A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A little on how to structure an essay and navigate the nonacademic aspects of high school.
Being honest about your feelings is hard but helpful and rewarding. Be open to giving people a second chance.
Positive Role Models
Becca's and Brett's families want what's best for them, and are supportive of their ambitions and their feelings.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and touching, reference to mild nudity.
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Very limited swearing ("f--k," "s--t").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character mentions teens drinking at an annual party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alex Light's The Upside of Falling has characters that are both likable and layered, while the predictable "opposites attract" storyline moves along with the brisk pace of a summer beach read. Readers can see there's a safety in being "just friends" that allows Becca and Brett to be real with each other, and the different roles of parents in their lives reflect the differences between -- and within -- families. While the romance, family trouble, anger, ambition, and high school social scene are age-appropriate, there's minimal swearing ("f--k," "s--t"), kissing, and teen drinking.
Is It Any Good?
While the plot is fairly predictable, the main characters' chemistry and vulnerability help make this teen romance an enjoyable, fun read. The Upside of Falling takes the school social scene that many readers navigate daily and adds a hopeful twist: that friendship and honesty with each other can be the foundation for a romantic relationship. Becca's character has much more depth than Brett's, almost to the point of it seeming implausible that he was aware of Becca's uncomfortable situation to begin with. Every relationship here is aspirational: Everyone is earnest and fundamentally good, everyone is trying their best, no one is out to hurt anyone else. That sweetness can be a little trite, but it's also the reason readers will hope these two fakers overcome their obstacles and happen for real.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.