I read an early copy of Danielle Younge-Ullman’s debut novel Falling Under on my computer last winter. I usually dislike reading so much on-screen, as I have wonky eyes that are quick to redden after too much pixilated exposure. But with Falling Under? I could. Not. Stop. Reading. I found myself wanting to both savor the story and race ahead to see how things ended for Mara, a deeply conflicted and broken but true, compelling, and fascinating character. I ignored husband and dog and urges to eat and sleep as I scrolled through page after page, devouring the story.
The story, in my opinion, is the main reason to read a book. But the real treat here is that Danielle is a kick-ass writer. She marries stellar storytelling with deft, gritty, and brave writing in a way that completely satisfied me. Though the story is told through a somewhat dark looking glass, there are moments of levity throughout: Mara’s friendship with Bernadette has some wry and fun moments, and Falling Under contains some truly witty dialogue. This haunting story of hard-won redemption and healing covers the full range of human emotions, and it stayed with me for a long time after I closed the book.
If you get a chance to hear Danielle read scenes from Falling Under (or any of her future books, because this is only the beginning of what is sure to be a long and successful career), do not miss it! I was lucky enough to hear several scenes during Danielle’s in-room rehearsal at RWA, and her reading of each selection gave me goosebumps. When she read the chosen chapter that evening at Books, Inc., I was riveted, along with the rest of the crowd.
Performer, storyteller, and writer: Danielle, I am in awe of your talents. I’m thrilled to help you celebrate your launch week!