Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family’s from. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.
Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya’s death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.
A year after her cousin Freya's death, Sixteen-year old Jessica (Jess) Tennant and her mother Molly travel from London, to Port Sentinel where Molly's identical sister Tilly and her family live. Jess is shocked to discover that she and Freya could have been twins, and everyone in town is just as surprised by the resemblance as she is. After a short respite, Jess decides to become Britain's answer to Nancy Drew by digging into what really happened to Freya on the night she died. Was it an accident? Suicide? Or was she murdered?
I think readers will need to have an open mind in order to really enjoy this story. Jess isn't the most enjoyable character to read about. She's stubborn, rude, arrogant, and skeptical to a fault and refuses to listen to anyone when they warn her about the dangers of digging up the past. She keeps secrets from her mother, she fixates on finding the truth about Freya, she blasts people for their looks and clothes they wear and who they hang out with, and ends up in the same situation that her cousin did; having two boys after her, and making enemies of the so called popular crowd.
I really do believe that once the mystery was solved, and you discovered the truth behind Freya's death, there was absolutely no need for any additional chapters. I did not care for the whole Jess, Will, Ryan twist, or the fact that there are mean girls who try to punish Jess for interfering where she didn't belong. But, I guess there's absolutely no reason to complain about something you abhor, and wish would die a painful death. Writer's in the YA genre truly believe that readers NEED to read about mean girls and 3-way love triangles, and therefore, we are just annoying wasps who just won't go away and shut up.
I normally hate to toss parents under the bus, but Jess's mom is a piece of work. You absolutely have to question her reasoning for dragging Jess away from her friends, and school just so she can return to the place where she grew up. At this point, you can't trust her judgment to make the right choices, and you have to wonder how many lies she can continue to tell herself about the reason she's actually staying. Even Jess realizes that her mother can't be trusted with telling the whole truth about matters of the heart, her mother's past, and what the future might bring. I will say that yes, Molly does deserve happiness, just not by repeating the past, and not by waiting around for something bad to happen for it to happen.
As How to Fall is the first novel in the Jess Tennant series, I will give Jane Casey the benefit of the doubt that things will be a whole lot better in the next installment. I would like to know if Jess gets any better as a character after a time away from this mystery. I truly do hope that Casey doesn't go in the direction she's hinted at with her mother since that would be absolutely be the end of me reading any more books in this series.
Author - Jane Casey
Title - How to Fall (Jess Tennant # 1)
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Expected release date: August 26, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Format: E-Book 352 pages