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Free to Fall

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What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness?

What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results.

Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school.

Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

469 pages, Hardcover

First published May 13, 2014

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Lauren Miller

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 951 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
July 27, 2014
3.5 stars

What makes a good dystopian sci-fi novel?

...a fast-paced plot?
Personally, though I can appreciate the attraction of slow-moving dystopian fiction that gradually uses subtle language and events to paint a portrait of the world in peril, I much prefer the kind that drags me in, makes me immediately aware of the danger and forces me to sit on the edge of my seat, freaking out over whether the main characters will ever get through this. Free to Fall does that. I spent the entire novel needing to know what was going on, desperate for answers and afraid for Rory.

...a premise grounded in science?
Maybe this isn't important for everyone, but I love dystopian fiction that uses scientific language to enthrall me. I suppose it's hard to keep the balance between scientifically-detailed and not boring, but Miller does it very well. As with her last book, she builds her story close to scientific facts and makes it feel like something that is not only possible, but quite likely for the future. Which brings me onto my next point.

...a believable story?
When I say "believable", I don't necessarily mean "realistic", part of the excitement of good sci-fi is to stretch to new possibilities and impossibilities and convince us of their likelihood. And I think Free to Fall's believability is it's strongest quality. This does not feel like a completely alien world that could never happen in a million years, nor does it feel like a mashed together bundle of phrases like "oppression" and "control" without any sense of how it happened. The world Rory lives in feels only a few small steps from where we are now. While some of the technology might be a little ambitious (or not - who knows?), Miller has created a convincing world that I can see happening. It doesn't feel like fantasy; it feels how, IMO, dystopian fiction should.

...good characters?
I liked Rory for the most part and was sympathetic towards her situation - it mattered to me whether she would find out what was going on and make it through okay. Most of all, I liked her growth and the way she learned and gained new perspectives as the story moved along. One reason I gave Miller's first novel such a low rating was because I disliked the bitchy main characters who looked down on so-called "slutty" girls and I wondered if this might go the same way at first. But Miller surprised me. At first, Hershey is introduced as a popular ditzy girl who wears revealing clothing and Rory is annoyed to discover they will have to be roommates. But as time goes by, the two very different girls develop an understanding between them that turns to friendship... their relationship was my favourite in the whole book.

So why only 3.5 stars?

In short: a boring love story.
I don't know why this is a requirement, I really don't. It seems to appear in almost every YA book, regardless of genre. Romance can be an interesting component in a story and can make you even more invested in the characters, but this one was yet another that was dull, lacking in any chemistry I could see, and pointless. I spent the romantic parts of this book hoping they would soon be over so we could get back to the very interesting science-related mysteries going on. I don't know why every heroine has to team up with some hottie in order to figure things out and save the day anyway.

But, despite this...

I enjoyed the book a lot. It's not often that I return to authors I've mentally blacklisted after a bad experience but I'm really pleased that I gave Lauren Miller a second chance. She writes in a compelling way and weaves a story that is fast-paced, full of constant twists and turns, and actually interesting. The discussions about morality really made me think and Rory's school lessons were almost as exciting as the ones in HP - the classes were all completely new so each one held something to discover. I hope she writes more books I can geek out over soon :)

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Profile Image for Sue.
781 reviews1,590 followers
March 21, 2015
Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.

Free to Fall is my first Lauren Miller book and I honestly didn’t have any idea what to expect. The first forty pages were rough for me but once I get through those I was sold and I just fell in love with Miller’s intelligent novel.

“What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness? What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?”

Free to Fall follows the story of Rory Vaughn who is pretty much content living her life following what her Lux app recommends. When she’s accepted to the prestigious boarding school Theden Academy, her future seems to be even more certain. However, once she settles into her dream school she unravels some secrets that will lead her to question Lux’s credibility and everything might not be as it seems.

Free to Fall has a very interesting premise that hasn’t been done before. It’s refreshing and realistic. We are so dependent on Wi-Fi, internet, phone, laptop and other gadgets. I can see this book happening in real life, years from now. One of the great things I adore about the book is you can easily get lost with the story despite the fact it’s set in the future.

The main message of the book itself is terrifying as it seems youalways have a choice. That’s so simple yet beautiful and powerful. Free to Fall is a great portrayal of fierce protagonist and women, fantastic lady friendship, swoon-worthy guy, and cute romance. Free to Fall is a combination of serious business technology talks with a fluffy and swoon worthy romance scenes. Don’t worry as it doesn’t take over the plot. It’s just right.

Free to Fall is very well written. Miller delivers a perfect intricate plot that will make your head spin with it’s interesting convoluted technology talk. Everything is just grand and has a purpose. While some scenes are predictable, I believe there are still twists that you won’t see coming.

Free to Fall is a brilliant sci-fi read. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys reading a book.
Profile Image for Steysha.
111 reviews212 followers
August 23, 2014
Have you ever had a problem with making a decision? A small one, like what to wear today? Or a big one, like which college to choose? Have you ever thought that it would be a lot easier if someone else was making those decisions for you?

Well then, this book should be in your to-read list!

The MC lives in the society where all decisions are made by an app. It literally knows everything about you and, therefore, what is better for you. It says what you should drink, which way to go, what you should eat – this app has a full control over your life.
People are obsessed with their phones, feeling completely helpless without them. Though, the story takes place in the future, our society is very much alike. We don’t have Lux, but we depend on our iPhones. Let me show you one example:

«He held the camera out for me to see. It was a woman, obviously homeless, her sunken eyes looking straight at the camera. I don’t want your money, her cardboard sign read. Just look at me, so I know I exist. The words and her expression were arresting on their own, but they weren’t what made the photograph so compelling. It was the people in the foreground, the passersby, eyes glued to their phones as they hurried to wherever they were going at lunch hour, completely oblivious to the woman with the sign.»
Sounds familiar, isn’t it?

There are also people, who are labeled as ill, because they hear the Doubt – which is something between an intuition and a God’s blessing. Scientists say that it makes you do stupid and risky things, it leads to no good, and it’s basically an illness. All children have it, this voice in their heads, but they must ignore it and, eventually, it’ll disappear. But there are some people who still hear it and who refuse to use Lux.

Rory is just a normal girl, she lives with her father and stepmother, her mother died when she was born. She dreams about going to Theden – a college for special kids with either a huge brain or a huge bank account. Lucky for Rory, she’s very smart, so Theden accepts her application. She simultaneously finds out, that her mother also was in Theden, but something made her leave it. She also starts to hear the Doubt, but tries not to show it. There is no place for the Doubt in a privileged boarding school. But when it helps her to find out the truth about her academy, she thinks about changing her opinion.

Coming to college, Rory quickly finds friends, or rather they find her. Meet Hershey, one of those typical queen bees with rich family, who ends up being not so typical as it seemed. She and Rory were classmates before, but Hershey never paid much attention to girls like Rory. Now she suddenly claims to be her BFF. That’s suspicious, isn’t it?

Then she meets North (what a name, huh?), supposedly a hot guy with tattoos and some secrets. Honestly, this romance was the only thing with which I wasn’t satisfied in this book. I mean, they were a sweet couple, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between them.

Theden is a dream of a hi-tech society, having the latest Gnosis gadgets, and walls that project light (seriously, I’m not kidding), with special classes with some sort of simulation cabins for each student. However, there is clearly something going wrong. Soon Rory starts to unravel a tangle of mysteries about her family, about Theden Academy, about Gnosis and Lux and most important, about their society and their right to fall. Will she and her friends succeed in their fight for freedom to fall? You shall find out!

«I formed them free and free they must remain. I saw the quote from Paradise Lost differently now. With Lux, people were simply choosing not to choose. We had to remind them that they still could.»

