Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ready to Fall” as Want to Read:
Ready to Fall
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ready to Fall

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  54 reviews
When Max Friedman's mother dies of cancer, instead of facing his loss, Max imagines that her tumor has taken up residence in his head. It's a terrible tenant--isolating him from family, distracting him in school, and taunting him mercilessly about his manhood. With the tumor in charge, Max implodes, slipping farther and farther away from reality. Max is sent to the artsy, ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 28th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ready to Fall, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ready to Fall

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  226 ratings  ·  54 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nikki (Book Allure)
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
I received an Advanced Reader's Copy in exchange for an honest review.

When you’re done, bury me next to her so I don’t have to be alone

It took me a while before writing this review because admittedly I didn’t know how to write it. Ready to Fall is a narrative that deals with grief in a way I have never seen before. There is something about the writing that makes the emotion feel so raw. There were times I had to put down the book and call it a day because I couldn’t handle reading it due to it
Suze Lavender
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max's mother has lost her battle with cancer. Max doesn't know how to deal with life without his mom and imagines her tumor has taken residence inside his head. This makes it impossible for him to concentrate. The tumor is mean and is constantly taunting him. Living with this secret makes it difficult for Max to trust his family and friends and he distances himself from everyone around him. Max's father doesn't know what's going on with his son, but he acknowledges something has to be done to ge ...more
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've wanted to try Marcella Pixley's books for a while now. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to read and review Ready to Fall, her latest addition to YA contemporary, I instantly said yes. I loved the title, I loved the cover, and the premise sounded intriguing albeit heartbreaking.

The Result? Ready to Fall is amazing - one of my favorite YA contemporaries of the year. It's gorgeously written, captivating, and poignant.

I'll be up front: Ready to Fall is not an easy read by any means. It's
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max starts his sophomore year after his mother died of cancer in the summer, filling his sketchbook with drawings of corpses and eyeballs.  He slowly flunks out of honors classes, completely disengaged from just about everything. What he’s engaged with instead is a conversation with the tumor in his own head which he believes switched residence from his mom’s brain to his own.  This commentary, though, has humor, which makes it seem that Max may recover.  But then he switches schools to a privat ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was one of my favorites of 2017. Ending the year on a high note!
I felt connected (if only vaguely) to almost all of Max's circumstances.
I'm a Christian who has celebrated Jewish holidays with my best friend (who is Messianic Jewish) almost all my life. It's a huge part of my life.
I've been immersed in the arts since as long as I can remember (especially drawing, writing, and theater). They are a part of who I am (I've thought of pursuing every one as a career).
And I have known the tra
Deborah Maroulis
I'm finished with Ready to Fall: I love the way Marcella Pixley executes such a complex range of emotions through the medium of survivor's guilt. The teacher in me LOVES that she makes classic literature relevant to the problems today's teens are facing. In fact, I really want to create a unit around this novel. The emotionally charged prose will will leave you haunted.
Samantha (WLABB)
This was another of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, and I when I looked back at the all the reasons for why I wanted to read this book, I have to admit, I would highlight all those things as "pros", because they are some of the elements I really liked, but there were additional things that made this a great reading experience for me as well.

•Pro: The way Pixley handled Max's grief was so real, yet so odd. He exhibited all the common symptoms - withdrawal, weight loss, anger - but his grief also t
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Shhh, says the tumor, twirling his impossible fingers through the cracks in my brain. Don't tell a soul."

Max Friedman's Mom has died of cancer.
Instead of normal ways of grieving, Max takes in the tumor for himself.
Now Max is convinced he has brain cancer.

This tumor humiliates him, isolates him from relationships, and conceals his grief from anyone.

But then, after Max transfers to a new school, something smaller, artsy, and almost made for him, things become different. There are fancy dramatic
I was immediately pulled in by the synopsis of this book. I knew it wasn’t going to be a particularly easy book to read because of its subject matter. I thought this book was an incredibly emotional read, but it was so compelling at the same time.

