Ready to Fall
When Max Friedman's mother dies of cancer, instead of facing his loss, Max imagines that her tumor has taken up residence in his head. It's a terrible tenant--isolating him from family, distracting him in school, and taunting him mercilessly about his manhood. With the tumor in charge, Max implodes, slipping farther and farther away from reality. Max is sent to the artsy, off-beat Baldwin School to regain his footing. He joins a group of theater misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet and slowly becomes friends with Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, an edgy upperclassman who refuses to let go of the things he loves. For a while, Max almost feels happy. But his tumor is always lurking in the wings--until one night it knocks him down and Max is forced to face the truth, not just about the tumor, but about how important it is to let go of the past.

Ready to Fall Details

TitleReady to Fall
Author
ReleaseNov 28th, 2017
PublisherFarrar Straus and Giroux
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Teen

Ready to Fall Review

  • Nikki (Book Allure)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review. When you’re done, bury me next to her so I don’t have to be alone It took me a while before writing this review because admittedly I didn’t know how to write it. Ready to Fall is a narrative that deals with grief in a way I have never seen before. There is something about the writing that makes the emotion feel so raw. There were times I had to put down the book and call it a day because I couldn’t handle reading it due to it I received an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review. When you’re done, bury me next to her so I don’t have to be alone It took me a while before writing this review because admittedly I didn’t know how to write it. Ready to Fall is a narrative that deals with grief in a way I have never seen before. There is something about the writing that makes the emotion feel so raw. There were times I had to put down the book and call it a day because I couldn’t handle reading it due to its intensity.Ready to Fall focuses on the story of Max Friedman, and how he is dealing with the loss of his mom to cancer. Max Friedman’s character is so complex, and reading from his point of view can be overwhelming at times. Shortly after his mom’s death from brain cancer, Max is so convinced that the brain tumor took residence in his brain after his mom’s and it spirals down from there.The humanization of the brain tumor was so twisted in an interesting way. Parts where Max would talk about how the brain tumor was lazing around in his brain, kicking up its feet and watching TV gave me so chills. It is so twisted, but it’s the kind of twisted where we really understand what Max is going through.Aside from that, the plot also features Shakespeare! I’m a really big Shakespeare fan and have been reading ARCs that feature his plays (Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills) and I personally enjoy them. It is also fitting because Hamlet fits in so well with Max’s story. So if you’re a big Shakespeare fan, I highly recommend this book.I honestly loved this book with its interesting premise and writing style but there was a big miss for me here, and it was the love story. I thought it was too cliché and completely unnecessary. It belittles Max’s journey to healing. I greatly disliked Fish (and honestly.. who names their kid Fish?!) She reminded me too much of a manic pixie dream girl and I hated it. Her involvement with Max overshadowed his healing process. Had the love story been scrapped off or at least made less cliché I would have given this at least 4 stars.Nonetheless, I still recommend this book because it does portray mental health and grief very well.Ready to Fall is set to be released on 28 November 2017.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I've wanted to try Marcella Pixley's books for a while now. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to read and review Ready to Fall, her latest addition to YA contemporary, I instantly said yes. I loved the title, I loved the cover, and the premise sounded intriguing albeit heartbreaking. The Result? Ready to Fall is amazing - one of my favorite YA contemporaries of the year. It's gorgeously written, captivating, and poignant. I'll be up front: Ready to Fall is not an easy read by any means. It's I've wanted to try Marcella Pixley's books for a while now. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to read and review Ready to Fall, her latest addition to YA contemporary, I instantly said yes. I loved the title, I loved the cover, and the premise sounded intriguing albeit heartbreaking. The Result? Ready to Fall is amazing - one of my favorite YA contemporaries of the year. It's gorgeously written, captivating, and poignant. I'll be up front: Ready to Fall is not an easy read by any means. It's haunting. It's emotional. It's even a bit draining. Marcella Pixley brings to life Max's sadness, confusion, and hurt. My heart broke for him, but at the same time, I could feel the hope slowly building, good starting to replace the bad, and that, my friends, that gradual transition and fresh start, is what made Ready to Fall such a worthwhile read. When we're first introduced to Max he's a disaster. He's failing school, drawing rather than listening during his classes, and distancing himself from his father. His only constant companion is the tumor inside of his head, the one that jumped from his mother's head to his during the funeral. He knows he's off his rocker, that he may in fact be going nuts, but he can't stop it or ask for help.At first, I struggled with Max's character. I understand that coping takes many different forms, but I just wished Max would reach out and get help. It broke my heart that he was in such a rough place. As soon as he starts his new school, everything begins to change for Max. He starts opening up and trying new things. He makes new friends and even forms a mentor-mentee relationship with one of the teachers. This transition was gradual yet so amazing and worthwhile to see. I loved seeing his friendships with Fish and the Monk develop as well as seeing him begin to fit in at his new school. Last but not least, the writing. Marcella Pixley is an incredibly talented writer. I thought she did an amazing job of getting the voice of a teenager down-pat. I also loved the way she brought a fresh approach to a typical novel focusing on grief. The fake tumor aspect was interesting and did a lot for the plot. I also loved the focus on Hamlet the play. It tied in well with overall story. Overall, Ready to Fall is a book I can't help but suggest this Fall. Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and John Green, Ready to Fall shows that while life doesn't always have a clean cut happily-ever-after ending, there's always happiness to be found. Grade: A-
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  • Deborah Maroulis
    January 1, 1970
    I'm finished with Ready to Fall: I love the way Marcella Pixley executes such a complex range of emotions through the medium of survivor's guilt. The teacher in me LOVES that she makes classic literature relevant to the problems today's teens are facing. In fact, I really want to create a unit around this novel. The emotionally charged prose will will leave you haunted.
