Fallen by Lauren Kate

fallencoverIf you see this cover with this title, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Fallen angels, angels and demons (not the Dan Brown book), right? Okay, so I am going to talk about this book with the assumption that the title alone is enough to give away that much.

Luce is the new girl at Sword & Cross reform school, arriving because of a recent accident that she can’t explain that left a friend of hers dead. Luce is also troubled by dark shadows that only she can see. At Sword & Cross, Luce finds herself in a bit of a love triangle with a brooding quiet boy, Daniel, and a friendly outgoing boy, Cam. (You can guess for yourself which one she finds most intriguing.) It turns out that there’s more at stake than just which boy she is going to choose. As Luce finds out more about these boys, she finds herself in the middle of a battle that could affect the entire world.

As was reading this, I told Mike, “Bella kept saying that Edward was an angel, but in this book, it’s true!” Take that, Edward Cullen! Lauren Kate manages to neatly sidestep the main question of good and evil by focusing on two different kinds of fallen angels. There is a lot of buildup to the reveal that Daniel is an angel, and I expect that most readers will figure it out much earlier and be impatient for Luce to catch up. The setting of Sword & Cross and the cast of characters were a big part of what I enjoyed about the book – Lauren Kate really developed the reform school world (though I thought there was probably a little bit too much skipping school for it to be quite harsh enough).

Two weeks ago, a teeny tiny sixth grade girl came up to the circulation desk at my school and asked for “steamy” books like her mama reads. Nothing we had was quite steamy enough, and she didn’t think she had the stamina to get through Twilight. While I wouldn’t recommend this for 6th grade, I think this book might have fit the bill. There was a lot of longing and tension, attractive boys, and a love triangle. Like Twilight, this is a book mainly focused on the romance with a little bit of action thrown in, and while romance novels are not really my cup of tea, this one kept my attention. The buildup was a little bit too slow for my taste, but the end was much more satisfying (and unsatisfying – it leaves the reader hanging in a lot of ways). I will be putting it in my library and recommending it for some 7th and 8th graders.

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