This is a very believable story with a scientific explanation to everything, and that’s what I liked the most. I don’t know how Lauren Miller did it, science isn’t my strong side, but I understood what she wrote about. I also just loved the psychological part of this novel, which shows how easily we can be manipulated.
Rory was a lovable character: she’s very smart and kind, and a perfect example of what can happen if your heart and brain collaborate with each other.
This book teaches us that every decision, good or bad, makes us who we are. People, who are free to fall. It’s not always easy, but it’s what makes us human, a person. Without it, we are just a bunch of zombies who do what they are said to do.
So, think with your heart and don’t be afraid to doubt :)
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,636 reviews34k followers
July 11, 2016
After being disappointed or so-so on so many YA scifi novels, I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would. This is a high concept story that really works, with well thought-out technology, nuanced characters, and an engaging plot. And a standalone! And a book with something to say, but doesn't hammer you over the head with it!

Review to come. But definitely put this on your list if you enjoy dystopian thrillers.
Profile Image for Grace (LovingDemBooks) Z..
189 reviews1,414 followers
January 13, 2015

I received this book from HarperCollins and Lauren Miller's agency for free in exchange for an honest review and read-along with BookBusters. All opinions are my own.

4 of 5 stars. One question still lingers in my head as I'm writing this review. "What if you never had to fall?" (From Free to Fall's synopsis.) Wouldn't I love to live in Free to Fall's world, where everything is somewhat easy, and you have an app to decide everything for you? I interpret "What if you never had to fall? as "What if you never had to think?". I'm asking myself "What if you never had to think?" over and over again because what if I never had to think? I would definitely not be sitting on a couch with my laptop trying to gather enough of my thoughts to write this review. The whole point of a review is about what you think. As I keep on thinking and thinking about Free to Fall's plot, characters, and overall writing, I suddenly realize, that the main focus of this review is definitely not the "basics". Free to Fall made me think about how much of my time is occupied with electronics, and that I need to take a break, and actually look up at the sky, smile at a stranger, admire the sunset, etc. All of these little things are what I'm missing as I'm indoors, on an electronic all the time. (No joke.) The worst part is, is that I know that I should change, but there's nothing that I'm doing about it. I currently am sitting in front pages and pages of notes that are filled with plot and character observations, but none are necessary. Free to Fall is a book that will make you think, pause and realize that you need to get up and take your eyes off of a screen, and it might make you change yourself a bit too (it changed me). I would definitely recommend. (I don't say that a lot.)

Don’t forget to read Free to Fall by Lauren Miller for BookBuster's August Sci-Fi month!! The Free to Fall liveshow will be on August 30 at 7:30PM EST on twobookteens. We will be joined by Lauren Miller, the author of Free to Fall for a Q&A, where you ask questions! Don't forget to use #FALLTOREAD
on Twitter while reading Free to Fall to talk to the hosts, interact with Lauren Miller (the author), and mark progress!

2 HARDCOVER copies of Free to Fall by Lauren Miller (2 winners) [US ONLY]
1 ebook copy of Free to Fall by Lauren Miller {Can be traded for a gift card} (1 winner) [INTERNATIONAL]

Click here to watch me talk about Free to Fall on my booktube channel!

My rating system: (I do use half stars.)
5 - I do not use the 5 star. Not because a book might not be worthy, but because a book is never perfect.
4 - I loved it! There weren't too many flaws, and I had no trouble getting through it. (A 4 star rating is the highest rating I've ever given a book.)
3 - I enjoyed the book, but there we're flaws that made me enjoy it less.
2 - I finished the book, but there were too many flaws for me to enjoy it.
1 - I could not finish the book, and I probably did not finish it....
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
November 10, 2014
4.5-5 stars

Hands down, Free to Fall is one of my favorite books so far this year, and I don’t see that changing by the time December 31, 2014 rolls around. There’s so much to love about it – a plot that epitomizes the proverbial onion, with layer after layer gradually being peeled back; normal, everyday characters with memorable personalities; a subtle, swoon-worthy romance that doesn’t overtake the plot but more than enhances it; and a clear message that in lesser hands would come across as cheesy but Lauren Miller makes it beautiful and potent.

Set in the near future, Free to Fall asks the question: what if you never had to make a mistake? For Rory, that’s entirely possible thanks to Lux, an app that was created to make every decision for you, from what song to listen to, to when to leave for class, to which boy to date. She, along with the majority of the population, uses Lux like a lifeline, or as if it’s another limb. When Rory is accepted into Thedon Academy, an elite, prestigious boarding school that she’s been dreaming about for years, her life seems perfect. However, it’s soon after arriving that she discovers not all is as it seems with the school. By discovering more about the mother who died during her birth, and with the help of North, a handsome, enigmatic guy who doesn’t use Lux, Rory begins to listen to her inner voice that society has tried to silence and to uncover a truth about the app and its creators no one would ever see coming.

My one criticism for the book would be the slow start, as it took me a little while to be fully absorbed, but I literally couldn’t put it down once the plot started to thicken. From there, I was simultaneously reading as fast as I could, my brain begging me to figure things out, and trying to digest all the wonderful details. It was impossible for me to guess where the book was heading at any given moment, which of course thrilled me to no end. There is one twist and turn after another; new secrets, betrayals, and conspiracies consistently being revealed. I know I’m being vague, but this is a book you want to go into not knowing any of the surprises. Lauren Miller caught me completely off guard with how intricate of a plot she concocted. It’s also scary to think how something like this could be our own future. The best dystopian books are those that seem all too possible, and Free to Fall is one of them. Already we use our cell phones and electronic devices for help, to stay connected to the world, and whenever we want to be lazy. There’s a scene between Rory and her best friend, Beck, who is a photographer and doesn’t use Lux all that much, that could so easily happen now: he takes a picture of a homeless man on a busy street, and everyone in the picture is looking down at their cell phone. How common is that? I know I’m guilty. Maybe we’re not at a point when we don’t allow instinct and our conscious to kick in, but we rely on our data packages much more than our grandparents and our parents ever thought possible.

Aside from the plot, the characters and relationships are also really well done. I was worried I wouldn’t connect with Rory at first, that she would be so entranced by Lux that she wouldn’t see what was right in front of her, but she’s no clueless girl. She does rely on her app way more than necessary, as does almost everyone else, but she’s also smart, capable, and clever. Once she realizes there’s more to her school and her mother, she doesn’t stop until she finds her answers. It was very, very easy to not only root for her but to like her as well. She has an endearing relationship with her best friend (who’s a guy), and I have to say that I’d love to get more of his story. My favorite character, though, is North (surprise, surprise). First of all, he works at a coffee shop (cool) and has a mohawk and tattoos (cooler) and likes to keep off the “grid” (coolest). He’s the kind of guy who is who he is and doesn’t apologize for it. Plus he likes to tease and say/do really swoony things.
"You're worried about me," I said, and smiled.
"Nah. It's purely selfish. I want to be able to kiss you without infecting myself."
I punched him in the arm. He caught my fist and touched it to his lips. "I'll see you later," he said, then jogged backward toward the register, as if he didn't want to take his eyes off me.

I don't want to give too much away, but there's another really cool aspect to his character that makes him all the more enjoyable. There is a little bit of drama (or should I say, a misunderstanding) between him and Rory in the beginning, but man do these two make a great team once they become a couple. There is not a lot of "romance" per say, but the few romantic moments between them definitely gave me butterflies. What's more, the way they work together and stay in sync throughout the whole book is amazing to watch. No unnecessary second-half angst here. Their relationship is solid and supportive, and they're definitely one of my OTPs now.

The message, too, is wonderfully depicted. It not only made me think about choices, and the beauty of them, but also about the biblical Fall. In college I read research papers about Milton's Paradise Lost (which is a recurring motif in Free to Fall) and the "fortunate" fall of man, but never have I quite thought about it the way Miller presents it. By choosing to eat the apple - representative of the desire to have all knowledge, like God - Adam and Eve simultaneously used their free will and enslaved themselves with their choice. There is no freedom in knowing everything, having everything chosen for you. There is freedom in the fall. We can't make mistakes if we know what is to come, but then we can't grow, either. I love this message, and I love that it didn't come across as moralizing or cheesy.

Obviously, I highly, highly recommend this book. It's one that will capture your attention and won't let you go until the very last page. I finished it happy for the characters but wishing I could keep reading about them. Lauren Miller's next book can't come soon enough!

