Crane, Rebekah. The Upside of Falling Down.
Crane, Rebekah. The Upside of Falling Down. Skyscape/Amazon, January 2018. 252p. $9.99 Trade pb. 978-1-61218-722-8.
4Q * 4P * J * S
A teenage girl awakens in a hospital in Ireland and has no memory of who she is or how she got to this place. She is told her name is Clementine. She is from Cleveland, Ohio, and her father is on his way to take her home. Jane, as she has dubbed herself, decides that she needs to discover who she is on her own. She dares a roguishly charming young Irishman, Kieran, to help her escape from the hospital. He accepts and they travel to his home in the small town of Waterville, Ireland. Here, Jane meets Kieran's pregnant twin, Siobhan, and her best friend, Clive, a guy sporting a mohawk. As Jane uses this opportunity to determine who she is, she and Kieran fall in love.
In some ways this is a predictable love story, yet it escapes being mundane. Throughout the story, there is the feeling that all is not known to Jane or to the reader. Putting the reader in a situation similar to Jane's, while offering only the occasional flash back to Clementine/Jane's past life, adds suspense. Themes of identity, free will, and self-determination pervade the story. The setting in lush and beautiful Ireland adds charm to the tale as does the romantic brogue of the leading man. The final, unexpected plot twist also helps the story achieve its fresh and appealing quality. Teens who like romance, mystery, and a strong-willed female will like this quick, enjoyable read. --Susan Allen.