In Ready To Fall we are introduced to Max who is in a bad way after losing his mother to cancer. He’s not doing well at school, distancing himself from everyone and is also utterly convinced that his mother’s tumour has transferred over to his brain. Th
After high school sophomore Max Friedman loses his mother to cancer, he becomes convinced that her tumor has moved into his own brain. Things go poorly for the boy as his tumor speaks to him, often belittling him and leaving him confused. When he transfers to Baldwin School, he is taken up by a group of thespians who are producing a steam-punk version of Hamlet. Despite all his challenges and the grief and delusions that have a firm grasp on him, Max falls hard for Fish, a creative spirit whose ...more
Melissa Fleischman
This is a fantastic read with a lot of HEART. Marcella Pixley is a talented writer who not only "gets" adolescents, but also understands grief, mental illness, and the sweetness of humanity. Even though I am a 41 year old woman, I felt like I could emotionally relate to the main character Max, who is a 16 year old boy - I think that this is because Marcella captures the inner workings of his mind so beautifully as he grapples with the death of his mother, insecurity, and the struggle to connect ...more
Strong intense and slightly off-beat.

Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely amazing. At first I was disturbed by things he thought but later I understood. I was brought to tears even at parts that weren't sad. The emotion was so raw and real I felt I could touch it through the pages. I've never read a book that made me so sad but happy at the same time. Just amazing to me.❤ ...more
Shaz Goodwin
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When you’re in those early stages of grief, you’re not thinking rationally are you … things that make sense to you seem totally bizarre to others. Max thinks that as he is saying his goodbye to his mum while she lies in her open casket that her tumour has transferred to him. It is the only thing he has left of her. Unable to grieve, there’s a change in his behaviours and as he starts to fail at school, family friend Lydie suggests creative Baldwin school.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, mental-illness
This book was good. I liked that the main character is male because that only seems to happen these days in dual POV books, so that was refreshing.

The beginning was heartbreaking and I genuinely felt Max's pain and I felt so sorry for him. I think what I most felt sorry for was that the adults in his life didn't get him help. It was very, very evident that he wasn't coping with his mother's death and instead of taking him to therapy, he transferred to another school. It worked out in this situa
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has taken me an abnormally long time to get around to renewing this sucker, mostly because I haven't had Wi-Fi for a week and have been insanely busy with settling into a new job. Because of this, and the two-day delay in my review, I might have some trouble recalling details about this book. Please bear with me if my thoughts are a bit scattered; tis' the life of a traveling librarian! Though parts of this book felt contrived and needlessly quirky, I still found myself enjoying the message a ...more
Esther Ehrlich
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book's a beauty! Deeply moving, evocative, quirky, it captures the pain in life but especially the love. The characters are nuanced and were so easy for me to care about. And the writing? Gorgeous!
This book was neither here nor there. I think the love I had for Max and his family evenly balanced the dislike I had for his special snowflake group of friends who got on my nerves to an extreme degree. That makes it a three.
Mary Clare
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review!

When Max's mother dies in the summer before his Sophomore year of high school, Max becomes convinced that the tumor that killed her has taken up residence in his own brain and it is a terrible tenant. Trouble in his school leads him to switch to a local artsy private school while he struggles against his own mind, works his way through grief, makes new friends, and has to redefine his relationships with his remaining family members.

Max is a really great character. He is well develop
A. Kuhlii
Pros: strong writing, realistic portrayal of terminal illness and grief, complex and appealing family characters (grandmother, Max's parents), male character being vulnerable and trying to achieve emotional health.

Cons: full of the absolute worst cliches of YA. A Manic Pixie Dream Girl, sporting pink hair, relentless cheer and whimsical physical movements, existing to share her pain, and a romantic relationship, with the protagonist. A Gary Stu protagonist rendered mute and catatonic by grief wh
Michael Miller
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ready to Fall

This touching novel follows the life of Max, its teenage protagonist, in the year after his mother's death from cancer. A compulsive type, Max convinces himself that his mother's cancer has migrated into his brain. The imagined tumor makes Max unable to function as a family member, friend, or student. When he enters a therapeutic private school, Max is introduced to a colorful cast of new friends and teachers who help him to overcome his anxiety.