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  • Sam Kozbial
    January 1, 1970
    This was another of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, and I when I looked back at the all the reasons for why I wanted to read this book, I have to admit, I would highlight all those things as "pros", because they are some of the elements I really liked, but there were additional things that made this a great reading experience for me as well.•Pro: The way Pixley handled Max's grief was so real, yet so odd. He exhibited all the common symptoms - withdrawal, weight loss, anger - but his grief also t This was another of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, and I when I looked back at the all the reasons for why I wanted to read this book, I have to admit, I would highlight all those things as "pros", because they are some of the elements I really liked, but there were additional things that made this a great reading experience for me as well.•Pro: The way Pixley handled Max's grief was so real, yet so odd. He exhibited all the common symptoms - withdrawal, weight loss, anger - but his grief also took the form of an imaginary tumor, which he believed transferred from his mother to him, and the interactions with the "tumor" though quite strange, had a lot of real emotion attached to them. It was interesting and different, and it added an extra dimension to Max's grief, which he had to work through.•Pro: This book was filled with some intriguing and complicated characters. Fish, Ms. Pruitt, The Monk, the twins, Grandma Jean, Dad, Mr. Cage, and Ms. Grossman all added something special to the story. I was especially fond of Fish, because she and Max shared that common bond of having "lost" their mothers, and she was an important stepping stone to his healing process. •Pro: Speaking of mothers. The tears!!! Every time Max shared something about his mom, I got a little verklempt. He shared beautiful and tender moments with me, but he also shared some final and painful moments. The love and adoration he had for his mother was unquestionable, but I knew, that he knew, he was very loved by her too. •Pro: This school was as awesome as I thought it would be, and Pixley did an incredible job weaving a tapestry of pain and grief that included Kafka and Hamlet. •Con: Though hopeful, the ending left me with some loose ends, and I like rather tidy endings. I was not too frustrated though, so minor con. •Pro: The title comes from a trust exercise, which Max and the other thespians engaged in, and I really think it was quite brilliant to use this as the litmus test for where Max was on his healing journey. •Pro: I was impressed by the story and the writing. Pixley loaded this book with vivid imagery and whip smart dialog. The words grabbed me and pulled me right in. •Pro: I cared so much for Max, Dad, Grandma, and Fish. I wanted them all to find some happiness and healing, and I reveled in every good thing that happened to them. Overall: The pain, grief, and loss that Max was wrestling with brought tears to my eyes, as did the joy and peace he eventually found. *I would like to thank the publisher for the review copy of this book. BLOG | INSTAGRAM | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Jaime
    January 1, 1970
    This book was good. I liked that the main character is male because that only seems to happen these days in dual POV books, so that was refreshing. The beginning was heartbreaking and I genuinely felt Max's pain and I felt so sorry for him. I think what I most felt sorry for was that the adults in his life didn't get him help. It was very, very evident that he wasn't coping with his mother's death and instead of taking him to therapy, he transferred to another school. It worked out in this situa This book was good. I liked that the main character is male because that only seems to happen these days in dual POV books, so that was refreshing. The beginning was heartbreaking and I genuinely felt Max's pain and I felt so sorry for him. I think what I most felt sorry for was that the adults in his life didn't get him help. It was very, very evident that he wasn't coping with his mother's death and instead of taking him to therapy, he transferred to another school. It worked out in this situation, but barely. The only person who seemed to want to help him was Dr. Cage, who was the best adult in this whole book. The story flowed well and the writing was really nice. I was engaged the whole time and I wasn't bored. The secondary characters were okay, but not developed enough for me. We don't learn anything about their history or background which was a missed opportunity in my opinion. Why three stars then, you ask? Because it was too much like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was completely unoriginal in that regard. You have a mentally unstable teenage boy who is befriended by the quirky, artistic girl and her friends. He has a crush on the girl and she flirts with him back. And there's even a stage performance at the end (Rocky Horror in Perks vs Hamlet in this one). It honestly turned me off to it. That being sad, it IS a good book. I don't think it dives enough into Max coping with his grief and instead it almost disappears instantly, like here one day and gone the next, so if you're looking for a book that really dives deep into mental health issues, this isn't entirely a good book for that. However, if you liked Perks and want something similar, definitely read this one.Overall, yes I do recommend it. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Mary Clare
