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High-Tech SciFi | Book Review: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

Free to Fall is a great scifi read for new fans of the genre. It’s got it all – romance, action and twists.

Book Review: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

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free to fall lauren miller book review

Title & Author: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Technology

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Series: Standalone

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: Bought


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Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision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

A Nice Surprise

Free to Fall was not what I expected. AT ALL.

We’ve all read about the super smart schools for the gifted that cater to making smart kids geniuses. And, we’ve read about advanced society’s where technology has grown and people have become dependent.

Free to Fall combines these ideas but in a totally new and fresh way.

Our leading lady, Rory, is a straight-laced kid. She’s super dedicated to her studies and has been dying to enter Theden Academy. Once you enter its gates, your life is basically set. A top job at Gnosis is basically yours.

As Rory starts her classes and learns more about Theden, she has no idea how much her life is going to change – especially when she decides to start taking control – instead of letting her smartphone app do it for her.

What makes this book immediately relatable is the setting. It’s set in the not-too-far future – around 2030-ish, I believe, so there are a lot of references and present-day similarities that put me at ease immediately. It’s nice in scifi to not have to constantly get your bearings (oh, where is this set? some other planet? what time and/or alternative history are we dealing with?).

Then, there’s Rory. She’s definitely the type of girl I can relate to. Good student, hard worker, rule-follower. But as the story progresses, I saw her change and shift from insecure and fearful of making mistakes to adventurous and decisive. She was totally believable as a heroine, and very endearing.

But, where I think the true genius of Free to Fall comes into play is…what I can’t talk about! All of the twists and secret histories and sub-plots are what make this book great. I LOVED how Miller turned this book into something bigger and grander than just Rory’s story.

She made it about our society and culture, about a realistic state of affairs that could happen if we let it. And, about morality and ethics. She deftly wove big concepts into a very readable tale that left me excited to read more from her.

My teensiest beef is I think one part at the end is a bit convenient (like a save-the-day type situation). But, it’s so easy to overlook that I didn’t really mind at all.


If you’re looking for a stand out young adult scifi novel set in a not-so-distant future and with some big yet relatble themes, this book is for you. I loved how much the main character grew as a person and how such twisty plots were unveiled. Free to Fall is truly a unique take on technology, culture and making huge life choices – very much recommended.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I was most interested in the themes and how they can apply to current day culture, and I’m really happy to hear that they’re well done! Concepts like this can get a bit heavy-handed, I’ve found.

    • Kayla, I totally agree! The themes in this book are woven smartly and subtly. I hope you enjoy it!

  • mayceegreene

    Read it fast in every spare and not so spare moment. Woven together beautifully. Amazing read. Mystery, romance, sci-fi it has it all.

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