Monday, 26 September 2016

Review: How We Fall by Kate Brauning.

SYNOPSIS AND SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:

Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus--and deepens Jackie's despair.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

I went into this book completely blind, and you have no idea of how grateful I am. This book tells a story you need to discover along with the characters, and getting into it with just a slight idea of the genres is the best way to do it. I had no expectations at all, and it turned out to be one of the best books I have read in 2016 so far. An absolute gem.

The characters within these pages have completely blown me away. I could not only believe in them but love them too. They all felt real, and so their bonds and relationships were easy to relate to. Our main character Jackie, is responsible, caring, loyal and a great friend. After hearing the shocking news about her friend being murdered, she focuses on helping those who may be in danger, no matter who they are and what she feels for them. I really, really like her as a person. She goes through some difficult times and situations, but she is a fighter and does not give up. 

Marcus, the love interest, the other half of the forbidden love story, has completely stolen my heart. His feelings for Jackie are so strong and defined that you can tell he is slowly breaking apart, and that is what tears the reader apart. He is forced to make decisions he wouldn't have made had the situation been different for him and his cousin. His determination and belief in everything going right in the end is what keeps him alive, hopeful even when there is no hope to hold on to. His strength is what I really admire, what made me believe his feelings.

The fact that the main relationship is a forbidden one makes the novel interesting enough, but there is also some mystery concerning Jackie's friend that adds some substance to the story. It is true that I would have liked the book to focus more on the romantic side than on the creepy mysterious one, but I understand that it had to be a part of the story in order to make some characters unstable and weak. 

I am not going to lie, this story brought me to tears more than once or twice. I was legit sad and heartbroken, with the need to hug the characters and change the world and its prejudices. Even after finishing it, I was emotional and thoughtful for a couple more days. I wonder if the author is thinking about writing a sequel, because I very much need to know what happens next.

I recommend this book to Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden lovers, but there is actually something I want to say. I loved this one a thousand and one more times than I did Forbidden. Simply because in How We Fall I got to believe the struggle at a level I could not reach with Forbidden. Marcus and Jackie's family is a big one and they sometimes must take parental roles, but as it is not a broken family what we are talking about, it is easy to believe in the family bond between Marcus and Jackie. That way, being freaked out by the idea of relatives being in love comes in as a shocker, unlike the non-familiar bond Lochan and Maya had in Forbidden. If a forbidden love story is supposed to make you feel confused and weirded out, then the way to make it is following Kate Brauning's steps and focusing on making the characters feel related before making them feel like teenagers in love. 

How We Fall is a tale about loyalty, love with no labels and family. One to read in one sitting and think about for days (and weeks) after finishing it. Be ready to get your heart broken with this beautiful, pure and raw love story.

MY RATING:


Thank you so much, Merit Press, for sending a review copy of this book my way.

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