    January 1, 1970
    Full review!When Max's mother dies in the summer before his Sophomore year of high school, Max becomes convinced that the tumor that killed her has taken up residence in his own brain and it is a terrible tenant. Trouble in his school leads him to switch to a local artsy private school while he struggles against his own mind, works his way through grief, makes new friends, and has to redefine his relationships with his remaining family members. Max is a really great character. He is well develop Full review!When Max's mother dies in the summer before his Sophomore year of high school, Max becomes convinced that the tumor that killed her has taken up residence in his own brain and it is a terrible tenant. Trouble in his school leads him to switch to a local artsy private school while he struggles against his own mind, works his way through grief, makes new friends, and has to redefine his relationships with his remaining family members. Max is a really great character. He is well developed, interesting, and dynamic in a way that really kept me interested in the book. I felt very invested in Max's life and relationships. His grief felt very real to me, which was probably because his grief was given such a physical presence in the book as he thinks about and interacts with the tumor he believes he has. His sadness and heartbreak was almost tangible and that sharp emotional realism was the shining point of this book.Unfortunately, I thought that a lot of the other components of this book were a little bit underbaked. I just wanted more depth and more development with almost every plot point in this book. I wanted to see more about his changing relationship with his father and grandmother, his developing connections with his friends, and his friends' relationships with one another. I would have loved to see secondary characters that were more thoroughly developed. I was just very interested in Max and the people around him and while I felt like Max was written as a full, dynamic person, I ended up not really buying the other characters as quite so real or genuine.There are just some really fundamental questions about his relationships that were never addressed. Like, what does he actually have in common with his new friends? How are he and his father reforming their relationship in light of their grief? How does what's going on in his mind impact other people?Max's foundation had just been shaken and every relationship in his life had to be redefined. Honestly, I would have happily read a much longer book if it had included this secondary development. Over all, I think this book was well worth the read just for Max as a character, which is really fantastic. This book tackles a very hard subject and it really does well in capturing Max's grief, which is such an intangible and indefinable thing that the book is admirable for having accomplished it.
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  • Michael Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Ready to Fall This touching novel follows the life of Max, its teenage protagonist, in the year after his mother's death from cancer. A compulsive type, Max convinces himself that his mother's cancer has migrated into his brain. The imagined tumor makes Max unable to function as a family member, friend, or student. When he enters a therapeutic private school, Max is introduced to a colorful cast of new friends and teachers who help him to overcome his anxiety.The book is beautifully written with Ready to Fall This touching novel follows the life of Max, its teenage protagonist, in the year after his mother's death from cancer. A compulsive type, Max convinces himself that his mother's cancer has migrated into his brain. The imagined tumor makes Max unable to function as a family member, friend, or student. When he enters a therapeutic private school, Max is introduced to a colorful cast of new friends and teachers who help him to overcome his anxiety.The book is beautifully written with especially clever and humorous dialogue. Max is at the center of the action, but the supporting characters, especially the wonderfully drawn love interest, Fish, are indispensable to the story. As usual, Pixley evokes the pain and joy of adolescence in a remarkably timeless (gadget-free) manner. Some of the action and plot evokes classic 80s movies such as Stand by Me and Ordinary People (I'm sure Pixley read the books; I didn't). The title refers to trust falls, an exercise that actors and other youth groups use to build community spirit and confidence. Max finds himself welcomed into a world of quirky, lovable weirdos in the acting community at his new school. The theater troupe tackles Hamlet, a play and a character which confronts the existential crisis Max is facing. I was quite moved and entertained by this book. As a middle level educator, I found it to be very authentic, and imagine it will be a big hit with young adult readers.