Content Warnings: plane crash, blood, bullying, pig dissection, graphic descriptions of injuries, death of parents, drug addiction, explanation of medical procedures, panic attacks, self-harm, emotional abuse, suicide attempt
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From the author of When Elephants Fly comes an exceptional new novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique. Don’t miss this compulsively readable novel about the most unlikely of heroes.
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.
This is probably the most difficult review I’ve had to write so far. There were a lot of positive things about The Speed of Falling Objects that I enjoyed but there were also several things included that made me uncomfortable.
Overall, this is an incredible story of survival. From the very beginning, it was so fast-paced which made it a quick and exciting read. This matches the plot perfectly and helped drive home the sense of urgency and fear the characters were experiencing.
Most of the characters I wasn’t a fan of but I did enjoy Jupiter and Gus. Both of them were wholesome and just felt like good people. The main character, Danny, has me unsure. There were things about her I wasn’t a fan of (I’ll be talking about it in more detail below) but I loved the journey of self-discovery she went on. Jupiter, Gus, and Danny all showed great development and each brought something unique to the story.
The thing that bothers me about this book is how so much of the representation was handled. Danny lost one of her eyes in a freak accident when she was quite young and it’s something that is mentioned constantly throughout the novel. She refers to herself numerous times as being broken and not whole.
It isn’t until she falls in love with a boy that she realizes how much she’s worth. Yes, there is also the journey through the Amazon that helps her see how strong she is, but why do disabled people need to go through conflict like this to supposedly get over what happened? Oh, wait, they don’t.
And if the ableist plot point wasn’t enough there was also the casual erasure of non-binary people within the first 100 pages. Cass is trying to get to know Danny a little better and asks, “Not sure which way you swing but what about a boyfriend or girlfriend?” This conversation has happened – stop acting like non-binary people don’t exist. Instead of asking about a boyfriend or girlfriend make it more neutral by using partner or significant other. It isn’t hard to do.
I have a hard time outright recommending The Speed of Falling Objects because of the problematic content I feel was included. If those issues hadn’t been present then the story would have been great – it was exciting and an absolute page-turner that kept me on my toes. If you do decide to read this just make sure you’re acknowledging the hurt some of it may cause to other readers and be respectful when recommending it to others.
A physical ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, all quotes should be checked for changes against the final copy.