Title: Freefall
Author: Mindi Scott
ISBN: 9781442402782
Pages: 315 Pages
Publisher/Date: Simon Pulse, c2010
Reviewed from ARC furnished by We Love YA Books
Challenge: The Contemps Challenge
Publication Date: October 5, 2010

Since I realize ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) are not the finalized book and can go through the editing process still, I figured I’d quote from GoodReads.com rather than the ARC itself. The cover image was also taken from GoodReads.com.

How do you come back from the point of no return?

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he’s ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .

Seth McCoy has had a lousy summer. The last person to see his friend Isaac alive, Seth is also the first one to find him dead under the rose-bush in front of Seth’s trailer. Racked with guilt, he has spent the following months trying to drink until oblivion and starts school hating the world. Then a chance encounter with a new classmate begins to change Seth’s thinking as he realizes that there are other people with just as many problems. Will this unlikely pair of high schoolers be able to save each other, or will more damage result from their relationship?

This book is a phenomenal introduction for new author Mindi Scott. All the characters come alive and seem multi-faceted. Seth, the main character and the reader’s point of view, is trying really hard to hoist himself out of the self-destructive rut he has found himself in after Isaac died. In a way, it seems it was Isaac that influenced Seth’s bad decisions in the first place, and it’s almost better for Seth that Isaac is no longer around to encourage his detrimental actions. Seth, though, feels like a traitor for thinking that, and defends Isaac against any who might slander Isaac’s questionable reputation.

It also seems to help Isaac’s old girlfriend Kendall, as she is in her own cycle of bad decisions. It takes her longer than Seth to realize the effect that Isaac has had on the both of them. I started out liking Kendall, who the author engagingly described as having “stop sign red” hair that she wears in pigtails with extremely short skirts, because she just seemed like a fun person to be around. She has a spitfire personality, describing Seth and her as nonenemies during an awkward period of their long friendship. But there’s a major curveball at the end of the book that really changed how I thought of her, and I wish I’d had the time to go back and reread her character from the beginning, knowing what I did at the end.

Rosetta is another complex character sho has suffered more in her life than you originally realize. She’s very admirable in her convictions and doesn’t seem to mind if people think differently of her because of them. It’s interesting to see her interact with Seth, because she is so different from him in the beginning and they get off to such a laughable, horrific introduction.

Seth’s life is so complicated and the changes he makes (and even the ones he fails to make) are so drastic that I thought the author could have gone into a little more detail regarding Seth’s transition. He could be considered an alcoholic, alludes to the fact that he’s done drugs, is not entirely sure what happened that night after his band’s performance when he wakes up next to a half-naked girl, and is fed-up with school in general. His transformation is admirable by the end, but the author breezes over one or two of these problems, undoubtedly to add brevity to the novel. I especially would have wanted to see more of his budding romance with one of the characters, which is sweet in an awkward and naive way. Maybe I’m just cynical, but their friendship progressed so steadily that I have a hard time believing in their spontaneous sexual interlude when the opportunity arose. Maybe I just appreciate a long courtship as opposed to an intimate relationship, since I was never one of those one-night-stand hook-up kind of girls when I was a teenager.

In any case, the characters are engaging and appealing and I wouldn’t let the minor quibbles prevent me from either enjoying the read or recommending it to others. Give Freefall a try, and take a look at your own life and ask yourself what changes you could make to it. You might be suprised, just as Seth is, by what happens.