Sold in a 7-publisher auction, debut author and Reese’s Book Club Fellow Arriel Vinson delivers an outstanding novel-in-verse about a girl who falls in love at the roller-skating rink—the only place in the world where she feels whole.

by Arriel Vinson
Putnam/ Penguin Random House, Summer 2025
(via Writers House)

Jaelyn Coleman wants nothing more than to go to WestSide Roll skating rink every weekend like she always does with her best friend Noelle. As Arriel says, like many Black families, her parents—before they got divorced—made roller skating a tradition. But Jaelyn learns that her place of refuge is shutting down by the middle of the summer. Her neighbourhood is being gentrified. Which means she and her best friend might grow apart even more. Trey—the guy she just met at the rink—may become a distant memory. And the place where her family was essentially made will be gone. But, Jaelyn realizes that no one can take away what she loves, and that skating is about keeping community alive.

With searing intelligence, THE FREEDOM OF FALLING explores female friendship, complicated family relationships, and growing into confidence. But at its heart, it’s about learning to let your emotions be free. The freedom to fall in love, maybe with your cute boyfriend, but also with your family who you thought you had lost.

Arriel Vinson is a Reese’s Book Club LitUp Fellow and Midwesterner who writes about being young, Black, and in search of freedom. She earned her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Shondaland, Kweli Journal, Catapult, The Rumpus, Waxwing, and others. A Tin House YA Scholar, 2020 Walter Grant recipient, and 2019 Kimbilio Fellow, her work has been nominated for Best New Poets 2020, Best of the Net 2019, and a Pushcart Prize.

LitUp by Reese’s Book Club is working to break down systematic barriers in traditional book publishing and provide opportunities for underrepresented women storytellers. The program provides powerful resources for diverse writers to get started and get their books onto our shelves through a writers retreat, a mentorship with Reese’s Book Club alumni authors, and marketing through Reese’s Book Club channels, including spotlights on their Instagram, features in their newsletter, and videos on TikTok.

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