Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: Falling Hard by Megan Sparks

Title: Falling Hard
Author: Megan Sparks
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Pages: 255
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3.5/5
Source: Netgalley

Annie R. Key is in for a huge change – she’s moving to the States. After living in London her whole life, this 14 year old is moving to a whole other continent with her father. But fitting in with the crazy, high-school students in her new hometown is harder than Annie had ever thought it would be. Between making an enemy of the most popular girl in school, and falling for the cutest guy ever, things are off to a hectic start. It’s only her newfound love for roller derby that can tide her through all this American craziness. Annie’s going to have to figure out the secret to fitting into high school – but she’s going to need all of her new friends to help her do it.

My favorite character in this book would be Annie. At the beginning, she was shy and not very confident, but as the story progressed, her character developed; she essentially grew a back bone and became more outgoing. One thing I liked about Annie’s character as the book progressed was her smart-alecky attitude. The following quote describes her snarky thoughts when yet another person remarks on Annie’s English accent. This leads Annie to think about asking her friend Lexie, who has an abundance of buttons, to help her out with this problem:

“Maybe Lexie could get her a button that said, ‘I’ve got an English accent. Get over it’.”

I enjoyed phrases such as this one because they were hilarious to read, and they provided some insight on what Annie truly felt.

Overall, this book is very cute. The characters and how they interacted were like a fairytale; everything ended out working well and everybody’s happy. It’s a feel-good book.

I liked the plot of ‘Falling Hard’. Towards the beginning, the pacing was just right. The plot wasn’t going too fast, or too slow; it was going at a speed that made it easy for me to acquaint myself with Annie and her life. As the book progresses, the plot begins to speed up, becoming more interesting. And towards the very end, the whole book is thrumming with energy.

But on the flip side of things, I felt that the word choice that Megan Sparks used was overly simple, especially towards the beginning. While everything moving slowly in the beginning is a good thing, the vocabulary used makes this book seem very basic. The sentence structure is no help either. The phrases Sparks uses just don’t carry much emotion; it’s as if Annie didn’t have any strong feelings as the book begins. All the nervousness and excitement that a girl should be feeling on her first day of school are muted. But, as the book progressed, the words and sentences became more energetic and the increase in emotion made the book come alive.

Then, there is the romance plot, which I absolutely abhorred. Throughout the book, the romance plot grows, and grows, and grows some more. And I usually like it when the romance in a book is kept fresh. But, in a book where the main idea is for Annie to fit in a new environment, I most certainly did not want to read about some character she found handsome. That completely takes away from the main point of this book!

But, on the whole, ‘Falling Hard’ is an engaging book about a girl learning to fit in with others. I enjoyed the overall plot and recommend this book to people ages 10+ because of the exceedingly simple language. If you like reading novels about fitting in, this is definitely one you would want to check out. Don’t miss out on the second book in this series, ‘Hell’s Belles’.

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