I have never felt more seen and validated

As a queer, transracial adoptee, Lucy definitely know what it’s like to feel in-between. After surviving a mass shooting, she is thrown back to her hometown and forced to face people who made her childhood far less than ideal. Her two friends, Christy and Donna, survived with Lucy and now must navigate life after trauma with the shooter still on the loose. As Lucy spends more time examining her trauma and identity, she realizes that perhaps survival isn’t strong enough to keep her friendships intact.

Like with Keurium, JS Lee has stunned me again. I have never felt more seen and validated by a book than with hers. Everyone Was Falling begins with the aftermath of a school reunion shooting and immediately threw me into the aftermath. I found every scene extremely relatable and relevant as a woman of color and adoptee. The dialogue could be heavy and forced me to pause several times as I reflected on my own experiences. There was a moment when I thought, “Ugh the aggressions just never end!” I realized that is life. This book is reality for many and hopefully a wake up call to the others.

I particularly enjoyed how thought out each perspective was. There was never just a black-and-white situation. You saw all sides and were shown how characters came to behave the way they do. This forced me to examine my own implicit biases and roles in society. It reminded me that what matters is those who show compassion and put in the effort to understand. I was reminded that you aren’t going to awaken everyone. Some are set in their ways and sometimes you just have to remove yourself from the situation for your own health and safety.

This (and Keurium) is a book I recommend to ALL. You do not have to be a person of color, adoptee, or member of the LGBTQIA community to get something out of this book. It will spark uncomfortable, but entirely necessary, conversations and will lead you to more compassion for others.

Be aware this book covers topics including: adoption, sexuality, mass shootings, and trauma. Passages may be triggering to readers. —Lilly Schmaltz