Dark, enigmatic, and undeniably romantic, Lauren Kate’s young adult novel Fallen is the story of Luce Price, a seventeen-year-old high school student with a complicated secret. All her life, she’s seen moving shadows, eerily appearing in unexpected moments. Naturally, those around her assume mental problems, but no doctor or drug can relieve her of these visions. For the sake of normalcy, Luce learns to keep the shadows to herself, but when a fire takes the life of her crush, Luce’s vague recollection of the event lands her in Sword & Cross, an intense reform school in Savannah with little charm. What’s worse? It’s a month into her senior year.
At Sword & Cross, new students are asked immediately to dispense of their prohibited materials: Swiss Army knives, box cutters, spray paint, matches, lighter fluid, and cell phones. Luce is completely isolated in her new, austere environment, except, of course, for the “reds”—the red lights on the cameras watching her every move. Uneasy and homesick, Luce keeps up her guard as she meets and eventually befriends a cast of seeming misfits. Arriane, who dubs herself “certifiably insane,” shows Luce the ropes, while Penn—more like Luce than any other student—plays a pivotal role in helping her unlock the mystery by which she becomes consumed. And then there’s Cam, a beautiful boy with emerald eyes, instantly smitten and in hot pursuit.
But it is Daniel, with his grey eyes, rippled muscles, and prickly demeanor, who transfixes Luce. “Maybe it was because he was the only spot of color on the quad, but he was all that Luce could look at. In fact, everything else so paled in comparison that, for one long moment, Luce forgot where she was.” And then he flips her off. Isn’t that always the way it goes? Despite his gruffness, Luce has an uncanny feeling that they’ve met before. She is certain she knows him, and she must find out why.
What follows is a quest to uncover the truth about Daniel and outmaneuver Cam. Filled with passion, intensity, and the supernatural, Fallen throws our heroes together and then pulls them apart. As Kate ups the ante on danger and suspense, we come to understand the meaning of the shadows, Sword & Cross, and at last, Daniel himself. Like waking from a bad dream, Luce finds internal redemption and, ultimately, love. As the first book of the tetralogy, this, thankfully, is only the beginning.
Citation: Kate, Lauren. Fallen. New York: Delacorte Press, 2009. Print.