Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.
Serle has a gift for writing about the privileged that never comes off cartoonish. “Gossip Girl,” this is not. Much as she did in her debut novel, When You Were Mine, Serle shows that “having everything” doesn’t mean you really have it all. The Edge of Falling is a beautiful journey of grief, love, and acceptance.
And while we glimpse the privileged life of Caggie and her classmates – shopping trips to Barney’s, expensive meals at Manhattan’s finest, school dances at metropolitan landmarks – none of this world is cartoonish or cliche. Serle shows characters who are shallow and sometimes mean-spirited, without exaggerating them. They are real, genuine people — and they weave in and out of Caggie’s story with purpose.
The Edge of Falling also captures the struggle to grieve; to let go of perceived responsibilities; to take comfort from those who love you. And it does so in realistic, believable ways. Serle elegantly builds to her climax, peeling back layers of the past as she moves her characters forwards.
The Edge of Falling is in stores March 18th.