The book is beautifully written wit
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok... lot of thoughts on this. Here's a hopefully coherent list:
● overall a pretty good YA realistic fiction. Unique, and a nice break from my usual dystopian future fare.
● I read this in about two or three days. A quick read.
● Max was a likeable character. The death of his mother leaves him sad, vulnerable, and convinced that the tumor that took her life is now living in his brain. The conflict hinges on this. You can't help but feel sympathy for him, so it was nice to see him triumph over this
For a more in-depth review watch:

Max Friedman has a brain least he thinks he has a brain tumor. Max's mother just died from brain cancer and at her funeral he made a mental promise to take in her tumor. The tumor has become a constant companion to Max and has caused him to act up and almost fail out of school. To try to save Max's academic future his father enrolls him in the Baldwin School, a progressive school where he meets Fish, The Monk an
I received and eARC of this through NetGalley.

After Max's mother dies, the cancerous brain tumor that killed her sets up residence in Max's brain. The tumor is a terrible tenant and makes it impossible for Max to live a normal life. In order to keep Max from failing, he is sent to a more progressive school with a stronger focus on...(I am not really quite sure why this environment was better, only that it was different). With the help of a new friend The Monk and pretty girl/possible love intere
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a masterpiece. You could tell how much hard work and effort went into this novel. I was intrigued by the first few chapters and the story was deep yet marvelously captivating. It's a coming of age story where I didn't necessary like the protagonist during the novel but you begin to feel sympathy for him. I give "ready to fall" 3.5 stars. The book moved me in a way no other book has ever moved me however I found myself getting distracted and reading this novel did take me over 2 mon ...more
Chiang Saen
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very funny and moving book, with memorable and appealing characters, witty dialogue, and page-turning pacing. The protagonist, Max, is unable to cope with not just grief but with debilitating anxieties and obsessive thoughts that incapacitate him at school. The intersection of the Max's personal journey with themes from Hamlet, the drama club show he gets pulled into at his new school, is subtle and deftly interwoven by this talented YA author. An excellent read.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-favorites
When Max's mother dies of cancer, he imagines her tumor has inhabited his brain as a way to keep her close. Distracted by the terrible tumor, max is transferred to an artistic school where he meets a girl known as Fish and a boy known as The Monk who help him learn to let go. Ready to Fall was one of the best books I have ever read because it was unlike anything I read before, and it kept me turning pages from the very beginning until the very end. I never wanted the book to be over. I am so exc ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish. I thought this book would be right up my street, however I felt it was too predictable and 'stereotypical' to hold my interest: as soon as I knew the story featured an arts school, I could have guessed there would be an MC with dyed hair and a troubled past. However, there were interesting elements and heartfelt moments that I'm sure others will enjoy.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Touching and funny YA story relevant for adults, too. It's the journey of a teenager learning to acknowledge and take responsibility for his feelings as he navigates a loss and finding willingness to reach out to others with similar hurts. Pulls the reader right into the social universe of a quirky high school.
Anna Schenkel
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book! Wasn’t super enticing but it was pretty good in general. I was a little surprised when Cage got fired. I didn’t see that coming, but besides that, the book was decent(I do have to say the tumor got a little annoying after awhile). I would recommend it if you don’t read a ton and are looking for a pretty good realistic fiction.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Gone Away Place
  • P is for Pearl
  • Show and Prove
  • Beautiful Mess
  • All the Ways to Here
  • I Am Out With Lanterns
  • My Best Friend is a Goddess
  • Paper Cranes Don't Fly
  • Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota #3)
  • Truly, Wildly, Deeply
  • Wildman
  • Suggested Reading
  • Iris and the Tiger
  • What the Dog Said
  • From You to Me
  • Lost Soul, Be at Peace
  • The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek (Justin Goldblatt, #2)
  • Unstoppable Moses
See similar books…
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »