Title: Free to Fall
Author: Lauren Miller
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: May 13, 2014
From the author of Parallel comes a high-stakes romantic puzzler set in a near-future where everyone's life is seamlessly orchestrated by personal electronic devices.
Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision-making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she's accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn't use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux's recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore—a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.
Free to Fall is Lauren Miller's second young adult, following last year's Parallel. (You can read my review of it HERE.) It is set approximately sixteen years in the future and is a great piece of speculative fiction. Free to Fall follows Rory Vaughn as she heads off to an elite prep school that guarantees admittance to the best colleges and successful careers after graduation.
Rory is a character that I found to be very relatable and realistic. She is someone who puts success in education above everything else and really has only one friend, Beck. Like teenagers nowadays with their mobile phones and tablets, Rory is constantly on it and always has it on her person. However, she depends on the Lux application on her Gnosis device for everything. It lets her know where she should eat, how long she should study, etc. However, once she met tattooed, hot guy, North, at a random coffee shop that she found with her roomie and new friend, Hershey. As Rory's relationship progressed with North, she started drifting away from her dependence on Lux.
Plotwise, there is a lot going in Free to Fall. The book shows us what society can and will become if we stay dependent upon our computers and handhelds in every aspect of our everyday lives. In addition to that, Free to Fall gives us conspiracy theories, secret societies, love, betrayal, and self-discovery. They all worked well together because it was a long book (450+ pages), but it never felt that long or dragged. The action of the various plot aspects never had me on edge, yet I was never bored.
I think Free to Fall is a strong second novel for Miller and something that will appeal to a lot of readers. While it is set in the future and technically science fiction, it reads like a contemporary novel. Miller is an author that I have my eye on because I've enjoyed both of her books.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.