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I Belong

Review: Take the Fall by Emily Hainsworth

Title: Take the Fall

Author: Emily Hainsworth

Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 006209422X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062094223 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Tara



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?

Quick & Dirty: Decent mystery story about friendships, family, and love.

Opening Sentence: Don’t think, just run.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Whenever it starts to become fall, I liked to read more murder mysteries. This year, I started off with Take the Fall. This one is a young adult murder mystery book that I think you’ll either love or be ambivalent toward. I wasn’t really able to connect with either the characters or the writing but I think that it would have been a decent book if I had been able to. Also, I knew who the killer was from close to the beginning of the book so that kind of took the suspense out of it for me.

Take the Fall begins as Sonia runs out of the woods after escaping an attack in the woods that left Gretchen, her best friends, dead at the bottom of the falls. Devastated over her best friend’s death, she begins a hunt to find the killer despite the fact that she can’t remember much about that night. Marcus, Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend, is at the top of the police’s suspect list. After enlisting Sonia’s help to find the true killer, they discover that the mystery of who killed Gretchen may be more complex than they ever could have imagined.

This book had the potential to be a great murder mystery but didn’t quite work for me. I couldn’t ever shake the suspicion I had at the beginning, which ended up being correct. The author did do a decent job of making me question my idea of who the killer was and there were some very intriguing twists and turns. I wish that there had been a bit more suspense and overall mystery. The plot didn’t really hold my attention but was just interesting enough that I kept reading.

The strength of this novel for me was the history between Sonia and Gretchen that was slowly revealed. I enjoyed watching that play out more than I did the investigation. It felt very realistic and possible and was actually the reason I continued reading the book. Additionally, I liked how the author portrayed the relationship between Gretchen and Kirsten, her little sister. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance that developed, I never really understood the chemistry.  Additionally, I wasn’t a fan of the way that the romance seemed more important than the investigation sometimes.

Overall, this was a pretty quick and easy read. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, creepy read, this probably isn’t the one for you. However, if you’re looking for a mystery read that examines friendships, family, and love in an intriguing way, definitely check this one out.

Notable Scene:

Aunt Dina runs a mop over the checkered linoleum. My mom’s behind the register, still laughing at some joke. Her smile fades when she sees me, like she’s not sure who I am, and a sob escapes my lips. Minutes ago I was desperate just to see her face again, and now—the thought of telling her—

What just happened to me?
The color drains from her face.
The mop clatters to the floor.

Five minutes later the diner is crawling with cops. The only time I’ve seen anything like it was when we held a community pie-eating contest to benefit the Officers’ Foundation. The deputies wore lobster bibs and poked fun at one another. Now a tense group forms a circle around me and I still feel like I’m running. Blood roars in my ears. I’m aware of Sheriff Wood asking questions. My mom a notch below hysterical. Dina pacing. Deputy Rashid opening and closing the release on his holster. My cheeks are wet, filthy. Tears mixed with dirt mixed with fear. My ribs ache with every sob. My arms sting.

“What happened, Sonia?”
“Who did this?”
“You were attacked? In the woods?”

I can’t stop crying long enough to answer every question.


FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Take the Fall. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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