A few years ago I was very impressed by a book by Rebecca Serle called When You Were Mine, a contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet told from Rosaline’s point of view. So impressed, in fact, that when I saw the premise for her newest book, The Edge of Falling, I immediately put it on my radar. I knew that this topic would be handled with a sensitive and deft hand and my interest has been rewarded.
Caggie (Mcallister) Caulfield is entering her senior year of high school with a large emotional burden compressing her heart. Eight months prior her ten-year-old sister, Hayley, died in a tragic accident, drowning in their pool in the Hamptons. Now, Caggie is struggling with grief that threatens to overwhelm her, grief that she cannot understand or overcome.
In May Caggie saved a young woman’s life, Kristen. Kristen was going to jump from a building but Caggie convinced her to come back after a near fatal moment. Caggie convinced her that life was worth living. It’s too bad that part of Caggie can’t take her own advice, cannot move on and find something to live for. Both of these incidents interconnect and both moments have personally cost Caggie a great deal. Many of her relationships have suffered and Caggie seems incapable of repairing the damage.
There is hope though; senior year, a charming young man, a few old faces pulling her back from the brink of disaster. Caggie’s senior year can only go one way and it’s up to her to decide which path she chooses.
The Edge of Falling is not a book for everyone. It has complexities that weigh the story down. It’s not light or frivolous in any way. It is hefty, fragile, and deep. Caggie’s pain is easily misunderstood by her peers and by the reader as well. She’s not a fun or spunky narrator, but she is very compelling.
Caggie’s grief haunts every page, As her losses mount up the reader feels her sense of deluge, her own personal hell become theirs. At times she seems disingenuous and two-dimensional but it’s apt for her. There’s only so many sides that one can project when they are riddled with this much guilt.
I’m glad that this book wasn’t a love story, or, to be more specific, a “wounded girl healed by love” story. Serle did really well about not making it go there. Where it went in the final hour left me a little cold though. I understand the denouement but I did not completely accept it. It seemed a little thrown together last-minute. I guess I was expecting for a bit more from Serle after her first book so thoroughly crushed my heart.
Still, it was a great one-day read and I did enjoy it. So, for that alone, 4 out of 5 stars. I’m curious to see what she writes next.
– Follow the Reader –