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Falling Under

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  712 ratings  ·  123 reviews
A "fearless, penetrating debut" (Tish Cohen, author of Town House) about a troubled artist who has painted herself into a corner

After surviving a turbulent childhood, Mara Foster has finally gained independence and success as a painter. Now in her late twenties, she lives alone, still burdened by a troubled past involving a teenaged affair with an older man and the
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Penguin Group (USA)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  712 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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*This review is posted on Way Too Hot Books.*

“He would never understand how being happy makes you sad. How the happier you are the more you know the sky is about to explode into tiny, sparkling shards of glass that will pick up speed as they fall to the earth and slice right through you leaving your skin with little holes in it, leaving your heart bleeding.”

It took me the longest time to get into this book. But once I did, it was difficult to stop. The beautiful sentences kept flowing and I
Lucy Morgan
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, I read a book and want to run off and kidnap the writer. They put these things down in words, so they must understand, so they must be like me. And either that means we are few, and are special, and should stick together...or it means there are many of us, and we should pitch our flagpoles while we can. Build a village.

But that sounds a bit creepy :P and I'm not going to kidnap anyone. But this is a touching, implosive and provocative book. Younge-Ullman knows how to write about
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mara is a twenty something artist, who has lead a difficult life - which has left her raw and broken. In this story you follow her - learning about each stage of her life, thus leading you to her current situation, involving a new potential love interest and her attempt at finding and accepting real love.

"But love digs you out, pulls you out and up with your bare skin and soul open to the world, to the harsh everything. To where you can fail and they can fail-because disappointment is
Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner
Wow. So good. This is a debut novel?

I am aware the fact not everyone will like this book but I can't see why they wouldn't because Falling Under takes us to the core of what it means to be a human being. There will be times when all we can do is just break down and cry or close ourselves inside our bubble. Not everything in life is perfect and not everyone gets a happy ending. I am not trying to go emo on you but that is just the fact.

Sorry for this useless review.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved
This book made me cry most of the afternoon! I loved the author's ability to completely pull me in and then shake me like a rag doll. It is dark, emotional and beautifully written.

Honestly, I was not expecting for this book to be what it was; I was thinking it would be a dramatic romance but not a heart tearing, sob inducing, need a glass of wine type book. I did not expect to have an afternoon cry fest when I picked it up. I should not have called for a pizza while finishing the last 15% as I
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is truly amazing. Heartfelt, raw, sexy, edgy, and also literary, complicated, yet accessible. The journey of the protagonist allows me as the reader to cheer for hope against adversity and personal demons, but also not feel like I'm being cheated into simply becoming a cheerleader: this book isn't all neat and tidy and still makes me think after months of having finished it. It has stayed with me. Perhaps that is in part due to the writing style (half of the book is written in second ...more
In Danielle Younge-Ullman's emotionally charged debut novel, Falling Under, readers meet Mara, a twenty-something painter with more than her fair share of problems. In the past, Mara has experienced events and encounters that have left her emotionally scarred and seemingly incabable of having a healthy relationship with anyone.

In Mara, Younge-Ullman has created a character that is incredibly raw and vulnerable. Mara's story is told primarily in the first person, with second person narrative
Katherine Owen
June 22, 2015 - I just re-read this one. And still love it. A great read!!

Falling Under is amazing contemporary fiction, but to learn that it is a debut novel for Danielle Younge-Ullman makes it even more special. Younge-Ullman does a fantastic job of creating a broken heroine in Mara Foster. The author portrays Mara's dark world where she "literally" fears the world, everything in it, and herself, most of all. Younge-Ullman deftly introduces readers to Mara's past through effective narration,
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mara Foster grew up in a house divided. Her parents divorced. Mara lived with her mother till she couldn’t abide by the rules anymore and her mom sent her to live with her dad. Mara loves both her parents very much. It’s stressful when at sixteen years old you find yourself always cleaning up after your father; who spend more time in jail, because he was drunk then at work. So what do you do when all your mom does is yell at your dad, your father can’t take care of you and your best friend and ...more
Terri Rochenski
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I usually write a review as soon as I finish a book, but this one I couldn't. Every thought came out as a single word. Emotional. Raw. Disturbing. Real. And the list goes on. I seriously couldn't form a sentence. Psychologically wacked, Mara, the MC, dug her claws into my mind and wouldn't let go till I finished. I couldn't put this down.

I was enthralled - disgusted - heart racing till the end. Twisted surprises. See what I mean? Still can't form proper sentences.

The author switches from 1st
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will resonate especially with children from divorced families, but anyone who has experienced any sort of family dysfunction and social paralysis as a result of it can also relate. Mara, the main character, feels very real, and I found myself wanting to get back to the book to see what would happen to her in her present life, as well as peeling back the layers from her past. It is a modern story, and mixes enough humor with the deeper issues to keep it from getting too heavy. I found ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whoa, whoa, whoa now.

This can't end like THAT.

