Author: Courtney Summers (Twitter)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: December 21, 2010
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Personal Copy
When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins.Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?
Eddie is devastated. The one person whom she loved above all else in life took his own life, and she's now without a father and desperate for answers. She needs some sort of meaning to the nonsensical madness of his suicide, and she'll do just about anything to find out why. As her mother spirals deeper into depression, a nosy neighbor moves in to "help" and Eddie's life gets more and more confusing, she wants answers. Culler might be able to help her piece the clues together, but does she really want to know the reason why?
In typical Courtney Summers fashion, Fall for Anything is, in a nutshell, a hard, thought-provoking and powerful novel. Never shying away from the darkness of the story itself, the book spirals into the cold, bleak darkness that we watch our main character surrounded by since her father's death. We're offered hundreds of emotions to choose from, and we're bathed in grief and loss from the start, invited on a powerful and gut-wrenching journey to understand the meaning why the man who, for all intents and purposes had it all, would kill himself in a single, desperate act. This novel will hit you fast and hard, and ask you to experience the journey to peace with Eddie.
I don't know why I put off reading Fall for Anything for so long. I've read a couple other titles by the author, and I've never been disappointed. Summers' books never shy away from the shadows and darkness of human grief and anger. Rather, they welcome it in full force, and this book was no exception. Eddie was an extremely believable main character. She's a teenage girl that's been absolutely obliterated by the loss of her father, and she's forced to endure Beth telling her how to grieve and her mother's inability to cope at all. The beauty of her character, too, is that she's not censored. She's broken, hostile, lashing out and grieving in her own way. It's tragically beautiful to see this extremely personal process laid out so very plainly on the pages. Culler plays a perfect role in the novel, too. Though his appearance in the novel made me cringe a bit at times, and I hesitated to trust his intentions, I could understand the connection between Eddie and Culler. She wanted answers and a diversion. He offered what seemed like the former and definitely the latter. In all honesty, the one thing I really wanted more of was Milo. There was a refreshing vibe from him that sparked a light in Eddie and Culler did not. Honestly though, I could lay out the plot points of Fall for Anything and tell you nothing though. The strength and power of the novel lies in the message, which subtly fuels the plot throughout. It's raw, challenging and gritty, and it never ever tries to mask the fact that grief is subjective, suicide is horrific not only for the life lost but for those left behind and it creates a void that can never be filled. Full disclaimer - shortly before I was born, my cousin took her own life, and though I never met her, I know that void was never filled in my Aunt and Uncle - or anyone for that matter. And that, my friends, is why I was able to reconcile myself with the somewhat open ending of the novel. At the end of the day, we'll never really know why unless that person explicitly informs everyone of their motives before committing the act. But, in the end, coping with a suicide isn't about finding the answers in the end. It's simply about coming to terms with the loss and learning to live with it. In that way, Fall for Anything completely and utterly succeeds.
Overall, I'm not at all surprised to say that I absolutely loved Fall for Anything (well, as much as you can love a book like this). It's not an easy read, but it's definitely an important one. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it all fans of YA, especially those who like darker contemporary fiction.