Review: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

    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?

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    Overview: Fast forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes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


    Have you ever had a problem with making a decision? A small one, like what to wear today? Or a big one, like which college to choose? Have you ever thought that it would be a lot easier if someone else was making those decisions for you? Well, then this book should be in your to-read list!

    The main character lives in the society where all decisions are made by an app. It literally knows everything about you and, therefore, what is better for you. It says what you should drink, which way to go, what you should eat — this app has a full control over your life. 
    People are obsessed with their phones, feeling completely helpless without them. Even though the story takes place in the future, our current society is very similar. We don’t have Lux, but we depend on our iPhones. Let me show you one example from the book:

    “He held the camera out for me to see. It was a woman, obviously homeless, her sunken eyes looking straight at the camera. I don’t want your money, her cardboard sign read. Just look at me, so I know I exist. The words and her expression were arresting on their own, but they weren’t what made the photograph so compelling. It was the people in the foreground, the passersby, eyes glued to their phones as they hurried to wherever they were going at lunch hour, completely oblivious to the woman with the sign.”

    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    There are also people who are labeled as ill because they hear the Doubt – which is something between an intuition and a God’s blessing. Scientists say that it makes you do stupid and risky things, it leads to no good, and it’s basically an illness. All children have it, this voice in their heads, but they must ignore it, and, eventually, it’ll disappear. But there are some people who still hear it and who refuse to use Lux.

    Our main girl Rory is just a normal girl. She lives with her father and stepmother, and she dreams about going to Theden – a college for special kids with either a huge brain or a huge bank account. Luckily, she’s the former and gets in on a scholarship. It’s while at Theden that Rory starts to hear the Doubt and tries to ignore it, for there is no place for the Doubt in a privileged boarding school. Theden is a dream of a hi-tech society, having the latest Gnosis gadgets and walls that project light (seriously, I’m not kidding) and special classes with some sort of simulation cabins for each student. However, there is clearly something going wrong. For instance, when she arrives at Theden, she quickly finds friends, or — at least — they quickly find her. One friend in particular, rich queen bee (and former classmate) Hershey suspiciously claims her as a BFF despite having ignored her in the past. Then she meets North (what a name, huh?), a YA staple hot guy with tattoos and secrets. (Honestly, this romance was the only thing with which I wasn’t satisfied in this book. I mean, they were a sweet couple, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between them). 

    Soon Rory starts to unravel a tangle of mysteries about her family, about Theden Academy, about Gnosis and Lux, and, most importantly, about their society and their “right to fall.” Will she and her friends succeed in their fight for freedom to fall? You shall find out!

    I formed them free and free they must remain. I saw the quote from Paradise Lost differently now. With Lux, people were simply choosing not to choose. We had to remind them that they still could.

    This is a very believable story with a scientific explanation to everything, and that’s what I liked the most. I don’t know how Lauren Miller did it — science isn’t my strong suit — but I understood what she wrote about. I also just loved the psychological part of this novel, which shows how easily we can be manipulated. Rory was a lovable character; she’s very smart and kind, and she’s a perfect example of what can happen if your heart and brain collaborate with each other. 

    Overall, this book teaches us that every decision, good or bad, makes us who we are: people, who are free to fall. It’s not always easy, but it’s what makes us human. Without it, we are just a bunch of zombies who do what they are said to do. So, dear readers, take a page out of this book and think with your heart, and don’t be afraid to doubt. 

    Steysha Kravits is nineteen and lives in Kiev, Ukraine. She is starting her third year at university, where she studies Ukrainian philology, but in her heart she has always dreamed of being a writer. She also dreams of moving to England or America to work for a publishing house. Currently, she works as a translator and freelance photographer. She’s a book nerd, loves rock music, and adventures.


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