Thursday, September 4, 2014

This Is Falling by Ginger Scott

* * * * *

First, I had to remember how to breathe. Then, I had to learn how to survive. Two years, three months and sixteen days had passed since I was the Rowe Stanton from before, since tragedy stole my youth and my heart went along with it.

When I left for college, I put a thousand miles between my future and my past. I’d made a choice—I was going to cross back to the other side, to live with the living. I just didn’t know how.

And then I met Nate Preeter.

An All-American baseball player, Nate wasn’t supposed to notice a ghost-of-a-girl like me. But he did. He shouldn’t want to know my name. But he did. And when he learned my secret and saw the scars it left behind, he was supposed to run. But he didn’t.

My heart was dead, and I was never supposed to belong to anyone. But Nate Preeter had me feeling, and he made me want to be his. He showed me everything I was missing.
And then he showed me how to fall.

People, I am completely enamored with this book. This Is Falling is one of the best written, heartfelt stories I’ve read and I wish I could experience it for the first time all over again because it’s just that sweet and thought-provoking.

Rowe arrives at college feeling slightly overwhelmed. It’s a bit of a culture shock for her since she’s been homeschooled for the last two years by her mother. So when it came time to pick a college, even she was surprised that she chose to move away far from home. 

There are a few things about Rowe that you’ll recognize in yourself – the enormity of being away from home, getting used to new people, trying to fit in. You’re not told immediately what exactly makes Rowe function differently from everyone else. If anything, you sense a vulnerable young woman who’s trying so very slowly to step out of her shell. When she and Nate meet, the attraction is mutual. Rowe however doesn’t want a relationship and Nate perceives that she’s different and wants to take his time to get to know her. Their friendship that develops - perhaps the best part of the book - is a mix of flirty and “let’s just be buddies”. 

When Rowe finally feels comfortable enough to reveal her past, all the pieces fall together and you feel both sympathy for and impressed by this young woman. I have to hand it to Scott. I didn’t even come close to guessing what it was and even then, I was amazed as to how delicately she handled it all. I think Scott’s years as a journalist covering various events gave her the valuable insight and compassion needed in writing Rowe's experience.

Aside from Scott’s treatment of the plot, I also really liked Nate. Yeah, he’s a hot jock who’s wanted by all the girls but he only has eyes for Rowe.  He is so attuned to Rowe’s tells – her body language, what her limits are.  Most importantly, he’s sensitive to what she’s been through. He is so not the alpha male type in most NA novels. No, that's left to his older brother Ty. Nate’s got just enough cockiness without being obnoxious. He’s all about making her comfortable, going at her pace, letting her know and feel that she's beautiful and safe. She’s been made aware that he wants her and she appreciates that he has no elaborate schemes when it comes to her:

“I don’t play games Rowe. I will wait but I won’t wait forever.”

This straightforwardness is refreshing. I just wish that they could be this honest more often as they unfortunately end up having a few misunderstandings because they’re too afraid to say something that will scare the other one off. It seems this happens whenever their relationship is at a tipping point. All this struggle makes it that much more gratifying when they finally manage to shed whatever apprehension that remains.

This Is Falling is phenomenal and though categorized as NA and romance, it’s more than just about pining after each other and wanting to get in the other’s pants. As much as I have gushed over Nate, I admire Rowe equally as much. Even as she's coming to terms with all her feelings and realizing all she has to gain, Nate being a huge part of that change in her, it's Rowe who's determined to become better for herself. Scott has done great things here by creating characters with emotional depth, complexity and maturity. The surrounding players in this story also hint that there's more to them than what we've been privy to so far. This sweet, hilarious and moving story is about the healing power of friendship, the gift of patience and the importance of communication. 

As I said before, I wish I could experience this for the first time over and over. Since I can’t, I’ll happily settle in with my own copy and revisit this beautiful story as many times as I want. 

~ Bel

*This Is Falling is the first in The Falling series. I also read an excerpt from the second book, YOU And Everything After featuring Nate's brother Ty and Rowe's roommate Cass. I liked what I read, impressed with revelations within the first few pages and I can't wait for more!

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