Mindi Scott Freefall
315 pp. Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) 2010 ISBN: 978-1-4424-0278-2
Summary (from the publisher): “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 when 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 soon realizes he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .”
I read Freefall for The Contemps Challenge, but my primary reason was because it deals with a male protagonist struggling in life. Seth is trying to cope with the loss of his best friend Issac, but this story is about more than dealing with loss. Playing in the band isn’t the same for Seth now that Issac isn’t there playing beside him. Trying to get caught up in school is a bigger hindrance than it was before. And to top everything else, the people in Seth’s life appear to be moving on faster than he can. This is a story about coping and discovering who you are.
As one of my students was reading this book he said “Seth seems more real than most characters in other books.” Seth is witty, sarcastic, sometimes awkward, and a tad insecure. His love interest is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Rosetta. Seth thinks she’s out of his league, so whenever he speaks with her- drunk at a party and trying to be suave, or forced to in class- it never goes as smoothly as he pictures it in his head. Isn’t that how it goes for most people? We can visualize a perfect conversation with someone we’re interested in, but when the moment presents itself we find ourselves mumbling and fumbling like morons. This aspect of Seth’s character makes him more human for readers. His witty side often shows itself when he speaking with Daniel. Daniel is an example of the “former Seth”, who partied and didn’t care about school. Daniel also reminds Seth of Issac, and this worries him because he doesn’t want Daniel partying himself to death like Issac did. But Daniel is still Seth’s friend and he doesn’t want to lose him, he just doesn’t want to be like Daniel anymore.
Losing Issac has almost forced Seth into making new friends. Many of these friends come from his Interpersonal Communications (IC) class. The class is designed to teach students how to effectively communicate and empathize with others. Is there anything stated there that Seth doesn’t need? I don’t think so. Seth isn’t communicating with anyone about his grief for Issac. He need someone to empathize with him, and he also needs to learn to empathize with others. This class has opened up his more vulnerable, guarded side to those in class with him. When everyone is in the same situation, you’re bound to make some close friends. Seth is able to build a closer relationship with Kendall, Issac’s former girlfriend, and he’s able to make a new friend in Xander who helps teach Seth about confidence and self-assurance.
This isn’t a book full of action, but it’s a book full of self-discovery and real situations. I know girls will enjoy Freefall because my book club is all girls and we read this together. They couldn’t stop talking about it! (We even had a Q&A with Mindi about her book) I know guys will read this because they’ve told me they enjoyed similar books because they coud relate to the character’s problems. Even if a guy can’t relate to losing his best friend, he can relate to tough situations with friends and wanting a potential relationship to work out. Mindi Scott has a very real novel that teens will pick up and enjoy from beginning to end.