A novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique.
Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Speed of Falling Objects
Author: Nancy Richardson Fischer
Harlequin TEEN (US & Canada)
Genre: Teens & YA
Publication Date: 01 October 2019
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more—more athletic, charismatic, attractive—life would be perfect.
When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.
The concept hooked me right away. Danny doesn’t know her father very well after he left after her eye accident, which you don’t get full details of until late in the book which I liked because I went through most of it assuming one thing until the reveal.
Danny’s smart but doesn’t see herself as a worthy person, so when she gets the call from her dad to be on his show for her birthday, she doesn’t pass up the opportunity to go and prove to him she’s the same adventurous kid she was before the accident.
One of the things I liked most is the message: that you are great just the way you are. Danny spends so much time perfecting her moves for her dad that she sometimes gets lost along the way, as well as making excuses for his asshole behavior.
And that leads me to one of my main quibbles of the book: Cougar. Cougar is not a good dad or even that much of a likable character. You can tell early on he wants to use Danny for his own gain, as well as some other things that will be revealed, so when she gets excited to spend time with him, you just feel bad because you know this guy is not going to be who she looks up to, whose show she’s watched every episode of.
Cougar undermines, embarrasses, and belittles Danny throughout most of the book where it becomes infuriating when Danny doesn’t stick up for herself.
I liked the side characters enough. Jupiter Jones, that’s actually his name, worked for Cougar and bonded with Danny early on. I crossed my fingers nothing would happen to him. There’s also Gus, the celebrity meant to be on the episode. He and Danny started to form a connection but it was such an off-and-on thing for only being in the jungle for a number of days. I mean their relationship was cute and wouldn’t have happened if not for the crash, and Gus started to show his real self further along…I just didn’t want Danny getting strung along.
I was pleasantly surprised how dark the book got when it came to surviving in the jungle and dangers along with it. I don’t know why I didn’t think that going in, but it doesn’t take long after the crash you realize it’s actually a life-or-death situation. Again, I don’t know why it took me that long to understand the book is just as much about survival as well as finding your self-worth.
The infuriating parts with Cougar, other characters, as well as Gus, sometimes took me out of the story, but mainly Cougar. I had a feeling early on, before we even met him, that the guy Danny worshiped wouldn’t be who he really is, and that is 100% right. But it did make me sympathize with Danny more, which the book does a good job doing.
Overall, I got more into the story after the crash but once that happened, I wanted to keep reading. There’s a lot of twists and turns and you just aren’t sure what’s going to pop up next, either from the jungle or a character.