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Falling: Bits and Pieces Paperback – June 5, 2011
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About the Author
For years, Shirley Miranda had an idea, a scene replaying over and over in her head. But the scene never quite ended. Unlike the other stories she started and finished all in her head, this one just paused in the middle of it. Shirley began writing fan-fiction when she was 11 years-old, many years before the term was coined or the internet to post it on. With no place to share it with, she mentally "wrote" many of them out. But one scene with her own original characters never got beyond that paused moment. With the encouragement of her husband, she put pen to paper (and fingers to keyboard), and began writing out the scene. It was clear from that moment on that it wasn't just one scene with two characters, they had a story to tell. This story couldn't be completed in one scene or even two. While her first love had been scriptwriting (as many of her fan-fiction tales were written), it wasn't meant to be told as such, or even a short story. The flood gates opened and her characters had so much to say and do beyond that one original moment. Shirley Miranda currently teaches high school math and computer science in San Diego. Even during her prior career of software engineering, Shirley volunteered to work with high school students interested in math and science. It was what caused her to switch to education. Falling (Book #1 in The Bits and Pieces Series) is Shirley Miranda's first novel.
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The first of a series, Miranda's "Falling" slowly fills out its characters as the reader discovers their history and circumstances and witnesses their reactions to the rising action. It's first-person account through Liz provides easily identifiable situations and feelings that should appeal to teen readers while also incorporating role-playing scenarios that reflect how our choices affect both us and those around us. Issues of self-esteem, bullying, relationships, depression, emotional trauma, and suicide are all addressed in a truthful but positive, believable, and support-building way.
The novel is written in simple, direct language that was easy to read and understand. The lack of editing was appalling for a published work, but the overlooked errors were relatively minor ones where an essential word was omitted or misspelled. Hopefully, these will be corrected in future editions. The story reached a natural conclusion that leaves readers wanting more.
Again, this is not a bad thing, just not what I expected. Not only is this high school physics teacher a great writer (she jokes about her readers not being surprised if she was an English teacher--which I am), but she has a mind for business as well--she gets you hooked on Liz's and Patrick's friendship, and you want to see where it goes, so you have to buy the next book--which I did--after stumbling upon "Falling."
The only time I was drawn out of the story was for Liz's meltdown. I couldn't follow her train of thought, but maybe that's because my personality is the exact opposite of hers, so I'm not sure if it was disconnected, silly, fabricated, or just outside my realm of experience.
I can't wait for "Wintering!"
The author paints a rich and believable tapestry in which fully rounded characters are drawn with such detail you feel you actually know them. Some you will love, others you will loath, most have some of each in them. I'll not tell what the book is about to save spoilers because the happenings in this book are so real, and so well played out I'm afraid I'd give to much away and lessen the enjoyment of others.
I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I felt every emotion in this book. I found it amazing. I give it my highest recommendation. Now, if you will excuse me, I cannot put down the follow up!
I gave the book four stars instead of five because the author could have used another round or two of editing. I can forgive a few mistakes so don't recall too many in the first half of the book, but I noticed a lot of mistakes and grammatical errors in the second half. It was distracting. I'm still willing to see how Liz's journey proceeds, though, and have already bought the next book in the series.