Friday, June 26, 2015

The Girl I Was Before (Falling #3) by Ginger Scott

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I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”

Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.

None of it matters.

I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.

I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.

Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny.

He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.

Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.

But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.

Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.

It's finally here! The Girl I Was Before has been on my radar for ages and I was so excited to finally read it! After being in the background in the previous Falling books, Paige, the girl with the abrasive manner that takes some getting used to, finally gets the spotlight. She's the prissy, high-maintenance sorority girl to Houston's lai-back, no-fuss demeanor. An he's that one guy who sees more to her. He works at a deli and she orders sandwiches – it’s a particularly silly flirting ritual they have going but it holds the barriers that Paige has in place. She’s currently in the midst of a personal crisis – after learning that her sorority sister Chandra made her twin Cass’s life a mess in book two, she decides to exact revenge. While Paige and Cass may not necessarily be the closest of sisters – and yes, let’s not forget that it was she who provided Chandra with the hurtful information against Cass – no one messes with her family.  Paige has always wanted the sorority life, to be with her kind of crowd instead of her sister’s keeper and by bringing down a very popular and powerful sorority girl, Paige risks losing all that. Perhaps a complete overhaul is exactly what she needs right now.

Paige is not easily likable which is why I was surprised by how much I ended up caring about her. Her complexity is refreshing and I felt privileged to get to know her better. I liked Houston as well – he’s a stand-up guy struggling to keep his personal responsibilities and college life in check. He’s also very attracted to Paige and very much aware that she’s hesitant about getting involved. He’s not intimidated by her haughty demeanor like most people are. He pushes just enough so that she notices him. It’s his kindness and generosity toward her that put a little chink in that armor. When he tells her that she can do better for herself than the Neanderthal boyfriend she has, she’s both offended and charmed. Houston’s not the popular athlete type and not exactly someone Paige would date. But he’s a gentleman and he provides a solution for Paige when trouble brews at the sorority house and she needs to move out.

Another aspect of the book I appreciated is how much Paige struggled with her feelings towards her sister. Theirs hasn’t been the easiest of friendships. She knows she has screwed and is trying to fix it. I think the depiction of sibling rivalry and emotions are pretty spot on. Sisters are complicated creatures.  Paige and Cass attempting to find mutual ground and some connection reminded me of how far my sister and I have come in our relationship.   

The Girl I Was Before demostrates that you never know what someone has going on in their life. Paige, Houston and even archnemesis Chandra have secrets but Paige is very much the central star in this one. She’s letting go of the past, letting go of the fear to evolve into a new person, mending relationships and building new ones. Through all the social upheaval and messes, she becomes a better, stronger person with a keener sense of what and who is important to her. The thing I love most about Ginger Scott's writing is how she delicately peels away the complicated layers that make up her fascinating characters. I didn't take to Paige when I'd first met her but the young woman we end up with a welcome discovery!  

Everything about the Falling series has been superb, and I've totally enjoyed their adorable covers, too. Do yourself a solid and add this series to your TBR pile!

~ Bel

Check out the Release Day Blast for an excerpt and a chance to win  an autographed set of the entire Falling series (US) or the ebook set (International)!

      The Girl I Was Before (Falling, #3)
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