About the book
Falling Fast is the first book in the series of the same name by Sophie McKenzie. It was published by Simon and Schuster on 1st March 2012 and the book is 256 pages long.
River wants to fall in love. Not any kind of love though, she wants that all-consuming kind of love like that of Romeo and Juliet. When River auditions for a part in that very same play, she becomes attracted to Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. Love does not come easily though as Flynn comes from a damaged family and River has extremely high expectations. Will Flynn becomes River’s one true love or will their relationship suffer a tragic end.
What I thought
Having not read a Sophie McKenzie book before, I didn’t know what to expect from this one.
River quite quickly came across as very young and inexperienced in the ways of relationships and love. She’s obsessed with the idea of being completely in love like the Romeo and Juliet and believes that a connection like theirs could actually happen. Auditioning for the play doesn’t help matters either when she falls for lead boy, Flynn. While River’s sweet and innocent personality was nice to begin with, it ended up being too annoying for me part way through the book. She expected too much too soon and even with her friends giving her advice, she just didn’t get that she wasn’t going to get exactly what she wanted.
Flynn on the other hand, was extremely real. His family has quite a lot of problems which causes him to be guarded and a bit secretive with River. He doesn’t want her to know about his home life and doesn’t want her to think anything less of him because of how he lives. Due to his own problems, this causes Flynn to act a bit strange around River and she never really understands why. I really liked Flynn’s character and the way that McKenize wrote him. He’s one of the most realistic teenage boys that I have read about in a long time. He’s moody, a bit up himself and then also a bit mysterious at the same time.
I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of River and Flynn’s relationship though. Before meeting Flynn, River had the idea in her head about the Romeo and Juliet romance so I wonder whether she would have liked him if he hadn’t have been playing the lead role in the play. I also didn’t really feel the chemistry between the two either. It seemed to me that River pushed for more than what Flynn was ready to give and then went off in a huff when she didn’t get what she wanted. There was just too many arguments and bickering for me.
Something I did really like about Falling Fast was the way that it dealt with the things that teenagers get up to. Teenagers drink, they go to parties and pubs when they shouldn’t and yes, they have sex. Sophie McKenzie tackled these issues in a really well written way and because of this, her characters were like real teenagers. In regards to sex, while McKenzie makes it known that teenagers do this, she also makes a clear point to say that it is ok to say no if you’re not ready which was a really great message to send out to her readers.
Plot wise, Falling Fast was pretty average for me. I did like the references to Romeo and Juliet and for something to be happening throughout the book. But… I think if it hadn’t have been for the play (which also introduced other characters well) then there would have just been an annoying relationship between River and Flynn. There were a couple of great moments and revelations concerning Flynn and his family though and I really wish these had been explored a bit more.
Overall, Falling Fast was an average read for me but I do still kind of want to know what happens next.