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Brauning, Kate. How We Fall.

3Q * 4P * S

Brauning, Kate. How We Fall. Merit, 2014. 304p. $17.99. 978-1-4405-8179-3.

In this debut novel, Brauning gives readers both a mystery and a story of forbidden love. Jackie lives in rural Missouri on a farm with her parents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. She is a bit of a loner, especially since her best friend, Elbe, moved away to St. Joseph and subsequently disappeared. Had she run away? Been abducted? No one knows, and Jackie feels guilty that she was not in closer touch with Elbe. But Jackie has more to feel guilty about, namely her not-so-platonic feelings for her cousin Marcus. It is tough being in love with someone when he is related to you and lives in the same house.

The bulk of the book consists of Jackie trying to come to terms with her conflicted feelings about Marcus. Meanwhile, a new girl moves to town from St. Joseph--a girl who likes Marcus and who Jackie suspects knows more about Elbe than she is telling. The mystery about Elbe builds to a dramatic climax, as Jackie and Marcus make important decisions about the future of their relationship. At times, the balance between the love story and the mystery is uneven, and Jackie's agonizing and self-recrimination can get a bit tedious. But teen readers will likely get caught up in the story and find the nontraditional romance intriguing.--Sarah Flowers.

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Author:Flowers, Sarah
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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