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Aliaksandra.
75 reviews27 followers
September 29, 2015
Review in russian: http://www.livelib.ru/review/531766


I don’t even know what to say about this book, guys.
The beginning was really boring and predictable.
The middle part was not really boring but still very predictable.
And the end was
Who wants to read a book where you can predict not even every second, but every third or fourth step?

 photo brdbrt_zpsxxbp5gdm.gif

Definitely not me!
The main character - Rory (Rory, seriously? How could she choose Rory over Aurora? I mean, this is the name of Sleeping Beauty, girl! No comment here!) was so childish, hypocritical and sometimes even stupid.
I consulted the app at least a thousand times a day. What should I wear? Where should I sit? Who should I ask to Sadie Hawkins? Every decision that could possibly matter, and most that probably didn’t.
Two chapters later…
I looked around at my new classmates. Nothing about them screamed gifted. They were just a bunch of sixteen-year-olds on their handhelds.

I’m not even going to describe you this book, cause (frankly speaking) I don’t give a shit about it AT ALL.
The main plotline – don’t care.
The main characters – don’t care.
The main love line – don't care and btw there is no LOVE here.
“I love you way too much to let you walk into that place alone.”
With a sharp pang, I realized this might be my last chance to say it back. Though I was forcing myself to ignore it, I couldn’t shake the awareness of just how dangerous this plan of ours really was. “I love you too,” I said softly.

Yeah-yeah, you LOVE each other. How long do you know each other? For two weeks? How much time do you spend together? 10 minutes a day?
That's definetely love.

 photo yeah_ok_zpslxforuho.gif

I was waiting and waiting (don’t really know for what) for smth meaningful to happen! For smth that will touch me and make me feel smth more than just indifference.
But no
The annotation was so promising though! Secret societies, the whole idea of Lux and future world.
Maybe it was just not my book, idk. But for me…it was just a waste of time.
P.S. Sorry for my English. Maybe this review contains some grammar mistakes. I'm great at speaking (i can easily watch movies and tv series in english) but not so great at writing. Anyway, i hope you enjoyed my review.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
March 31, 2016
What a crazy ride this book took me on.. Part sci-fi, part mystery I had no idea what was going on most times. It started off as a boarding school, secret society book but then it warped into something else. Where humans are so dependent on a decision-making app. There were so many similarities to our world today that I couldn't help but cringe. I liked that the pacing was pretty much perfect and even though it was long, the plot kept me intrigued, I was never bored!
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews841 followers
January 5, 2021
7 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Deborah Harry – Free To Fall
Three Doors Down – The Real Life
Lab's Cloud – Fibonacci Progression

Genre: dystopia, YA
Stuff: smart app, secret society
Fail: HP vibes, teenish stuff
WOW: dystopian standalone is a rare thing
POV: 1st person, female
Love-Geometry: seeming

"I formed them free, and free they must remain till they enthrall themselves."

Fast-paced, unputdownble, believable, suspenseful: that’s how I can describe this book.

I picked it up just to thumb through to know whether I would read it or not in the future. After two chapters I couldn’t stop myself, and in a day the read was over.

This is a standalone dystopian book. Get it? No dragging plot or far-stretched romance, no 142332 books for nothing. The whole story within under one cover! I almost forgot what it's like to read a YA standalone, especially a dystopian one.

You would love “Free to Fall” if you love…

secret societies’ stuff. All these copes, hoods, masks, riddles, oaths, and rites of initiation.

to read about the near future (I mean, 2030-2040). It’s no big deal to make up a far future, you can write anything you please, and it would be acceptable, ‘cause many things can happen for over a century. But try to imagine something feasible about the next decades. Lauren Miller managed to do so. In “Free to Fall” we can see what might come after the Apple epoch.

useful apps. The idea of an app that could be your personal adviser isn’t that new, but I liked Miller’s vision. In “Free to Fall” it’s Lux (no, there’s no Daemon Black), with Lux you don't have to think or bother about your life at all, this app will do it for you. Every decision would be right and great, every step in your life would be taken in the right direction.

smart MCs. The name of our smart girl is Aurora or Rory and she’s 16. At the start of this book, she receives a letter from the most prestigious school in the country and going to move there. At the moment I thought something like, 'Oh, sweet boring thing. New place, new life, new friends, and awesome boys fighting for an average (but secretly special) girl? No, thanks. And I was wrong. Of course, she got a new life with new problems, but it wasn’t predictable (maybe a little) or bad at all. As I said, straight after two chapters I got sucked into the plot.

nice subtle romance. There were a few boys, but calm down, no triangles (I mean actual ones). I liked the male MC, he’s a barista with tattoos and very interesting skills. He’s not a fan of modern gadgets, he’s more like us than people of 2030s-2040s. And relationships between North and Rory aren’t the point of this book.

logic. Everything in this novel makes sense and has explanations. Yes, there were some far-stretched facts (just a few, I promise) but the book is still good.

Hope you’ll like it as much as I did.
Profile Image for Aya.
410 reviews511 followers
May 8, 2016
This book is just an interesting dystopia! BUT WHY TOOOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY!!
 photo 7d3782ece7e35f10855bedd8469d3ab6_zpsl72y8du5.jpg
Will our world be like the one in this novel about 15 years from now?
I can imagine that, but I hope not!!!

“What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness? What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?
What if you never had to fall?”

Yes. Free to Fall is about an app named "Lux.. decision-making app" that controls person's life on its own, not for person's happiness!

The main character here is "Aurora Vaughn " or "Rory". He life is normal until she becomes a student in the "Theden Academy", and joins a secret society named "The Few".
Then she meets "North" who was the opposite of her, he doesn't use Lux. But she begins to fall for him.

Strange things happen in "Theden".. She finds that her mother -who died when she was born- was a student in the academy, but she was expelled from it because of a psychological disorder.

She finds her friend "Beck" changed after using Lux!
“Lux is manipulating him”.
“Of course it is”, North replied. "that's what Lux does. It steers people into the life they think they want -the happiness they think they deserve”
“But this isn't the life Beck wants”, I insisted.

Rory becomes against what Lux does in their life as North.

➼ Aurora .. Who doesn't love this name?!! I found that so strange!
➼ North is a genius! I liked his character. He cares so much about Rory and helps her with almost EVERYTHING!

I really recommend reading this novel, and I wish it will be made into a movie.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
August 27, 2017
Of all the dystopias I've ever read, I'm really surprised to say a standalone that I almost donated has been one of my favorites. I'm surprised Free To Fall didn't get more hype, given how tightly plotted and intriguing it is. So here I am, with yet another "this-was-underrated-now-enjoy-it" review.

I have to say, this isn't necessarily a character-driven book. There are no memorable, can't-get-it-off-your-mind characters. Yes, but man, if this wasn't one of the most exhilarating books I've ever read. I'm not lying when I say I could not put this down. I was desperate to figure out how it would all end. There are so many creative twists and turns, and I was desperate to know how it would all work out.

The worldbuilding all feels believable despite the fact that this dystopia takes place in the future. This world didn't feel 5000 years away: Free To Fall terrified me so much because of how close this world came to being our world. And despite the concept of “technology controlling everyone”, the book didn't feel like a heavy-handed declaration of ~the dangers of technology~.

Free To Fall might not have shined in any other category, but every other aspect of the book was quite solid. I liked the writing - there were actually quite a few standout lines that made me stop and think.

The characters were good as well. While they were not as memorable as some other books I've read, these characters were developed, likable, and fun to read. Rory never comes off as overly pretentious or ~not like other girls~. In fact, this book puts a great emphasis on relationships between women. Hershey, who at first seems like she might become a vehicle for slutshaming, is developed well. I adored seeing her become close friends with Rory.

I'm taking off almost an entire star simply because the romance plot felt quite forced at points. The boy wasn't actively disgusting. But oh man, what a cliche and boring romance. Girl meets a boy who makes her realize how bad her world is? That's never been before. Really, I think the book would've been far stronger without a romance. But of course for a book published in this era, the guy is one of the major marketing ploys.

