September 17, 2017

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The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker | SLJ Review

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redstarParker, S.M. The Girl Who Fell. 368p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481437257.The Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker

Gr 9 Up –The opening pages find the protagonist Zephyr in a dark house, alone, and about to come face to face with a tormentor. Flash back to three months earlier. Senior year is not exactly perfect with Zephyr’s dad suddenly taking off, but at least her field hockey team is on track for playoffs, and hopefully an acceptance letter from Boston College will arrive soon. Having the new cute guy, Alec, take an interest doesn’t hurt, either. As Zephyr’s relationship with Alec intensifies, her friendships suffer. His jealousy and insecurity weave a dangerous web, threatening to trap Zephyr. When he turns physically violent, the teen’s friends step up to help her realize she needs out. Ending the relationship won’t be easy. Parker expertly presents the complexity of abusive relationships. Having Zephyr, an intelligent, strong-willed, and practical character, trapped by a manipulative abuser illustrates how dating violence and abuse can happen to anyone. As for the often misdirected question “How does someone let this happen?” Zephyr never makes a conscious decision to let Alec control her. She finds herself justifying his manipulative behaviors as love. She is slowly pushed to and past her personal limits, emotionally and even sexually. Parker’s powerful cautionary tale highlights a terrifying reality for many teens. Zephyr’s story outlines warning signs that may be a lifesaver to others in similar situations. VERDICT An invaluable addition to any collection.–Carrie Fox, South Park High School, PA

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2016 issue.

Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz (sdiaz@mediasourceinc.com) is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.

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