worry, it's definitely not a love triangle!
What I liked about Rae is she's someone who is infectious. She's someone who brightens the lives of others, and I could not help but be drawn to her. She's a loyal friend, a hard worker, good student, and someone who comes across as driven. She seems to be one of those people in life who is naturally an all around genuinely nice person. Unlike her close knit friends, Rae is someone who's forced to grow up and basically take care of herself. What Rae's ray of light is hiding is something much darker. A home life that is emotional abusive, a step father who threatens her, a mother who's never there for her, and she's put into a position where everything she's worked hard is taken out from under her, and yet no matter what this girl keeps at it. I was so impressed with her strength to keep going.
I love it when a book emotionally hooks me! Lisa did just that right off the bad. My heart broke for all the crap Rae had to deal with at home, and cheered her on for being so courageous and strong when she wasn't at home. Part of me wished I could take her out of that environment, and the other part of me grew livid at her mother for all the things she didn't do. Her mother..... I wanted to feel sympathy for her, but I just couldn't. I had too many issues with the type of her person she was and the lack of mothering and care she showed her daughter, though I understand she probably felt she was doing the best she could. I found interesting to see some of the similarities that both her horrid stepfather Dean, and her first boyfriend Nathan have. Yeah, it was alarming, and thankfully Rae is an intelligent girl.
Let's talk about the romance! First off, kudos to Lisa for writing a smart character who knows when to say NO! I greatly admired Rae for standing up for herself, and though she may not have got was going on at first in her relationship with Nathan, she definitely wasn't afraid to say no, and instead of thinking with her hormones she thought with her head and her gut feeling. Than there's Leo... *sigh* I adored him! He and Rae have this great friendship that slowly turns into something much more, and I loved the way their relationship was developed. It was natural and just made sense. It's one of those relationship that just seemed right. When you read Rae's story you'll know what I'm talking about.
One of the other things I enjoyed about this quick read is the role art has in this story. I liked the artistic side of Rae. She copes with her pain through her poetry. I loved how Rae's poetry and her idea to incorporate poetry in her school's paper sparked something that helped her and others cope with what they've been dealing with. Not only that, but that small act and a few things she does for others through her work are the cause for something much bigger than end up changing Rae's life at the end of the book. I loved everything tied together at the end of the story. If you're looking for a great realistic contemporary, with a strong female character I'd recommend picking this one up!
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