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    For a more in-depth review watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSrZy...Max Friedman has a brain tumor...at least he thinks he has a brain tumor. Max's mother just died from brain cancer and at her funeral he made a mental promise to take in her tumor. The tumor has become a constant companion to Max and has caused him to act up and almost fail out of school. To try to save Max's academic future his father enrolls him in the Baldwin School, a progressive school where he meets Fish, The Monk an For a more in-depth review watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSrZy...Max Friedman has a brain tumor...at least he thinks he has a brain tumor. Max's mother just died from brain cancer and at her funeral he made a mental promise to take in her tumor. The tumor has become a constant companion to Max and has caused him to act up and almost fail out of school. To try to save Max's academic future his father enrolls him in the Baldwin School, a progressive school where he meets Fish, The Monk and Mr. Cage. Will Max's new environment save him or will his phantom tumor win?I had such a mixed reaction to this book. It is very beautifully written and was, at times, almost lyrical. Plus, it is one of the few books I can remember that features a teen boy dealing with his emotions which is something we should see more of in YA books. However, I thought the story moved slowly verging on dragging at some points. Plus, many of the character actions turned them into caricatures making it hard to care about them and making the drama of the book feel like a melodrama. Yet, even with the issues I had with this this book I appreciate the author's writing style and I will read future work by this author.I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I received and eARC of this through NetGalley.After Max's mother dies, the cancerous brain tumor that killed her sets up residence in Max's brain. The tumor is a terrible tenant and makes it impossible for Max to live a normal life. In order to keep Max from failing, he is sent to a more progressive school with a stronger focus on...(I am not really quite sure why this environment was better, only that it was different). With the help of a new friend The Monk and pretty girl/possible love intere I received and eARC of this through NetGalley.After Max's mother dies, the cancerous brain tumor that killed her sets up residence in Max's brain. The tumor is a terrible tenant and makes it impossible for Max to live a normal life. In order to keep Max from failing, he is sent to a more progressive school with a stronger focus on...(I am not really quite sure why this environment was better, only that it was different). With the help of a new friend The Monk and pretty girl/possible love interest Fish, Max begins to come out of his grief and begins interacting with the world. I had some problems with this book, but there were also areas that I enjoyed. I did enjoy the writing style. I took issue with several of the characters, like the tumor and Mr. Cage (his last hurrah just didn't sit well with me. The way it came up, the way it went down, and the treatment of it afterwards). I found myself enjoying the story more as it went on.
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  • Chiang Saen
    January 1, 1970
    A very funny and moving book, with memorable and appealing characters, witty dialogue, and page-turning pacing. The protagonist, Max, is unable to cope with not just grief but with debilitating anxieties and obsessive thoughts that incapacitate him at school. The intersection of the Max's personal journey with themes from Hamlet, the drama club show he gets pulled into at his new school, is subtle and deftly interwoven by this talented YA author. An excellent read.
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  • Bickering Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    For a more in-depth review watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSrZy...Beautifully written debut novel that is fast read however the character development didn’t quite work and some of the plot points didn’t work for us.We received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Touching and funny YA story relevant for adults, too. It's the journey of a teenager learning to acknowledge and take responsibility for his feelings as he navigates a loss and finding willingness to reach out to others with similar hurts. Pulls the reader right into the social universe of a quirky high school.
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    This book was neither here nor there. I think the love I had for Max and his family evenly balanced the dislike I had for his special snowflake group of friends who got on my nerves to an extreme degree. That makes it a three.
  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    I like how Pixley dealt with grief and healing in this book, but the devices used to move the story along could have been more cohesive.Check out my full review at Forever Young Adult.
  • Esther Ehrlich
    January 1, 1970
    This book's a beauty! Deeply moving, evocative, quirky, it captures the pain in life but especially the love. The characters are nuanced and were so easy for me to care about. And the writing? Gorgeous!
