The Speed of Falling Objects

img_20191127_171941621-1img_20191127_172004295Danger (yes, that is her given first name) Danielle Warren, aka Danny, is turning 17 and has lived with her nurse mom in a two-bedroom/one-bath apartment for almost a decade, since her parents divorced and her father went off to build his name as an extreme sports/nature adventurer on TV. Blind in one eye from an accident, Danny has a close childhood friend and a stable home life with her mom. Because of her disability, however, she has experienced some humiliating bullying which has affected her self-esteem.

She longs to know more about her dad, who seldom calls and shows zero-to-little interest in her. Her mom has nothing good to say about him. On the eve of her 17th birthday her dad calls out of the blue, inviting her to come to the rain forests of South America to participate in the filming of one of his TV episodes–one which will feature a really hot teenage actor. Her mom vehemently disapproves, but Danny draws a line in the sand that she is unwilling to cross, and off she goes to meet her dad and his film crew.  Unfortunately, the small plane they take into the jungle crashes, largely but not solely due to weather problems. One of the passengers dies on impact, two more die quickly thereafter, and the rest of the gang must make its way somehow to a point where they can be rescued.

It’s quite a journey. The author does an excellent job of moving it along, exposing strengths and weaknesses of the various characters, observing as they come to test and know each other (and themselves), illustrating growth of young and old toward making peace with their mutual imperfections and limitations, and showing problem-solving techniques.  It’s a book worthy of study and discussion by readers young-adult age and older.

There are some rather gruesome descriptions of injuries and dangerous situations.  There is a great deal of vulgar language.  There is teenage sex toward the end of the book, although it is not described in an overly graphic manner.  Librarians would need to make a careful assessment of how much of the above would be tolerated in their particular communities.

Categories: Body Acceptance, Bullying, Death and Grieving, Differently Abled, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Violence

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