Title: The Edge of Falling
Author: Rebecca Serles
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: March 14, 2014
Rec. Age Level: 14+
More by author: When You Were Mine
Caggie lives every day haunted by her failure to save her little sister from drowning. Even though no one ever says it, Caggie knows that her parents blame her just as much as she blames herself. Everyone at school thinks she’s a hero after saving a classmate from plummeting to her death at the beginning of summer, but only Caggie – and the girl she saved – knows what really happened on the rooftop ledge. Caggie has formed a wall of secrets and lies to keep everyone at arm’s length, including her best friend, who keeps pushing her to move forward, and her ex-boyfriend, who can’t seem to understand that Caggie isn’t the girl she used to be anymore. Then new boy Astor enters Caggie’s life and he seems to understand the darkness that threatens to overwhelm her every day and, best of all, he doesn’t push her to talk about what happened or to move forward. But Astor has secrets of his own and his demons might be hungry enough to swallow both of them… dead or alive.
Last year I read and very much enjoyed Rebecca Serles’ debut novel, When You were Mine, but I must admit that it pales in comparison to The Edge of Falling. Caggie’s story of grief and guilt is remarkably powerful and painfully captivating. It begins slowly but builds with a steady intensity that leaves the reader completely invested in Caggie and her search for meaning and redemption in the aftermath of her sister’s death.
“If I could go back to that night in May, I’d do things very differently. I’d never end up on that rooftop with Kristen. I’d never save her. I wouldn’t have to.
But even stories with the biggest impact, perhaps particularly these, don’t have the power to be re-written. If if if if… would everything be different? It doesn’t matter though. What’s done is done.”
“I’m trying hard to remain composed. His face slackens, smooths out, and I can’t help but run my eyes over his cheeks, his ears, the freckle on his face. I think about how many times I’ve kissed that exact spot. When someone breaks up with you they should take their memories with them. It shouldn’t be possible to remember someone when they’re no longer there.”
“Sometimes this happens without warning. Like the magnitude of the past – of all that has happened – creeps into the space and inflates. One minute it’s this little thing – contained, pocket-size – the next minute it’s a creature. With legs and arms and scales. That’s how grief works. It’s there even when you forget about it. It doesn’t disappear, but just morphs, changes form.”