VERDICT: Aside from a slightly annoying romance plot, this book shines. One of the most unputdownable things I've ever read.
Profile Image for Ezgi Tülü.
414 reviews1,100 followers
May 9, 2017
Aplikasyon’u ilk gördüğümde, arka kapak yazısının tamamını okumamış, sadece “Ya kiminle arkadaşlık edeceğini, hangi şarkıyı dinleyeceğini, kahveni nasıl içmen gerektiğini, kısacası nasıl bir hayat süreceğini söyleyen ve mutluluk garantili bir aplikasyon olsaydı?” cümlesine bakarak kitabı, Yabancı Yayınları’ndan çıkan Parazit’e benzetmiştim. Bu benzerlik de hoşuma gitmediğinden o dönem Aplikasyon’u okumaya başlamadım.

Kitabı yeniden ele almam dün oldu ve bu sefer kitabın tam açıklamasını okudum. Parazit’ten daha farklı olamazdı herhalde. (Ya da belki de olabilirdi, eğer )

Kitaba daha en başından bağlandım. İlk iki bölüm biraz sıkıcı gelmişti; kızın okula kabul edilmesi, en yakın arkadaşıyla çok amaçsız görünen sohbetler, Rory’nin “Lux olmadan yaşamadığı” hakkında yapılan vurgular... Ama üçüncü bölüm, bomba gibi bir giriş oldu.

Çünkü bu bölümde, kitabın ana erkek karakteri North’la tanışıyoruz kdjdgs İşin şakası bir yana, yazarın bu bölümde yaptığı şeyler çok hoşuma gitti. Rory’nin North’la olan o tanışma sahnesi, birçok kitapta olanın aksine, gerçekte de böyle bir şey olabilirmiş gibi hissettirdi. Doğaldı. Ayrıca Okurken, “Aha işte bu çok hoş,” dedirtti kdjdj

Kurgunun ilerleyişi de bayağı hoşuma gitti. Bir genç kızın annesinin eski hazırlık okuluna gitmesinden nasıl dünya çapı bir komplo teorisine gittik, pek bir fikrim yok, ama yazar bunu bayağı aşamalı bir şekilde, insanı rahatsız etmeyen, düzgün bir ilerleyişle anlatmış. Bu tarihten bi 15-20 yıl sonrasını anlatıyor ve o yüzden anlattığı şeyler bize hiç yabancı değil aslında. Gerçekten de yıl 2030 olduğunda öyle şeyler olabilirmiş gibi hissettim kitap boyunca.

Gerçi kitap ilerledikçe ve biz “yeni okula gelen ve yeni insanlarla tanışan genç kız” olayından biraz daha farklı yerlere sürüklendikçe, Rory ve North’un ilişkisi biraz sönük kalmaya başladı. (Haklı olarak sönük kaldı, sonuçta kitapta daha önemli olaylar var.) Fakat ben ikiliden en başta aldığım elektriği alamamaya başladım. Sanki yazar, bir noktada, o ikisine eski önemi vermemeye başlamış gibi. (Ama çok belirgin veya kafaya takılacak bir şeyden bahsetmiyorum. Demek istediğim, biraz arkaplanda kaldılar ya da ben öyle hissettim.)

Ya bir de, sadece bu kitapla alakalı değil ama, ben 15-16 yaşlarındayken bu yaşlardaki gençlerin böyle büyük şeyler başarması hiç tuhaf gelmiyordu ama şu noktada 19 yaşındayım ve artık biraz zorlama geliyor? Yani demek istediğim, ben daha kendimi spora başlamaya ikna edemiyorum ve benden 3-4 yaş küçük birinin dünyayı kurtardığı fikrini kaldıramıyorum galiba djasdkj Böyle hisseden tek kişi ben değilimdir herhalde? (Di mi?)

Sonuç olarak, kurgusunu ve ilerleyişini beğendim, (bunu yukarıda söylemedim ama aslında kitap çok akıcıydı: dün bu saatlerde başladım ve bugün bu saatlerde bitiriyorum sonuçta), karakterler de genel olarak hoştu. Her ne kadar North’tan kitabın başında aldığım elektriği sonunda alamasam da djsdg Kendi türü içerisinde iyiler arasında bence Aplikasyon.

(Üzücü ama eğer ben bunu Parazit’i okuduğum dönem okusaydım kesinlikle Parazit’ten daha çok beğenirdim ve ben Parazit’e 5 puan vermiştim yanılmıyosam kdjdja Neyse artık.)
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
July 17, 2014
I flew through Free to Fall in the space of an afternoon. Its beginning may take awhile to find its footing, but once Miller hits her stride this sophomore novel is a chore to set down. I've always believed that the best dystopians were the ones whose worlds were eerily similar to our own--and that's exactly what Free to Fall is: familiar. Unlike the societies of The Hunger Games or Divergent, Miller has molded a futuristic world much like our own, complete with large technological corporations which dominate the market and apps which dominate our minds. In Rory's present--our future--Lux is the "it" app to own. Using a complex algorithm, it manages to keep users up-to-date on appointments, take control of their time management skills, and help them make decisions such as what to eat, wear, and buy. In other words, Rory's world is devoid of much thought.

But, in a world so similar to our own, it's impossible not to imagine an app like Lux taking hold of citizens and working. We're constantly searching for ways to complete our tasks faster, become more efficient, and rely on technological advances to get our jobs done. Lux, with just a tap of our fingers, gets all that done--and more. It thinks for us. It isn't until Rory joins Theden Academy, an elite two-year "Ivy League"-esque school that her deceased mother attended, that she begins to question her dependency on Lux. North, the cute coffee-shop guy who works just outside the academy boundaries, forces Rory to leave her comfort zone of Lux and figure out for herself what she truly enjoys. Just as North reveals to Rory the marketing scheme that Lux truly is--intentionally showcasing popular brands, not all brands, and using the placebo effect to make users think they like what Lux recommends--Rory herself begins to uncover the truth about her mother's past. Rory's mother left Theden Academy shortly before she could complete her graduation and immediately following Rory's birth, she passed away. Rory and her father have always wondered what led her mother to abandon the school she seemed to love and now, creeping closer to the truth, Rory just may have stumbled upon a conspiracy bigger than anything she could have imagined...

Much like a classic dystopian, Free to Fall presents us with the veneer of a seemingly utopian society, only to reveal a dark underbelly of evil leaders whose control extends over the entire population. Yet, the manner in which Miller narrates her tale is extremely effective. Rory is an endearing heroine, one whose naivety can be slightly eye-roll inducing but whose growth is immediate and believable. What's more, as she uncovers layer after layer of the secrets shrouding her mother's strange dismissal from Theden Academy, she makes, breaks, and sustains a variety of different relationships along the way. What I appreciate most about this novel is not its originality in daring to publish a dystopian so different from the ones we've come to know, but rather in tackling contemporary issues alongside futuristic problems. Despite the grand scheme of issues Rory is up against, she's still just a sixteen-year-old girl and her friendships, relationships with teachers and other students, ties to her family, and bond with North are all still very much a part of her life. In fact, as a normal sixteen-year-old may grow and change from their relationships, Rory does as well only her growth comes alongside a revelation of secrets.

Free to Fall is the type of tale that builds; its momentum gets larger, its issues seem practically impossible, and the secrets seem to finally have come to an end. Only, the ending is still a pleasant shock, surprising readers out of the norm they may have imagined. Its well-paced plot aside, though, the aspect of Free to Fall which surprised me the most was the romance. In the beginning of the novel, shortly after Rory firsts meets North and begins to fall for him, the two have a slight misunderstanding. Yet, once it's solved their relationship is rock solid, one of utter support as Rory grows to trust and count on North's presence by her side. Moreover, his--rather secret--skills only aid Rory in her quest for the truth and the happiness these two find in one another is flawlessly written. I can actually believe that these two, despite being teens, love each other and that in and of itself is nothing short of miraculous.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I expected Free to Fall to be ever-so-slightly more. I'd heard so much about this novel before launching into it and though I fell completely for the corporate mystery this tale wound up becoming, aspects of its felt a little too unreal. Somehow, aspects of this novel rang untrue as the complete control these corporations held over individuals and data felt like a violation of too many of our laws such as freedom of speech and, what's more, Free to Fall is based on the assumption that a monopoly would be ruling our future, which I just can't see being allowed to happen. Thus, there is a certain suspension of belief required throughout this novel and while it's no different from the majority of other tales within the genre, I was unprepared for it. Nonetheless, that being said, Free to Fall is precisely the direction I hope to see dystopias heading in: realistic, standalone, utterly devoid of a love triangle, and able to formulate a meaningful message not only about a fictional futuristic society but today's society as well. If Miller's sophomore novel spells the future for this genre then I am certainly going to be free to fall right back in love with it.
509 reviews2,413 followers
August 1, 2014

"Don't exchange the truth for a lie."

