cover image Freefall


Mindi Scott, Simon Pulse, $8.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0278-2

Scott's well-crafted debut reads like a John Hughes–style romantic comedy filtered through a study of teenage grieving. Despite the booze-influenced death of his friend Isaac, high school junior Seth McCoy has continued his partying ways, drinking to excess and getting high with his brother and their rockabilly band. When he finally attempts to stay sober (upsetting his brother in the process), he finds that he now has crippling stage fright. Seth meets Rosetta—a sweet, mysterious girl who is also coping with grief—at a party and is drawn to her, even as he attempts to deal with family and school issues. Subplots involving Seth's former trailer park neighbor, Kendall, and Seth's new band enrich the story, but it's the awkward courtship between Seth and Rosetta that forms the meat of the novel. Scott stumbles a bit—Rosetta epitomizes the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" archetype (even her name suggests that she's more of a device to help Seth better understand himself)—but Seth's slow discovery of his own potential keeps the story moving and entertaining. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)