Ready to Fall

Following the death of his mother from cancer, sixteen-year-old Max Friedman comes to believe that he is sharing his brain with a tumour. As the terrified teenager tries to control the malignant tenant, he starts to lose touch with his friends and family, and with reality itself – so his father sends him off to the artsy Baldwin school to regain his footing.

The theme of not being afraid to accept help from others – especially when your life is falling apart – is cleverly captured in Jet Purdie’s cover illustration showing black and white hands reaching out to grip one another in what is a particularly beautifully written Young Adult novel. Max’s heartache is so well described that every time it comes to his feelings about his mother, it’s like the reader experiences a series of little shocks. The emotions – though never sensationalised – are that vivid. We are totally rooting for this boy in his journey of grief, wondering how he’s ever going to pull out of it, as he familiarises himself with the eccentric characters in Baldwin, a school that seems remarkably like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. And while the plot may seem to drag just a little at the start, very soon the reader is totally absorbed in this intelligent story of a boy aching for his mum and terrified he has brain cancer. Pixley is great at describing smells, which she does quite frequently throughout. And there’s lots of ‘will they, won’t they get together’ tension between the protagonist and his love interest (his crush on the pink-haired Fish is superbly felt), which keeps you turning the pages till the very end.

Book Cover - Ready to Fall
Publication Date
March 2018
Age range