When I started this book, I was expecting a huge amount of flailage, feels and fangirl squealing to come as I read. While that didn't go as planned, Free to Fall still did leave me going "What the fuck is happening?" a load of times throughout the course of the book. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't possibly mark this one as a DNF because I needed to know how it ends!

Free to Fall had its fair share of ups and downs for me. The heroine, Rory, is an example of this all on her own. There were times where I would like to give her a standing ovation, but sometimes I wanted to kick her in the shins, you know? Maybe shove some chopsticks up her nose or something. I'll try to give a few examples:

- A good point: Rory wasn't afraid to use people. She manipulated people to her own advantage. While this is definitely not a desirable quality, it's definitely realistic. She didn't hurt anyone to gain anything, but she might have pretended to be nice in order to get what she wanted.

- A bad point: This girl, apparently, does not like having a social life. Apart from her roommate and her boyfriend, she tries to avoid her other friends. Who are actually pretty nice. I really feel bad for these nice-but-kind-of-creepy girls. If you don't like them, tell them instead of avoiding them.

- A point that is both good and bad: Rory was no clueless little Barbie. She had the brains I wish I had but probably never will. It did get bothersome how she was able to solve all the problems so quickly, but I guess that made her unique. We are all sick of the clumsy, idiotic main characters, right?

The other characters were balanced out. There were a few I couldn't give the smallest crap about, but some who I really wanted to know more about. Rory's parents also had an interesting past, and I was disappointed when their backgrounds were cut a bit short. I would've liked the author to elaborate more on those, since their pasts do play a big part in the story.

"The fool is destined to repeat history. The wise man has the wit to avoid it."

The actual plot had a lot going on. It might have come off as a bit too extravagant at times, but I was really curious about everything that was happening. The whole thing with Lux, Thaden Academy and whatever other creepy stuff happened--I wanted to know everything. I guess the thriller aspect is what kept me from putting this book down and giving up on it.

While I would love to praise the plot some more, it will eventually branch out to one of the minor plots: the romance. I could not stand this romance. North, the love interest, came off (to me, at least) as a creep. On the FIRST DAY THEY MET, he downloaded Rory's personal profile and record. Does this not scream stalker to you guys? Because honestly:

Lauren's writing style was easy to read. I found myself flipping pages and reading smoothly. I wasn't really able to connect with Rory all that much, but I did get a sense of character and how she thought. Bonus points because this book has a lot of quotable quotes, too!

Okay, I need to dedicate a paragraph to the ending. I'm not sure if I was shocked with all the revelations or not. I think I would have been, if Rory didn't discover them so quickly on her own. She discovered secret after secret so rapidly that I didn't have a lot of time to process what the hell was going on sometimes. This one ended in a mind-fuck-y manner, but again, I wasn't very affected by this one.

If you want to be creeped out by a realistically possible future, you might want to check this out. When I start imagine how this could actually happen to us some day--*shudders*. I don't even want to think about it.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Kseniia.
95 reviews12 followers
August 15, 2014
Что, если бы существовало приложение, указывающее тебе, какие песни слушать, какое кофе заказывать, с кем встречаться, даже что тебе делать со своей жизнью – приложение, обеспечивающее тебе полное счастье? Что, если бы тебе никогда не доводилось терпеть провалы или делать неправильный выбор? Что, если бы ты никогда не ошибался?

О, Боже. Мне не верится, что я прочитала ее. Я заприметила эту книгу, когда увидела к ней трейлер. Который мне очень понравился. Потом позже вышла книга, и я не удержалась. Несмотря на то, что она мне тяжело пошла, я все же рада, что прочитала ее.

История рассказывает о 16-летней девушке Рори Вон, которая не думает, ничего не решает, а полагается лишь на Люкса. Как и... практически все человечество? Лишь единицы не слушают Люкс. Они слушают голос. Голос, который под запретом. Голос, который является болезнью.

Рори принимают в Академию Теден, в которой начинается все самое интересное.

Сначала я не могла понять, в чем фишка академии. Да, элитная школа, элитные, вроде бы умные ученики, после окончания тебе гарантировано рабочее место. Но как-то все скучно, что ли. Но прочитав половину книги я просто обомлела из-за того, что узнала. С каждой главой одна тайна раскрывалась, и я была еще больше шокирована. Правда, пару моментов угадать, конечно же, можно, но я, видимо, тугодум, раз не догадалась сразу)

Отдельно за персонажей.

Рори. Я не знаю, люблю ли такой тип персонажей, но она определенно мне нравится. Смышленая, умная, обожает загадки и засыпает, считая последовательность Фибоначчи? Как такой персонаж может не понравится математику? :)

Херши. О, это имя. Знаете, в Англии есть шоколадные батончики, которые называются Херши. У меня эта девчонка никоим образом не ассоциируется с шоколадом. Она, скорее, как ядреный перец такой :D Бой баба, ничего не скажешь)

Норт просто милаш. Оооочень умный и хитрый милаш. Мне в нем очень понравилось то, что он любит все старое. Под старым имеется ввиду литература 2013 года и ранее. И компьютеры. И как он относится к Николасу Кейджу:

- Ты не знаешь, кто такой Николас Кейдж? - спросил Норт недоверчиво. - Тебе срочно необходимо посмотреть "Сокровище нации".

Книга понравится любителям дистопии и научной фантастики - ее там предостаточно.

Молодец, Зета. 5 из 5.
Profile Image for Allison.
402 reviews80 followers
December 31, 2014
You know how in Harry Potter J.K. Rowling gives you all of that extra time with Harry, Ron, and Hermione where they're just walking around, talking, and doing normal things? She gives you the opportunity to REALLY get to know her characters so much that you feel like they're close friends or family members? Everything they do makes sense because they're your pals. Why did Harry do that? Because he's Harry and that's what he does!

This book is the opposite of that.

While reading it, I was vaguely aware that it was a great idea for a story. That's what kept me reading- the book is pretty long. But it was like I was a new kid at school, hanging out with a group of friends that has known each other for years, and someone is telling a "hilarious" story about something that one of them did. I'm vaguely aware that it's entertaining, but since I don't know anyone, I'm pretty much just smiling and laughing because I know I'm supposed to- not because I genuinely get it.

That's the issue with this book- it's solely story driven. It's not relationship driven. AT ALL. There were plenty of times were I sat there WTF-ing because a major relationship plot point came out of nowhere.

The relationship between North and Rory is the most bland, underdeveloped one I've ever read about. That's saying something because I've read a lot of books. There was zero reason for North to love Rory other than his skills were crucial to the plot. There was no reason to trust the roommate, Hershey, really, but Rory and North did.

This book was generally entertaining, but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was like watching a really exciting episode of show you've never seen before in it's 9th season. So much has had to happen to get to that point, but I didn't see any of it so I'm confused as to why it's all going down like this.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,666 reviews1,231 followers
May 5, 2016
This is why reading among your backlist is so awesome. You never know what gems are hidden among your shelves! I thought I was done with dystopian novels, but I think that mostly applies to dystopian stories with a post-apocalyptic skew. Or, at the very least, that I'm still a fan of dystopian novels that read like thrillers with conspiracy theory plots.

Also, the ones that I like best are those that seem like they could really come to pass. People glued to their handheld devices? Check. Connectedness versus connection? Check. Powerful men wanting to play God? Always. Imagine that Apple decided to make all of our lives simpler by creating an app that makes our decisions for us, and you have the basic premise of this book. And you can also see how that company could become corrupt in a matter of no time, with such power.

I liked every twist and turn of this story, from "the Doubt" and its purpose to the mohawked boy who avoided all current technology in favor of dinosaurs from a by-gone era to the prestigious Theden Academy that the MC attends. As each thread unraveled, I was drawn further into the story, and just when I thought I had everything figured out, it all came crashing down.

Stories featuring tech like this that governs our daily lives always intrigue me. And while a decision-making app does sound appealing to some extent, I could never freely hand over my decision to remain free to fall.
Profile Image for Debby.
589 reviews538 followers
Want to read
August 7, 2014


Another great sci-chic idea! *grabby hands* I want you in my life, book.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
538 reviews658 followers
May 25, 2018
2.75/5 stars*

Great idea behing the story, but didn't work for me. The beginning was way too slow, the second half, on the other hand, was way too fast. While I did like the twists, I guessed most of them in the first half already, except for maybe one. I felt like for a sci-fi book, it didn't have enough of world building. And the book overall was basically only plot centered. One of the reasons for that is the fact that it's only a standalone. The storyline would've worked better in a duology. Because then we could get to know and understand the characters better, as well as the relatiosnhips. But as this book focused mainly on the plot, I was left disconnected from all the character. I did like the love interest, but I coul've loved him if there was enough of attention on his developin romance with Rory. There wasn't. Their love came out of nowhere and I didn't really see why did he had feelings for her in the first place, becaue there wasn't enough attention paid to developing anything but the mystery aspect of the book. The female frindship is a term I use very loosely here, as it was crap. The MC, Aurora was way too naive, stupid and contradictory. She wasn't always the worst though and as the story progressed she did show that she had her priorities streight, most of the time. Still, I wasn't a fan of her and she was especially unlikeable at the beginning.

I would've liked this one way more if it was a duology. This was a solely plot centered book, and as I'm a character focused reader through and through, this one didn't work for me.
Profile Image for Irene Sim.
743 reviews83 followers
June 15, 2017
Though I read this book in two days, I think there's something missing to make it perfect and totally memorable. And that something is the lack of character development. The plot is brilliantly thought out in large and detail scale (to make it believable) but the characters are shallow and I didn’t manage to be related to them. At least not the way Susan Collins made me for Katniss or Veronica Roth for Tris.
I believe that Lauren Miller is an excellent writer who totally knows how to tell a story and I can’t wait to start on her first novel “Parallel”.
26 reviews5 followers
February 4, 2014
OMG OMG OMG OMG. This book was craaaaaaazy!
I had so many theories and I thought I predicted what was gonna happen and then another twist happened, and then another, and then another.
I need the second book, ASAP
Definitely one of the best books this 2014! Bravo, Ms. Lauren Miller!
Profile Image for Rigel.
293 reviews
May 27, 2021
Oh boy… this book. Granted I did like it more/had less problems with it than The Program (a.k.a. my rage book), I still hated it. So, this is how this review is going to go:
1. The major issues I had with this book and its narrative (when I say major issues, I mean MAJOR ISSUES… like, dare I say, problematic aspects of this book).
2. Because it’s me, the deplorable excuse for science/neuroscience that Lauren Miller apparently didn’t find the need to take five minutes to google-check the concepts she was using.
3. The little things that just kind of twisted the knife of annoyance
You may be saying: “Wait a second, she isn’t going to be talking about anything that the book did right.” And to that I say: “The things that the book did right? Nothing, IN MY OPINION. The thing that Lauren Miller did right, though, was write in a style that jives with my personal tastes. She didn’t beat around the bush to say something, she just said it outright. WHICH I LIKE, because, I don’t have time or the patience to suss out all of those little details and symbolisms just to get to the point that (for example) it’s a beautiful day.” There. Positive point. Hey, I didn’t rate it one star because it had a lot of positives.
So, let’s get started, shall we? (Shout-out to Corrine and Rob because damn, they’ve had a tough year.)
Issue #1: This is the biggest issue I had with this book. It has nothing to do with the plot or the characters or anything like that, but it’s what bothers me the most. What is it, you may ask? Well, it’s the simple fact that everyone in this book (and I have to assume Lauren Miller too) refers to the mentally ill as “crazy”. If you don’t understand my issue with this, let me explain. Calling someone who is mentally ill “crazy” is equivalent to calling a black person a “nigger” or calling a gay person a “faggot”. The word crazy is used as a slur to put someone beneath you, to make them less believable or trustworthy… to dehumanize them. It’s derogatory and offensive. It’s time that we stop using that word when talking about mental illness. It’s 2019 (2014 in the book’s case). Unacceptable.
So, when do we see the mentally ill referred to as crazy in Free to Fall? Throughout the entire book pretty much. It’s just said over and over and over again. But the worst instance? Here it is as a direct quote from page 127 (Oh, and mind you, the character saying this is a psychologist teaching a cognitive psychology class. Let that sink in.):

“You’ve all been given limited access to the Department of Public Health’s medical records database,” Rudd said as he returned to the front of the room.
(*record scratch* Wait a second, high school students having access to medical files? Absolutely not. Would never happen. You usually can’t even get your hands on medical records unless you’re the patient’s doctor. So that’s a technical issue with this book… one of many. Again, five minutes on Google, Lauren. Okay, back to the whole “crazy” thing.)
“Your login has been coded to the research topic you selected, allowing you to review the med records for patients who suffered from the mental illness you’re studying.” He picked up his tablet off his desk and tapped the DPH icon. The app launched on the screen at the front of the room. “Now, I know what some of you are thinking,” he deadpanned as he logged himself in. “You’re hoping this means you’ll be able to prove once and for all that your frenemy in a certified nut job. But, alas, your access is limited to dead crazies, and this particular database is anonymous anyway, which means the only identifying information you’ll have are gender, ethnic origin, and birth and death dates.”

That’s right. Lauren Miller had this character say, “dead crazies”. Dead. Crazies. I don’t think there are any words to describe how disgusted and offended (and it’s VERY hard to offend me) I am by those two words. At this point, page 137 out of page 469, I decided this book would get a 1 star and a damning review.
“Oh, you’re being so petty.” Yeah bitch, I sure fucking am.
“It’s just a word.” No bitch, it fucking ain’t.
“You shouldn’t read books that say things like that.” Well bitch, I didn’t know books written in 2014 would use derogatory words like crazy. And I’d rather it be me who reads it and warns people about it than have someone who is vulnerable read it and take it seriously.
I am a huge advocate for mental illness and destigmatizing it. It’s time we stop using this disgusting derogatory word when talking about mental illness. And a good place to start is right here in the media.

Issue #2: Rory and North are preparing to roofie someone. That’s right. Roofie. As in drug them against their will. Assault them. Violate them. And to make it worse, they’re planning to administer it intravenously, because the whole assault thing wasn’t despicable enough. BUT DON’T WORRY YOU GUYS! North says he’ll get some legal drugs from a pharmacist because that makes it okay.
He objects for 0.5 seconds… but it doesn’t last. Here’s how the conversation goes:

“The only question is, how do we take Liam out of commission for a couple of hours?” North asked.
“We roofie him” I say without hesitation. “It’ll incapacitate him without killing him, and it’ll screw with his memories.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll just grab the bottle of date-rape pills I have in my medicine cabinet.”
“Not pills,” I corrected. “Has to be injectable. There’s no way we can guarantee that he’ll drink whatever we put it in.”
North gave me an incredulous look. “You’re actually serious?”
“What? It’s what the society uses. And it’ll do exactly what we need it to do.
North tugged at this Mohawk. “I know we don’t have time to get into this right now, but, holy crap, Rory, this shit is seriously messed up.”
“You’re right. Not the time. We have to go buy roofies.”
“Where, at Walgreens? I’m sure we’ll find them right next to the Advil.”
I crossed my arms, irritated by the sarcasm. “You’re a guy with a Mohawk and tattoos. Don’t you know people?”
“People with Rohypnol?”
“So, you don’t know anyone who can get it?”
He started to shake his head but seemed to think of something. “One of my clients is a pharmacist in Greenfield. I could probably get a prescription sleeping serum from him. Something potent but legal. I can message him from my apartment.”

