Schroeder, Lisa. Falling For You
1 January 2013, Simon Pulse
We know that something horrible has happened, because the book starts with a scene in a hospital with someone hurt, then continues on with a chapter "six months earlier". Rae has to deal with her demanding, abusive step father and her ineffectual mother. She has a boyfriend, Nathan, but he soon becomes too possessive, and she drops him. The best part of her life is working for Nina in a florist shop, where she often sees Leo, who works next door. Leo is a good friend, but after Rae drops Nathan, she sees him as something more. Things go from bad to worse, with Rae's stepfather getting into trouble for gambling, and then taking off for a month with her mother. Luckily, Rae's job keeps her afloat. Nathan keeps giving her trouble, and she barely keeps things together at school and work. But we know that something is going to happen-- it's just a matter of when.
Strengths: I knew right away that this wasn't really a middle school book, although there's really nothing objectionable. Half tempted to buy it, since Picky Reader would like it. Schroeder's writing is very intriguing, and I kept reading because there were so many things that I wanted to find out. Good stuff.
Weaknesses: I could have done without Rae's poetry. I love poetry, just not free verse mixed in with my fiction. Poor Rae. Such a tough childhood, and then she wants to become a language arts teacher.