(view spoiler)

I inhaled this book in four hours...suffice to say, I loved it. (Was that an homage to The Lady or the Tiger at the end?) Highly recommended.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend suggested this book, and I have to agree with his glowing recommendation. It's a bold and gripping debut novel. Mara Foster is a troubled young artist, who with an unnerving intimacy draws you into a life plagued by emotional damage, self-destructive tendencies, phobias, and failure. Gritty, erotic, and peppered with a dark, self-deprecating humour. One of the most unique and unflinching voices I have yet to encounter.
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my dear god. This book set me in a trance. I have not finished it yet, but i had to take a breath. It was so intense, but all to well amazing. I had a hard time putting it down in school, but i tried.
I loved it. And the author had an amazing way of the sex scenes. It seemed like she was in no way afraid of what people would think so they were really intense.
Screw it. The whole book was hella intense. xD
Ashley  Borchard
Wow I really don't know what to say about this book. There was some raw emotion in this book but it was annoying at the same time. There were times I felt the connection with Hugo, Erik, Lucas, Caleb but the book switched times so much I would lost the connection. Mara had a lot of emotional problems that just really didn't make sense.
Laurie Clark
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story, great characters.
Jess Riley
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read an advance copy of this, and LOOOVED it! It's unforgettable. Look for it in bookstores in August 2008!
Kathryn Magendie
How pleasantly surprised I was to find the synopsis blurb on the back cover only scratched the surface of the intensity and beauty of Younge-Ullman’s debut novel Falling Under. The story, and the writing, builds to a fevered pitch of power and depth, as if the writer herself became swept away by her character and finally let loose the emotions so carefully contained . . . as though Younge-Ullman herself is the artist, and brushstroke by brushstroke, the pattern and color and depth are ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: before-2012
I read this painful, intense, wonderful book quite a few years ago, and just realised I don't have it shelved on here. Falling Under is one of my all-time favourite books. It just did everything for me.

I myself prefer to write in second person POV whenever I can get away with it (screw what all my English/Writing profs have said!! lowercase and 2nd POV are my rebellion), and so needless to say, I loved that aspect of this book. In fact, it begins with that, so I was hooked immediately.

I fell
Heidi Garrett
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gritty, contemporary
When I downloaded this book, I browsed the other reviews and it seemed like sex was mentioned a lot, now i go back and look at the other reviews and it's like--huh. Was I reading reviews for a different book? I don't know, but it was on the top 100 free list that night and I loved the cover. I didn't have high expectations. There is an abundance of stories about children from broken homes growing into fractured adults...some of the earlier ones: Prozac Nation and She's Come Undone. Even being ...more
Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dalis, Jill, Lisa
Very well developed characters here. You really get to know Mara, her divorced and flawed parents, her lesbian best friend Bernadette, and the four main lovers in her life. First there is Caleb, the 34 year old artist who is her mentor when she is 16, who teaches her that a balance of passion and discipline is essential for a good artist. Then there is optimistic artist Lucas, her college boyfriend, whose unfortunate death colors the despair Mara is in through much of the story. Erik, the lover ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book! I loved Mara! She is a woman with so many issues. Because of her past, she's afraid of life, love, happiness....really anything that might blow up in her face and hurt her. She knows this about herself and in spite of it, she still puts herself out there and tries. Sometimes an author does this and it makes the character completely annoying and unlikeable. Danielle Young-Ullman did a great job making Mara a likeable, messed up character that you root for.
I loved the
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bees
This was a mediocre book that featured a storyline I have read about a thousand times before but much better. A problem-plagued protagonist (dysfunctional family, dysfunctional relationships, depression, etc.) tries to find her place in the world with her life and her passion: art. I disliked her from the beginning and this lasted throughout the entire book; I found her best friend, Bernadette, to be much more interesting of a character. I also hated the jarring flashbacks. Overall, I thought ...more
I have the most *severe* book hangover now after reading Falling Under by Danielle Younge-Ullman. I'm giving it FIVE STARS - it's edgy, compelling, painfully real - and it will grab you and not let go.

"I thought I'd step cautiously towards love, walk around it a few times, maybe poke it with a stick before I got too close."

Peer in to the darkness of this beautiful story, it needs to be read.
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling story of a young woman struggling to surface, toward sanity and love. Sounds heavy but there's a lot of laughter and quirky humor. Particularly good on ongoing warfare between separated parents, and what it's like trying to manage an alcoholic parent. Exceptionally good on the way a young woman might use her sexuality as the best bargaining tool she's got to negotiate her way to independence and adulthood -- and the toll that exerts on her inner life and sense of self.
Jackie Peterson
Aug 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bee-shelf
I couldn't make it through this book. I tried. I really did. But it was so whiny. I just couldn't take it anymore. I got it. She had a tough life, she has issues, she's afraid of a lot of things. Ok. Move the story along please. I just couldn't read one more list of things she thought might go wrong if she left the house. Sorry to all of those who loved this book. I guess I just missed what everyone else seemed to love about it.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Stark, beautiful prose and a gritty portrayal of a woman who is a bit of a disaster. The author does a great job of making characters likable who might otherwise not be. And she is expert at weaving the protagonist's back story. I think that's what made the book; understanding where the character came from versus just where she's going. Highly recommended.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this debut by author Danielle Younge Ullman left me breathless. Gritty, dark and very thought-provoking, Falling Under is a must read.
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Danielle Younge-Ullman is the award-winning author of the young adult novels, HE MUST LIKE YOU (July 2020), EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED (2018), LOLA CARLYLE’S 12 STEP ROMANCE (2015), and the adult novel, FALLING UNDER (2008). Danielle’s work has been published internationally, won the White Pine and Earphone awards, and been nominated for multiple awards and best-of lists, including the ...more
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“I wonder whether I will ever breathe air that is clear of his ghost.” 5 likes
“Certain memories, certain thoughts,are holes...holes ripped in you, through which precious things escape and leave you wanting, needing, gaping open. Laughter and belonging and comfort gush out, leaving their tracks but not their substance.
And you are left empty, a skeleton,a shell with wind rushing through you and a sensation of sinking, barely existing...”
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