North said it, this is so messed up… but is surpasses the “messed up” title and deserves the “fucked up” title. By the way, they never talk about it again. Getting “legal” drugs does not make the act of drugging someone okay. Ever. And on top of that Rory wants someone that will mess with Liam’s memories? I guess assaulting him and revoking his control over his own body wasn’t evil enough for Rory, she had to fuck with the essence of who he is.
Moving on to the… “science”. Listen, I get it, this is fiction. It doesn’t have to be 100% in line with reality. But do you know what isn’t fiction? Neuroscience. Science that has already been researched and accepted. Why does this matter so much to me? I hate misinformation. It leads to fear and people doing stupid shit. Also, I am an aspiring neuroscientist myself and would like for people to understand how the brain works on a physiological (and psychological) level. That way there will be less of that “vaccines cause autism” and “sunscreen causes ADHD” crap, because they don’t, by the way.
Lauren Miller latches onto the term “synaptic pruning”. This is a real thing. During your first few months of life, unused/rarely used neurons will die (don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and an essential step in neurodevelopment). How does Lauren Miller incorporate this into her story?

“Now we knew that the inner voice was nothing more than a glitch in the brain’s circuitry, something to do with ‘synaptic pruning’ and the development of the frontal lobe.” (p.13)

My response went something like this: NoOOoooOOOOoOo! It’s only page 13 and I’m being subjected to poorly researched scienceeeeeeEEEeEEEeeee.
It would have taken five minutes on Google to look up: Which areas of the brain have to do with hearing voices? Answer: temporal and frontal lobes. Done. Next: why do people hear voices? Answer: potentially neuronal death in said brain regions (not synaptic pruning, very different concepts). Why? We don’t know yet. Anyway, the voice they are talking about here is “The Doubt” which is basically intuition so that would most likely relate to the hippocampus (and other memory-storing regions) and the prefrontal cortex. But then again, “The Doubt” is supposed to be altruism… but it’s written as intuition, so I’m just confused.
**Okay so I've just found out that "The Doubt" was supposed to be a god's voice in your head. If you hear a voice in your head that narrates your thoughts that's just you thinking??? Does Lauren Miller not know that most people have a voice in their head that narrates their thoughts??)**
Next in bad (neuro)science, Lauren Miller claims that enzymes for memories (this relates back to the whole roofie scene where Rory wants to mess with Liam’s memories too). Basically, neurotransmitters are responsible for memories, namely glutamate and dopamine. I’ll be talking about glutamate here because dopamine forms the “do that again because it made us feel good” kind of memory, and glutamate forms the kind of memory Lauren Miller is referring to. You need to glutamate for LTP (basically a memory) which, in short, is strengthening the connection between two neurons. If you’ve ever heard the term “Neurons that fire together wire together.”, that’s exactly what I’m talking about here. So, no, enzymes do not form memories. (P.S. LTP is really interesting... if you’re interested in brains, so check it out!)
Onto “SynOx” (synthetic oxytocin) which is really, from what I understand, simulates oxytocin but activating oxytocin receptors on neurons (Lauren Miller doesn’t go into this much detail on how SynOx works, but I’m just trying to understand by talking through it so bear with me). First of all, Lauren Miller describes oxytocin as the “love drug” which isn’t exactly true… it’s more of a bonding “drug”. Love is a little but more complicated than oxytocin release. Not that big of a deal, but I thought I’d point it out.
Unfortunately, SynOx has a major role in the plot… and it doesn’t… work. Basically, the big bad corporation is relying on SynOx to make consumers trust their products unconditionally by injecting people with SynOx nanobots under the guise of a flu shot. That way the nanobots can get into their brains and they can be forced to trust everything Lux suggests. Essential mass mind control. Theoretically that could actually work… BUT the nanobots would never be able to cross the blood-brain barrier to actually get into the brain, and therefor wouldn’t be there to allow Gnosis to control people. Did that make sense? Basically, SynOx is the soldier, the brain is enemy headquarters. But enemy headquarters is so highly reinforced that the soldier can’t get in to do its job, so it’s left out in the cold with no power. Maybe I just confused you, but what I’m saying is that this SynOx would never work as a mind control device unless it is injected directly into the brain (or even spinal cord)… through the skull and everything. That being said, the evil plot would have failed form the get-go. And yes, I do hate being this rational sometimes because suspension of disbelief is very difficult and makes it very hard for me to enjoy some works of fiction.
Now the little things.
In the synopsis: “Rory Vaugh: a brainy sixteen-year-old…”. She’s also a “hepta” which means she shows aptitude in all seven liberal arts at Theden and makes her the smartest kid at school. Well, she sure doesn’t act it.

i. She can’t tell the difference between Arabic and Hebrew writing. I mean… are you serious? Have you seen them? They look nothing alike.
ii. Doesn’t see the value of experiments in ethics such as the Trolley Problem. I mean, one of the liberal arts is philosophy and she’s supposed to be naturally gifted at it… but I guess not.
iii. Proudly states she took human anatomy in grade nine (and considers herself an expert from that one class in middle school)… but doesn’t know how ABO relates to blood. I guess she forgot the mention she failed the class.
iv. Also seems to consider herself an expert in genetics but never thinks to ask herself as to why she and her father share zero genetic traits.
v. She can’t figure out a simple riddle (You know that one about the letter e? Yeah that one)
vi. It takes her forever to figure out who her biological father is (should be glaringly obvious from a certain physical description and all the other evidence Rory gathers)
vii. Doesn’t know what a USB is or what it does (Oh, I’ll get to that in a minute)
There’s so much more… but the review would have to be a whole book if I were to list them all. Basically, if you’re going to call your character a genius, MAKE SURE THEY ACT LIKE ONE.
It seems that Lauren Miller forgot Rory’s blood type (little detail, I know), but instead of going back to look at what she wrote, she just gives her a new blood type. Rory goes from being A+ at p .226 to being AB+ at p. 237/238. That’s just lazy.
When Rory finds out the man that raised her and loved her doesn’t share her genetics, all of a sudden, he’s no longer her dad. Imagine being a vulnerable teenager who is being raised and loved by someone who may not be biologically related to you and reading that a character you may look up to goes through the same thing and says that that makes that parent’s love irrelevant. They aren’t related to you, so they’re not your dad/mum. How sad.
Now, the USB thing. This book is set in the mid-2030s and they don’t use USBs anymore. Basically, they’re obsolete technology. And that’s fine! There will come a day when this is a reality. Here’s the thing, though: Rory the “genius” doesn’t know what it is or what it does. You expect me to believe that? When I see a floppy disk (which I have never used), I know what it is and how it works. Even a telegraph! I’ve only ever seen pictures of telegraphs, but I know what they are and what they do.
Page 229. North says (in response to Rory talking about research and science):

“Whose research are we talking about here?” He scoffed. “’Science’ with a capital S? The same geniuses who said the Earth was the center of the universe?”

Um… the church actually said that. And then they murdered anyone who dared to say otherwise. Wrong “geniuses”, genius. (Also, scientists rethink their beliefs all the time, and are more than willing to accept discoveries that overwrite their previous beliefs as long as there is evidence. Just saying.)
Rory goes from relying solely on Lux to make her decision to criticizing everyone who does the exact same thing within a few pages. Hypocrisy, not my favourite.
Hershey is described as a naturally beautiful woman who wears makeup to highlight that beauty… but the tone of the narration suggests that that’s a bad thing? Gross.
When they are preparing for the final boss fight, Rory wants North to write an algorithm that will reverse Lux’s algorithm. North says that it would take weeks for a professional programmer to write an algorithm like that… than proceeds to do it overnight. And manages to get some roofies to assault Liam.
North gifts Rory with a necklace that contains a tracking device and a camera… and she thinks that��s romantic and sweet because hE cArEs. I… have no words for how creepy (and honestly bordering on abusive) that is.

