It’s no secret that friendships can be tough at times. For Shade, the protagonist in The Falling Girls, her closest friend is a girl named Jadis, someone who knows Shade like the back of her hand. They trust each other implicitly, so much so that though they are only in high school, one of their favorite things to do is come up with and give each other new stick-and-poke tattoos. Change can often make or break things though, and Shade has just made what seems like a very out of character decision for her–to join her school’s cheer-leading squad. Jadis is certain she has heard her best friend wrong, cheer-leading is so not their scene. Shade seems really into her new hobby though, and it is soon clear that she isn’t going to quit any time too soon. Even when she doesn’t get super welcoming vibes from the rest of the squad, Shade is determined to enjoy herself and do well at the sport. Teenage girls can be nasty to each other, and Shade sees this first-hand many times throughout the book. Especially when it comes to the “three Chloe’s”, three girls all with the name Chloe and all on the cheer squad. Shade is already dealing with the stress of having her friendship with her best friend be on the brink of disaster, so when the school dance comes up and Jadis says she is planning to go, Shade is hopeful that maybe her bestie is coming around. Then something unimaginable happens at the dance and Shade begins to question all of her friendships and wonder if there is anyone she can trust.
Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy Provided by the Publisher
Profanity/Language: 19 religious exclamations; 12 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 18 derogatory names; 20 scatological words; 7 anatomical terms; 20 F-word derivatives
Violence/Gore: A brief scene occurs where a minor at a party gasps for breath and collapses; a minor spreads a rumor around that a peer shoplifts and once the girls best friend learns of it she drags the girl spreading the rumor by the hair and threatens her verbally; a few minors decide to burn their textbooks on school grounds in one brief scene; a brief scene occurs where a minor is described to convulse on the floor after taking illegal drugs; a cheerleader is performing and is dropped by the squad resulting in some minor injuries and a bloody nose; a minor is accused of killing her best friend and is arrested.
Sex/Nudity: A brief scene occurs where friends are mentioned to pick on a girl about being a virgin; teens refer to making out; cheerleaders are mentioned to wear sports bras and booty shorts to perform; a brief scene occurs where teen girls talk about how some of their classmates dads watch the cheerleaders a little too much as though they want to undress them; minor girls are mentioned to skinny dip while inebriated; a brief scene occurs where a group of guys are mentioned to be sexually attracted to a girl and probably dream of her at night; a minor recalls a party her mom threw where she walked in on a couple having sex in the bathroom; a girl realizes that her clothes are see-through because they are wet and boys are present in a brief scene; a mention is made of how the cheer squad has hyper-sexual and offensive uniforms.
Mature Subject Matter:
Cancer; Extramarital Affairs; Death of a Minor
Adults are mentioned to take Vicodin; wine is mentioned to be consumed by adults; a minor is reported to light a cigarette and smoke; a character is referred to as being high; an adult tells their child that smoking weed or eating weed gummies is no different than other parents that frequent country clubs and drink a lot of alcohol; a minor is mentioned to take a long hit off of a vape pen; minors are mentioned to eat THC gummies; a minor is reported to have vodka in a Hydroflask; a reference is made to a song with lyrics about getting high; illegal drugs are brought onto school grounds and taken at a dance; a minor recalls a girl younger than her smoking pot for the first time; it is questioned whether someone roofied a drink at the school dance; a moment occurs when someone says that rich people can always get their hands on drugs; a girl is reported to have drugs in her system and to have overdosed and died on Fentanyl.