“I hate hurt feelings, but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Because I’ve decided feelings, like falling in love for the first time, are meant to hurt.”
Meet Odd. Audrey “Odd” Ashworth is an exceptionally bright girl with a sympathetic heart. She’s in the top 4% of her class. She’s obsessed with getting into Manhattan School of Music, committed to following the “signs” the universe delivers, and infatuated with her recently deceased best friend’s boyfriend.
Life is a little strange for Odd.
Until she finds her best friend’s diary in her crush’s car, and decides to do the bucket list tucked inside the pages. As Odd seeks closure and a way to honor her friend, she discovers there’s nothing wrong with being a little strange, especially if it helps you discover who you were meant to be. Along the way, Odd falls into trouble, adventure, and finally love.
***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley, the author, and JKSCommunications
Paige Crutcher’s The Odyssey of Falling is an emotionally charged coming of age story made up of eclectic characters learning how to deal with loss. They make mistakes, they fall, they hurt but mostly, they learn to stand on their own feet and to accept themselves.
- Crutcher’s style is very Salinger meets Fitzgerald, capitalizing on the bleak and honest facets of the human heart. The story weaves between emotionally bereft to explosive feels, effectively capturing the spontaneous, sometimes dangerous, mood swings of the average teen.
- Each character is connected by loss and has their own memories that serve as a piece of the puzzle that is the late Meredith. What’s incredibly fascinating about these mini glimpses into Meredith’s character is that it shows how one person can linger, leaving their hand print on the lives of many by simply being.
- There’s an air of whimsy and mystery, almost as if Meredith was some ethereal and untouchable goddess. As the truth comes out and Meredith’s underlying colors are revealed, the disillusionment and awe evaporate, leaving behind a confused girl on the verge of adulthood, much like the rest of the characters.
- There’s a beautiful symmetry in how the story moves in jolts and fragments only to come full circle. Guilt eats away at the soul in the face of unexpected tragedy. Each character deals with their grief differently, some turning to drugs and others to obsession.
- Texting and driving and the dangerous of laced drugs apprehended from shady people are both important aspects of this story that make Odd’s imaginative side flush with reality. Sure we see commercials, we know the risks of these behaviours but reading, picturing, experiencing the trauma and aftershocks of these actions really cut like a knife, making you think.
- Penny and Leo are an aloof, sort of liminal couple. They’re there but not really. Their presence is fleeting yet vibrant, they almost float through the story but there’s something enchanting about their playful, chaotic relationship. Sage is hilarious, she brightens up the dull points in the story and brings Odd out of her shell.
- Some moments are profound in their simplicity, like peaceful epiphanies.
- The diary reveal was unexpected and yet, fitting. It made the whole stark reality come together.
- Bandit is a sweetheart. He’s accepting and attentive. He soothes and understands. He’s a lovely, kind person. The scene in the closet with the incense and the stars ❤ Melt into a puddle of swoon total cuteness.
- The hummingbird motif fell apart. It started strong, Odd’s OCD about the signs and deciphering what the universe was throwing at her was a great idea but got lost.
- Odd is insanely frustrating. She’s on this ridiculous mission to honor her friend and is too stubborn to see the carnage she’s leaving in the wake of her bucket list. She’s sporadic, she says whatever is on her mind and loves to argue with people she cares about the most. It causes a lot of drama and it’s pretty crazy how blind she is to what’s right in front of her. I had a hard time liking her or even rooting for her character. She’s not selfless but she is a good person. However, as the plot evolves, it’s impossible to wonder how much of it is sheer guilt and how much was because she cared.
- As a love interest Chase is a jerk. He toys with Odd’s emotions and is kind of manipulative. I didn’t get the attraction and the same with Jay. They felt like random bits of drama that only made Odd’s character feel more conflicted but without a strong emotional connection.
- Odd’s goal of getting into music school was lacking substance. There wasn’t any true passion. It felt like that part of her was missing.
I write, read, rock out on my yoga mat, report for Publishers Weekly, and write YA. I play well with words and others, and when I’m not reporting, I daydream excessively before putting words on the page. Sometimes they’re jibberish, sometimes they’re honest in a way that makes me feel a little awkweird, but they always come with a message of hope and love.
More often than not, I’ve got my nose in a book (occasionally while inside my book fort), because inside story is where the magic waits.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
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