  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    Max Friedman is having a tough time dealing with the death of his mother. He thinks the tumor that killed his mother is now residing in his brain. His father enrolls him in the Baldwin School with the hope Max will fit in better with kids that are a little bit different like him. He soon becomes friends with Fish, a girl with a troubled home life, and The Monk, a boy who may or may not be dating Fish. As Max starts to find happiness, he soon realizes that he must finally move on from the past.Th Max Friedman is having a tough time dealing with the death of his mother. He thinks the tumor that killed his mother is now residing in his brain. His father enrolls him in the Baldwin School with the hope Max will fit in better with kids that are a little bit different like him. He soon becomes friends with Fish, a girl with a troubled home life, and The Monk, a boy who may or may not be dating Fish. As Max starts to find happiness, he soon realizes that he must finally move on from the past.There were a few plot lines that I normally like such as a teenager dealing with the death of a loved one and the feeling of not belonging while growing up. It makes me feel like I have a heart of stone though because I just never fully connected with the character of Max. I actually felt more emotionally invested in the character of Fish. This isn't a bad story and it did hold my interest enough that I finished it, but it did feel a tad underwhelming. I won a free copy of this book from Fierce Reads but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Rebecca Grabill
    January 1, 1970
    Love love love this book! It's about (in a nutshell) a boy who thinks his mother's brain tumor moved into his own head after her death. The humor, the intelligence, the non-formulaic storyline - all winners. And did I mention gorgeous writing? Yeah, that too. Plus, as a former drama nerd, the drama (Hamlet! Pow!) subplot was thoroughly fun to experience and beautifully rendered.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Title: Ready to FallAuthor: Marcella PixleyRating: 3.5/5Note: Special thanks to Raincoast Books for providing an ARC for review. This review can also found at the R.C Palmer Library book review blog.I hadn't meant to pick up this book since my TBR pile was clearly getting to the point where it's about to rival the world's tallest structure, but I read the first few pages of Marcella Pixley's latest Contemporary YA and I couldn't put it down. It's an engrossing story about grievance, fear, friend Title: Ready to FallAuthor: Marcella PixleyRating: 3.5/5Note: Special thanks to Raincoast Books for providing an ARC for review. This review can also found at the R.C Palmer Library book review blog.I hadn't meant to pick up this book since my TBR pile was clearly getting to the point where it's about to rival the world's tallest structure, but I read the first few pages of Marcella Pixley's latest Contemporary YA and I couldn't put it down. It's an engrossing story about grievance, fear, friendships, learning to cope, and of course, love. This was the first book written by her that I've read and I'm clearly going to have to check out her other works.Pixley has a way of writing unique characters with authentic dialogue. I find that many YA authors tend to lean towards dialogue driven stories, and those oftentimes get redundant and leave very little to the imagination. Another pattern I see in YA novels is that characters' voices get lost and begin to blend in with one another less than halfway through the stories; it feels like there's only one character speaking. This would then result in stock characters such as the "big bad guy with smoldering good looks" or the "innocent special snowflake." HOWEVER, this tragedy did not occur with Pixley's writing, and she creates a cast of interesting characters with their own distinct voices. There were several characters I empathized with or have come to really enjoy reading about; Cage being among one of them and probably my favourite character.It was inevitable that he would be my favourite character the minute he strolled into his classroom and began to harshly critique his students' works without caring about hurting their feelings.He's a no nonsense tell-it-like-it-is character who has issues of his own, and Pixley doesn't have to tell readers that directly. Instead, it's revealed during the careful crafting of the plotline, conversations, and his class discussions. While I was thoroughly enjoying his snarkiness, I was also picturing Cage as Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark.They have the same sarcastic loud-mouth with no filter. Despite Cage's odd way of acting as a therapist for Max, it's effective in the end regardless of the methods he used to get Max to open up.There was one character I did not like. I know we're supposed to think she's adorable and empathize with her issues, but I couldn't bring myself to care for Fish's cliched self. First of all, pink hair? Really? She's the embodiment of the manic pixie dream girl come to life with no real depth or point to the story. I cringed at her introduction and knew I was in for deja vu as YA novels are littered with female love interests like herself. Not only do we get just one or two cliche issues that ALL tragic love interests are required to be tormented with, we get three: of course she has problems with her mom, self-harm, and her ex-boyfriend. None of these are ever addressed directly; they're simply glossed over with hopes that these issues will solve themselves. I understand that this isn't a story about Fish and her difficult teenage life, but I really did not like her as a character nor as Max's love interest. If we had taken her out of every scene, the story would have remained the same. She's a lazily written character and I could have done without her.Another issue I had with this book is the mention of self-harm without any sort of resolution, explanation, or lesson to be learned. We hear about certain characters hurting themselves but that is all readers get. It is then magically not a concern by the end of the book and the characters run off into the sunset together without ever dealing with this very real problem. According to this book, one can expect to stop cutting themselves once they meet their significant other. It's also not a problem that continues to fester the longer you ignore it or seek out help. Romance does not simply patch up years or even a one-time incidence.Despite these main issues, I loved the use of Hamlet which happens to be my favourite Shakespeare play. Hamlet alluded to Max's own struggles of dealing with his mother's death and Pixley couldn't have picked a better literary reference. I would still recommend it to students as it's a quick and relatively easy read. It has well-written characters, hilarious scenes, and an interesting take on dealing with depression and loss.
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