Published by Adams Media Corporation on November 3rd 2014
Genres: Family, General, Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Parents, Social Issues, Violence, Young Adult
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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?
How We Fall was not what I expected when I read the synopsis. The illicit YA romance ended up being a suspense thriller that was just that – thrilling. In the story, Jackie is engaged in a romantic relationship with her 1st cousin, Marcus. If that wasn’t complicated enough, She and Marcus live in the same house. The two are torn between how they feel about each other, and what their relationship would do to their family if it ever came out. While Jackie deals with this, she’s also dealing with fact that her best friend has disappeared without a trace.
I really likes the fast-paced writing. Every time I planned to put it down to do something else, I kept saying, “I’ll stop after this next chapter.” This never happened. Before I knew it I had read the entire book. I don’t know what interested me more, the relationship between Marcus and Jackie or the mystery surrounding Elli’s disappearance. Both stories were interesting, and kept me interested throughout the story.
I liked Marcus way more than I liked Jackie. Marcus knew who he was and what he wanted. He was a sweet guy, caught in a weird situation. Jackie thought she knew what she wanted. Everything had to be her way or revolve around her. She didn’t even realize when her actions or words were hurtful. This really grated on me for the first half of the book. Of course, Jackie becomes more self-aware as the story progresses, and this made me like her more.
Another thing that may put people off this books is how schizophrenic it seems. Is it a romance? Is it a mystery/thriller? This book is both, however I think the romance was better developed than the mystery. This wasn’t too problematic, because the mystery was the secondary story. Though, if you cut the mystery out, the romance was sufficient enough to make the book feel complete.
Lastly, the romance between 1st cousins may put folks off from this story. At first the concept shocked me, but I feel Brauning handled it well. Marcus and Jackie constantly discusses how their familial connection complicated their relationship. They also discusses public perceptions of them if their romance became public, and how that may affect their loved ones. While I couldn’t fathom being in a relationship like this with one of my cousins, the fact the characters didn’t downplay the consequences of their actions was a big plus for me.
Do I Recommend?
It depends. If you are looking for an easy book to take with you on vacation this summer, than How We Fall would be just the book. It’s well written, has an element of mystery, and the romance is different from what I normally read in young adult fiction. In fact, I kind of want to know what happens next with Marcus and Jackie after everything they went through. However, if you are opposed to romance between cousins then you probably should steer clear from this book, because their relationship is the entire story.