Seventeen-year-old Theia Alderson has spent her entire, overly sheltered and structured life trying to be invisible. For the most part, she lives trying to please her distant, cold father. That quiet existence changes one night with the arrival of a burning man on the front lawn. Now Theia’s nights are spent in an odd, waking dream state where she visits with a handsome young man in bizarre settings. When Haden, the new boy at school turns out to be a carbon copy of the man in her dreams, Theia begins doubting her sanity though she can’t deny the feelings he stirs up. Haden’s attitude is strangely passionate one minute, totally standoffish the next yet Theia can’t help but follow her heart. Aided by best friends Amelia, who enjoys plumbing the mysteries of the paranormal, Donny a confirmed non-believer and Varnie, a cross-dressing psychic who is the real deal, Theia faces demons and discovers the dangers of falling under.
Falling Under draws you in and begins winding the story tighter and tighter to the surprising conclusion. Readers can’t help but be sympathetic to Theia’s plight, trying to be the perfect daughter, suppressing facets of her personality while attempting to find solace in music, only to have that turned against her. It’s interesting watching the real Theia begin to emerge though the dialog tends to drag throughout the last half of the book. That criticism aside, this strong debut targeting the young adult market hints at good things to come from Haynes.