Published by Balzer + Bray on February 16th, 2016
WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?
Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?
At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?
God, I am annoyed. Take the Fall started out so promising and ended up falling flat in basically every way possible. I think this might be better suited to those who are new to YA thrillers, but for those of us who have read a fair amount, the big reveal was a big disappointment.
The beginning of this novel was fantastic. The scene in the woods had my heart pounding, and the main character’s fear had me jumping out of my own skin. I read the first 25% in the dark, and when Weasley tapped me with his paw, I swear to you I have never jumped so hard in my life. Take the Fall definitely nailed it on the creepy factor. And I loved how it all pieced together in the end – with these random people making random decisions that seemed inconsequential but in the end made all the different. However, this is honestly all the praise I can pull off for this book.
First of all, I want to talk about the trope of the Asshole Best Friend. I’m honestly so fucking tired of it. Sonia was best friends with Gretchen before Gretchen was murdered, and I honestly couldn’t figure out why. I mean View Spoiler » yes, Gretchen was an asshole who liked to use blackmail on people, but how did Sonia end up so deep into Gretchen’s clutches in the first place? « Hide Spoiler No one wants to hang around with a person as horrible as Gretchen. That’s all there is to it. And that would be fine if it was in one or two books, but seriously, there is an overabundance of this kind of terrible friend. Meanwhile I can count on one hand how many decent friendships there are in this age category.
Now, I’m also getting tired of this twist. View Spoiler » It turns out it was Sonia all along. « Hide Spoiler Now, about halfway through the book, I figured this out, but only because I was piecing together clues – clues that were not actually in the text, but clues from my experience reading thrillers. There are certain things to look for that will lead you to this conclusion. And this conclusion? It’s tired. It’s been done before. It’s not unique or special. And what makes it worse in Take the Fall was that it came out of nowhere. Since I figured this was how the book was going to end, I was paying special attention to details that would solidify my theory. And there were next to none. Nothing makes me angrier when reading a mystery than “twists” that are nothing more than plotbergs. You can’t throw an ending at your readers without at least trying to have it make sense.
Anyway, the only people I think I could recommend this to are people who do not read YA thrillers very often. If you’re a fan of the genre, just stay away. There’s nothing particularly special about Take the Fall at all and in the end, I was just annoyed.