Book Review: The Year We Fell Down

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen: The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.

What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

The Year We Fell Down is the first book I’ve read by this author and I can definitely state that I’ll be reading more of her work. The plot of this book compared to other new adult titles proves to be quite unique. The book follows the same structure as many new adult titles but added to it a fresh, uplifting story. The author further kept me glued to the pages thanks to the concise, crisp writing. The author, never dwelling or lingering on frivolous thoughts or circumstances, keeps the story of Corey and Adam constantly moving. There’s something so romantic about young love constructed from a solid friendship and that’s what we get with this story. I didn’t know really what to expect from this book but what I got from it was worth not knowing.

The absoluteness and confidence in the strength of the female lead, Corey Callahan, shines the light on these pages. This time in a young woman’s life, as a freshman in college, is precarious as it stands without the added struggles Corey faces – struggles totally unique from anything else I’ve read. Her ability to keep moving forward inspires awe from the reader. She clings to some obvious hang-ups but just like the plot of the book no dwelling takes place. Not wanting to be babied, coddled, or misunderstood, Corey constantly moves forward no matter what obstacles face her. We should all be a little more like Corey Callahan.

Interestingly, Hartley’s character provides a total opposite effect. He’s stagnant and stuck on frivolity and meaningless ideas of what his life should look like. Hartley’s character gave me moments to pause and be upset in the story. There were times when I wanted to scream at him through the Kindle for being so blind to his feelings and for being so hurtful without even realizing it. I wanted more from this character at times. But his story fit into the plot, fit into the structure of the needs he fulfilled from Corey. He’s young and vulnerable due to unforeseen circumstances in his life. And Hartley shines in these brilliant moments where he’s the white knight, when he thinks about it and follows through.

There’s magic in this new adult story. It’s not at all what you’d expect but it makes you feel good and what more can we ask from a love story? Corey especially uplifts you by warming your heart. Hartley and Callahan don’t have this grand, dramatic, in-your-face love story throughout the whole book. As much as the author’s words propel us forward so smoothly, the building of their love is slow. However, the slowness in no way deters what the bigger picture intends or the beautiful message the flows through the pages of this story. Then once you finish and absorb the story in its entirety you realize that in all reality they do have a grand love story. A unique love story constructed from great writing and an exceptional plot. The big picture builds on the friendship they built first, a love story in and of itself. If you like new adult stories, you’ll enjoy reading this book.

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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