So, in conclusion, I feel that Lauren Miller wrote an offensive mess that didn’t know what the hell it was talking about, topped with despicable (and flat) characters that think drugging someone against their will is okay as long as the drug you use is legal.
The end! 😊
Profile Image for Tina.
142 reviews7 followers
July 22, 2014
So, I might usually not write rants or enjoy tearing a book apart. Except if it deserves it. And ‘Free To Fall’ is basically begging for it. So here goes.

‘Free to Fall’ is a dystopian novel set in the near future. People’s lives are dominated by technology, the usual blah blah, and recently a decision-making app has emerged. Enter our MC who gets accepted into a prestigious college prep school and falls in love with a boy who makes her question her lifestyle. From that point on, it’s all about how he solves her mystery. Somewhere there was supposed to be a climax, but a dozen miracles later they are still alive and we get a gag-worthy ending.

Thing is, there’s so much wrong with this novel, I actually made a list:

First, the entire concept of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not supportive of an app that makes all your decisions for you and our reliance on technology is in fact a bit worrisome, but I disapprove of the opinion that technology is the devil. It is a great help in some situations, eg for reminders, calendars, and social messaging just to name a few. I know many people doom social messaging, but just to give you one example how it does mor good than bad: Studying abroad, the only way I could have communicated with my family and friends from home would have been by letters. But thanks to software such as skype and facebook, I had their encouragement and comfort whenever I needed it. Also, I’m pretty sure that my quality of life is no worse if I use google maps instead of a paper map. However, the author seems to have a different opinion. In one scene she criticized how the MC’s handled has been informing her about travel times, which way to go and how long it would take her. I thought that’s a bit much, I mean, seriously, what’s so bad about having an app that helps you orientate yourself? Jeez.

Second, apparently there had been a movement in this future against something called the Doubt, which seems to be a kind of inner voice, but not an instinct or a gut-feeling, but like a voice of God. And people have stopped listening to this mystery voice because… Well, just because. So first, I would like to criticize here that you can’t just put a term as ‘the Doubt’ out there and then not clarify what it is. Half the book I’ve spent wondering what the hell the author was referring to. Not okay. Second, the Doubt is portrayed in this book as the opposite of rationalism – with rationalism as ‘the bad’, obviously. In one scene, Eve is dubbed as ‘sinful’ for choosing curiosity over faith. Now, I guess that’s a question of religion, but personally, I don’t see curiosity as immoral at all. What on earth is sinful in wanting to explore the world around you? This god-worshipping aspect of the book was really annoying me, even though I don’t think that science is the be-all and end-all. I just don’t appreciate the way it’s portrayed in this book as destroying human’s virtues. Knowledge doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with it.

Sadly, this novel features another Bella-Swan-like MC. Meaning a girl who has to be led by the hand by her boyfriend, is constantly close to tears and completely useless otherwise. Apart from him, she doesn’t have any friends, or actually, prefers not to hang out with them, and even starts skipping school to be with him. Obviously, the whole thing results in a my-boyfriend-is-my-only-friend-and-savior-of-all scenario. She’s incapable of making good decision without her bf, she completely neglects the rest of her life (such as friends, school etc) after falling in love with him, and basically acts like they’re a married couple after just a few days of dating. To make matters worse, she seems to accept declarations like this like it’s the most normal thing in the world.

“Your necklace,” he said, nodding at the dove. “I put a tracking device inside it. And a camera.” He managed a smile. “I didn’t want you doing anything crazy without my knowing about it.”


But if you thought he’s the only one in this couple whose completely unlikable, think again. This is a quote from her, after she decided she’d like to buy roofies (don’t ask) and he told her he wouldn’t know where to get them:

I crossed my arms, irritated by the sarcasm. “You’re a guy with a Mohawk and tattoos. Don’t you know people?”

Like, how prejudiced is that?? Does that mean all people with tattoos and a Mohawk are users?? Honestly, you just should have stuck with the tears, bitch.

So much for a great YA heroine.

Next, let me get one thing straight: there’d be no plot at all if it weren’t for at least a thousand miracles which just pop out of nowhere. The entire story line consists of convenient circumstance which just happened to fall into the MC’s lap. Starting with her cyber criminal, bad-ass hacker boyfriend. Her contribution to solving the mystery is exactly zero point zero. But, how convenient that he just happened to fall in love with her. This trend follows through the entire novel, even with small things, such as her needing to get someone on their own, and their roommate just happens to be at a funeral that day. Or, she decides she needs to get out of some creepy ritual situation and there just happens to be a kid eating peanuts. How convenient, given that she’s allergic to peanuts. Another critical situation was solved by sheer luck – the MC searched for a way out, she starts running and she trips, and bang, there’s a latch. How convenient that she started running in just that moment in just that direction. I don’t even wanna start the list of times her boyfriend just happens to manage to hack some code or find some encrypted files for her. Not to mention the ending. Humanity just happens to need a mass MRI, and boom, there it is. At precisely the right moment. The entire plot is nothing but a blown up deus ex machina situation.

So as you can see, I could probably go on forever with the issues of this book but for the sake of my readership, I think I can say I’ve made my point and leave it at that. ‘Free to Fall’ is one of the most sappy, unrealistic pieces of shit I’ve ever read. Trust me when I say, the amount of nerves this will cost you is not worth reading it.
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,214 reviews11.7k followers
February 1, 2018
I honestly wouldn't have had this book on my radar, were it not for my friend Andi. I'm so glad that I read it on her recommendation! I ended up really enjoying this story. FREE TO FALL is a bit of mystery, a bit of contemporary boarding school story, and a bit of science fiction - and the combo really worked for me. It was well-paced, the setting and the mystery were set up pretty well and I thought it ended on a satisfying note. My one little reservation is that I personally couldn't really feel for the characters, so it fell a teensy bit flat for me there. But still, very solid read and I would recommend looking it up if you're interested!
Profile Image for Anorielt.
448 reviews45 followers
February 11, 2015
Zuerst einmal, wer denkt das hier sei ein typisches Fantasy Academy Buch, der irrt sich gewaltig. Keine Fantasy und absolut kein typisches Academy Buch. Am Anfang ist das Buch interessant, danach hat es einen kleinen Hänger - wirklich nur klein - und danach wirds von Seite zu Seite spannender. Ich konnte das Buch nach dem kleinen Hänger echt nicht mehr aus der Hand legen, sondern hab stur durchgelesen, weswegen ich jetzt auch Kopfschmerzen habe, aber das war es mir wert.
Profile Image for Alucard.
5 reviews
July 13, 2019
Reading Slump döneminde olmama rağmen kendisini bana okuttu. Konusu aslında başarılı. Fazla uzatıldığını düşünüyorum.
Profile Image for Book Madness (Elif Tazegül).
269 reviews45 followers
November 28, 2019
Karşınızda geleceğin en olası senaryolarından biri. Lux denilen akıllı mı akıllı bir cihaz. Hiçbir şey düşünmenize gerek yok. Sizin yerinize her şeye o karar verebilir.
Neyi seversiniz, neyi satın almalısınız.. Her şeye.
Rory tam adıyla Ayrora Theden Akademisi’ne girebilmek için çok çabalar. Theden Akademisi elit öğrencilerin okuduğu bir okuldur ve girmesi çok zordur. Bu okula girerek hayallerinin peşinden koşan Rory yeni oda arkadaşıyla iyi anlaşır. Kahve dükkanında gördüğü bir çocuktan hoşlanır. Kısacası normal bir 16 yaşındaki genç kız gibidir. Ama başına gelmeyen kalmaz.
Okul sırlarla doludur ve çözülmesi gerekmektedir. Rory de çok öyle Lux’ın söylediklerini dinlemeyi sevmez. Başına buyruktur. Bu başına çok bela açacaktır.
Kitaba bilimkurgu hevesiyle başladım. Ortalarına doğru ergen romantizmine kaydı ve biraz durgunlaştı. Sonuna doğru tempo kazandı ama sonu çok şaşırtıcı olmadı. Benim için ortalama bir kitaptı.
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