Title: Falling Fast (Flynn #1)
Author: Sophie McKenzie
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (1st March 2012)
When River auditions for a part in an inter-school performance of Romeo and Juliet, she finds herself falling for Flynn, the boy playing Romeo.
River believes in romantic love, and she can’t wait to experience it. But does Flynn see things the same way?
The path of true love never did run smooth . . .
Rating: * (1 star)
FALLING FAST by Sophie McKenzie is the first book in a four book series focusing on the potential romance between River and Flynn. Shakespeare’s play ROMEO AND JULIET seems to play a large part in the first book – and potentially in the rest of the series. I got my copy of this book from Orli as part of my Valentine’s Day Ninja Book Swap gift.
FALLING FAST is, to be completely honest, not a book I would have picked to read. Contemporary and Romance books – whether aimed at young adults or adults – are a genre I approach with caution. You see, when I was younger I read A LOT of stories that fell into these two categories – particularly if they were in Woman’s Weekly which I had easy access to – so I got to know the formulas pretty well. As such, although I still enjoy reading these genres I tend to err towards books that are a little different in some way. FALLING FAST isn’t one of these books in my opinion, it sticks pretty close to the genre conventions. To be fair to FALLING FAST and McKenzie, she does know her conventions. I also think that the book is aimed at the younger end of the Young Adult market – and I think it will find a lot of fans there.
I also am not a fan of either River or Flynn, for different reasons I found them both complete turn-offs – for me there was no chemistry between the leads. River is sixteen and has never been in love, but she has pretty strong ideas of what she thinks romantic love should be – but then, most of us do at that age. I found her to be quite snobby, and she had a tendency to look down on her friends because they didn’t share her ideals. Flynn is supposed to be the romantic lead – and River seems quite determined not to see him as anything but that – but I found him to exhibit a lot of questionable behaviour and I just couldn’t see what is swoon-worthy about him.
FALLING FAST is a quick read, my copy had around two hundred and fifty pages. McKenzie does a good job at showing how complicated friendships and relationships can be – and how they can be difficult to navigate. She also does a good job with the secondary characters, although they do at times come close to seeming caricatures. ROMEO AND JULIET lies at the heart of the book – and, I suspect, the heart of the series too. It serves as a believable method to have the characters meet, and it also forms the backbone of River’s definition of love (which you’ll know is problematic if you’ve read the play). Although this book – and series – was not to my tastes (hence the one star) I can see others quite enjoying it. If you’re a fan of the romance genre and don’t mind a story that sticks to the conventions then you might want to think about giving this book a try.