One day Rowe was a typical teenager, a student in high school with her boyfriend and her best friend, and the next day she was alone and shattered. For the past two years, she’s been a barely living, shaky breathing shell. College halfway across the country is a huge step, but she’s determined to take it, to reclaim the future that can never be what she expected. And she certainly doesn’t expect Nate Preeter.
The Verdict: I’m not usually a big fan of dual point-of-view, but this is one book in which seeing into both characters’ minds enhanced the story instead of ruining the surprise.
Rowe is still traumatized by a horrific event during her sophomore year of high school, and she’s spent the last two years holed up in her home with her parents, almost never venturing out and certainly avoiding anything even resembling a social life. Trying to take a big step in the right direction, she picks a college far from home, an apparent attempt to leave herself no choice but to move forward. And upon moving into her dorm, she meets one of the sweetest guys ever.
Nate is pretty damned incredible. He’s hot, of course, and a bit mischievous, but ultimate a good guy. He’s immediately interested in Rowe, but he also sees almost instantly that she’s carrying a heavy burden. Instead of pushing to find out what it is, he simply supports her, letting her find her own way. And that’s what made his character so amazing. He didn’t have some savior complex; he didn’t see her and feel that it was his responsibility to help her through things. He simply liked her a hell of a lot, despite the difficulties she was clearly having, and he stood by as she gained her footing.
What happened to Rowe really surprised me. It was made clear early that her best friend from high school had died and that the rather perfect high school sweetheart she had was gone, but it took a while for the story to reveal what had actually occurred. And given the subject matter, I think that was the right way to go about it. Whereas many books have wounded main characters constantly reliving their traumas through nightmares and a steady stream of comparisons between “before” and “after,” This is Falling lets it unfold slowly, giving the reader time to become invested more in the characters than in the background story. So often, the background story is revealed instantly or early on, and that’s what holds our interest before we even know the characters, allowing for a bit of a disconnect that carries throughout the story. But with Rowe, we get to know her first, see the world as it is now through her eyes, so when we learn the details about what brought her to this point, it’s all the more intense and emotional.
And all the secondary characters? They were a lot less two-dimensional and interesting than usual. Cass with her immediate laid back acceptance and kindness… Paige with her mean girl façade that was pretty accurate — except when true strength of character was needed… And Ty, the wheelchair bound hottie who was anything but disabled.
This is Falling certainly isn’t the first college romance I’ve read in which the emotionally scarred girl is more or less revived by the cocky, persistent, soft-hearted guy, but it’s one of the more unique and definitely a step up from most. The journey was emotional and intense but somehow still happy and hopeful — I wish there were books out there like this! So I guess it goes without saying that I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. More Ty, please!