Rummanah Aasi
   Fall From Grace is the latest book by Charles Benoit. I haven't read anything by the author before, but I've heard much about this book, You, which is based on Shakespeare's Othello. Benoit detours from the seriousness of his previous release and takes a chance on a romantic comedy caper.

Description (from Goodreads): Grace always has a plan. There’s her plan to get famous, her plan to get rich, and—above all—her plan to have fun. Sawyer has plenty of plans too. Plans made for him by his mother, his father, his girlfriend. Maybe they aren’t his plans, but they are plans.
  When Sawyer meets Grace, he wonders if he should come up with a few plans himself. Plans about what he actually wants to be, plans to speak his own mind for a change, plans to maybe help Grace with a little art theft.
Wait a minute—plans to what?

Review: It is hard to categorize Fall From Grace. It verges on the cusp of romantic comedy and film-noir that doesn't exactly reach a serious point. It did, however, really remind me of a YA version of the movie Yes Man featuring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel, where a guy challenges himself to say "yes" to everything for a year.
   On the outside, Sawyer seems to have everything made for him. He's got good grades, a hot girlfriend and plans for college, courtesy of the decisions that his parents and girlfriend made for him. On the inside, however, he feels trapped by his parents' expectations and the tight leash his girlfriend keeps around his neck. Sawyer says he wants to assert himself, but is stuck in his passive ways until Grace Sherman enters his life and things get out of hand.
  Grace Sherman is the complete opposite of Sawyer. She is a smooth-talking, resourceful, quick-witted, quirky girl from another high school whose breathes life, excitement, and danger into Sawyer's mundane life. Unlike Sawyer who is still unsure of what he really wants to do with his life,  Grace knows what she wants: she wants to be famous. To achieve her goal, Grace is fixated on stealing a painting from the local library, and she needs Sawyer's help.
 Fall From Grace was a mixed bag for me. While I thought the characterizations were nicely done, I didn't really care much about them. Grace's heist seems like a prank and I couldn't really muster up any seriousness around it.  The librarian in me was irritated about stealing from a library. While the book had the right ingredients of a worthwhile read, there was something missing in the book, a hook, a sense of urgency or a thrill. The tension and the plot builds slowly; more than half of the novel is dedicated to building up Sawyer's relationship with Grace, which was nice to see but I didn't think their relationship progressed at all. The ending, which caught others by surprise, was a bit too gimmicky and tacked on for me. Despite these issues, I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy quirky characters and looking for an offbeat book.

Rating: 3 stars

Word of Caution: There is some language at times strong, underage drinking, and a few allusions to sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaduoin,
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Hmmmm. I was looking forward to this one but I totally understand enjoying the characters without actually mustering up a great deal of affection for them. I love to love characters, so it's a little disappointing when I'm indifferent. Lovely review Rummanah!

  2. I can imagine the librarian in you was upset about stealing from the library! This sounds like it could have been a great read but it kind of missed the mark. I don't think I would like the gimmicky ending either.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about this. It was hard for me to like any of the characters and to take Grace seriously. I liked the ending, mostly because it really surprised me. It reminded me a lot of Robert Cormier - his book I Am the Cheese disturbed me so much in 7th grade that I've never read another book by him. But it made an impact. I think Benoit is going for the same type of literary genre, although he doesn't have Cormier's skill yet.

  4. Hmm, at first the synopsis of this one sounds really fun. But yeah, I don't really understand how stealing a painting from your local library will make you famous. I think I'll skip this for now so thanks for the review, Rummanah.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Hmmm I like offbeat books, but I have to be in an offbeat mood to read them...:D LOL- Ill put this on my list for books to check out when Im feeling snarky....

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