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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: Falling From Grace by S.L. Naeole

This is why I love browsing through Goodreads. Once in a while I get to discover hidden jewels like this one amongst all the stellar books out there. It always makes me feel so proud whenever I find very underrated books which are very satisfying to read. I feel like I have the responsibility to get the word out there and make everyone read it.

Title: Falling From Grace
Author: S.L. Naeole
Pages: 502


When you wake up in the morning and your eyes take in the first hints of light that shine through your window, the dust motes catching and reflecting the sun’s rays like little diamonds, the shimmering hues of yellow and orangey gold breaking through into your room, the first thing you think about usually isn’t how you’re going to make it through the worst day of your life.

Unfortunately for Grace Shelley, that’s exactly what she’s facing as she ponders what to do now that she’s going to be starting out her last year in high school without her best friend. She’s not exactly the most popular girl in school - well, not the most popular girl in school to like, anyway - and everything seems to be hinting at another status quo year for her until she bumps into a stranger who leaves her stumbling for words and chasing after her heart.

The new guy in school is different. Robert doesn’t care about the rumors he’s heard about her or that no one else seems to see her the same way that he does; he only wants to be her friend. That’s when things get complicated. When Grace learns that he’s not your typical high school boy and that he’s actually a wingless angel who’s looking for someone to trust, she’s thrust into his world where not all angels are meant to protect human beings, and where the changes she brings into his life changes everything in hers.
I rarely see books with main protagonists having mixed heritages. I don't know if its because they are more complicated to write, but S.L. Naeole took advantage of Grace's mixed parentage and created a character that is true and honest and real.

Half-american, Half-korean Grace Shelley has been an outcast all her life. A freak to most kids her age, having survived a devastating car accident that took her mother's life. When Grace survived unscathed, the rumours started and Grace was never "normal" in the eyes of everyone. She doesn't have any friends other than her next door neighbor, Graham, and when she fell in love with him, confessed and got rejected by him, Grace felt like her life was one big disaster. She was alone and friendless on her last year of high school.

I have to admit that my having the same name as Grace helped connect with her more. It was easier for me to feel her character. She was a girl who's one wish was to be normal. Yes, at some point I pitied Grace, however I don't think she's abnormal. She's just unique, and she lived in a town where being unique and different is a bad thing. There are times when I got irritated with her, but I learned, that dealing with death isn't easy. That made it easier for me to understand why her mother's death was very much an important part of Grace. Death was the beginning of a lot of things for Grace.

I have to give S.L. kudos for the way Angels were portrayed in this book. It was very interesting. They wear the same faces as us, though bound by a different set of laws. And they live amongst us. That's what Grace learned after that faithful day, bumping into a boy with eyes like liquid silver, Robert.

And her life was never the same.

Robert grew on me. I never liked male protagonists who are always described like he was the most beautiful guy in the planet, but Robert proved that he was more than a pretty face. He grew as Grace grew. Robert felt what its like to love and be loved not because of what he looks like, but for what he really is. Grace made him "live".

Reading the novel itself was a very fulfilling experience. I was skeptical when I first saw the page count. Keeping a 500 paged book interesting to the very end is a very big challenge for both the author and the readers, but S.L. wrote it in such a way that you wouldn't mind reading through it. Yes, the novel was long, but it was worth reading every page. Why?

Because, for me, as a reader, there's nothing more delightful than to see the characters grow with each turn the page. I cheered Grace on as she finally found friends, as she got back what she thought she had lost (Graham) and that she finally realized that she didn't need to be "normal". Grace looks at herself as someone different, but Robert showed her that she's not. There's a certain intensity when it comes to Robert and Grace's relationship/interaction that just makes you want to know more. I sure felt that way.

I guess one of the good things in reading a long novel is that there's so much room for the development of its characters. Also, you wouldn't get bored with reading about the same characters over and over, because Falling From Grace has a set of strong supporting characters. They are also an integral part of the story. Their back stories can be easily explored. You know there's more to look forward to, not just with Grace's and Robert's story, but even those around them as well.

Give this book a try, you wouldn't be sorry. Like I said, its a hidden jewel that's just waiting to shine amidst all of the great books out there.

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!


Yes - The Goddess Approves!

If you guys are interested to read the book, you can buy them/ get info from:

Amazon | Goodreads | Smashwords


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