Book Review: How to Fall

How to Fall (Jess Tennant #1)
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Mystery

I love to read mysteries in the fall when the temperature starts to drop, the rain starts to fall, and the leaves change colors. There is something about reading a murder mystery as nature is transitioning that I find immensely appealing. How to Fall is set in the summer so I decided maybe it was time to see if mysteries have the same allure in a different season. I had high expectations for this one since the author has written numerous works and the summary was intriguing. I also was drawn to the setting. I've always wanted to spend the summer in a seaside village in England; this seemed like the perfect ticket for a mental vacation on the English shore.

Jess Tennant is a teen who is dealing with the after effects of her parents' divorce. Her father is too busy with his new girlfriend to notice that Jess and her mother have vacated the London city limits to holiday in Port Sentinel, a quaint seaside village with gorgeous views, charming shops, and family secrets. Mrs. Tennant is from Port Sentinel but a dark chapter in her past sent her scurrying to find a new life beyond the town's boundaries when she was barely out of her teens. Jess doesn't know why her mother left or why she hasn't seen her family since Jess was born, but now that they are in Port Sentinel, Jess hopes that she will get some answers.

To make matters worse, Jess turns heads every time she walks down the street - and not in a good way. Jess eerily looks almost identical to her cousin, Freya, who died the previous year in a tragic accident. Jess thirsts for knowledge about Freya since so many people think they could be the same person. It soon becomes clear that the girls had little in common (aside from their face). Jess' imagination begins to run wild and she convinces herself that Freya's death was not an accident. She spends the rest of her summer playing Nancy Drew and working at a decrepit donation store in town. 

I was caught up in this novel and enjoyed piecing together the clues to Freya's accident. I did find that I didn't have enough evidence to accurately predict the twist. I think this is one of the shortcomings of the novel. It felt like it came out of nowhere. I felt like this novel had a lot of potential and while it was entertaining, I don't think it met my expectations fully. I loved Jess and plan to read the next novel to find out what happens to her next, but it isn't a series that I would drop everything to read right away. 

One Last Gripe: The pacing of this one felt a bit off.

Favorite Things About This Book: The relationship between Jess and Will & the setting

First Sentence: Freya ran.

Favorite Character: Jess

Least Favorite Character: Natasha

Sixteen-year-old Jess Tennant has never met any of her relatives, until her mom suddenly drags her out of London to spend the summer in the tiny English town where her family’s from. Her mom’s decision is surprising, but even more surprising is the town’s reaction to Jess. Everywhere she goes, people look at her like they’ve seen a ghost. In a way, they have—she looks just like her cousin Freya, who died shortly before Jess came to town.

Jess immediately feels a strange connection to Freya, whom she never got to meet alive. But the more Jess learns about the secrets Freya was keeping while she was alive, the more suspicious Freya’s death starts to look. One thing is for sure: this will be anything but the safe, boring summer in the country Jess was expecting.

Beloved author Jane Casey breaks new ground with How to Fall, a thrilling and insightfully written mystery.


  1. Sounds interesting. I've not seen this one before. Great review!

    1. It's a YA debut for this author, but she's written novels for adults before this one. The setting and main character make this one worth a read.

  2. Great review! With mysteries, it's so important that authors provide enough clues that the twist makes sense. I may check this one out from the library just because it sounds interesting, and the setting sounds wonderful

    Amber @ Fall Into Books

    1. The setting was one of my favorite parts! I'd love to hear your thoughts after you've had a chance to read it.


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