What can I say about “The Year We Fell Down”? I loved it. Absolutely loved it. At the time of writing this review, I have read this book three times. That’s how much I love this thing. Seriously.
But before I get ahead of myself (too late!), I should probably tell you what this is about.
Corey’s always known where her life was going. Captain of her high school hockey team, popular, driven. She had it all, and then due to a freak accident, everything changed. Now she struggles to reinvent herself and escape from her over protective parents by going to an Ivy League school halfway across the country. There, she finds a kindred spirit in Hartley. Hartley’s a lot like her. They both live for Hockey. They both have to deal with unreasonable expectations. They’re both disabled.
However, there the similarities end. Hartley may have a broken leg, but he’ll get better. Corey’s injury is more complex. It’s life altering. And it affects how the story gets told. Her disability is a plot point, but it’s not THE plot point. The real plot is about finding your place and yourself when your world has changed. And of course, the romance.
Because it’s not romance without the romance.
And there is romance. This is definitely in the “friends/neighbors to lovers” category. There’s a side romantic interest for Hartley in the form of his globe-trotting rich girlfriend. And if I had one nit-pick for this book it would be that the girlfriend character is a stereotypical “rich bitch” that you can’t understand why a guy like Hartley would even consider dating. But it’s a nit-pick.
The book starts strong and never lets up. The fact that the heroine is paraplegic and doesn’t “get better” in the book is so rare in fiction that I can count the number of books I’ve read with that on one hand and still have fingers left over. That being said… the rest of the series isn’t as progressive. I was disappointed with some of the later books… especially with what happens to Corey’s disability. But I’m getting ahead of myself. (And trust me I will be reviewing the other books in this series… because I made a mistake and bought the whole series after this book, but I’ll get to that later.)
Corey is a unique heroine in the way that she’s sporty, uninterested in appearances, and is self reliant to the point of it being a problem. I loved her. But even more I loved Hartley. He’s not a true alpha male but he’s definitely all dude. In some worlds, he’d be called a beta male, but that’s not quite right either. He’s self-assured, considerate, and confident. However it never gets to the point of cockiness, and while I want to smack him at times, it’s because he’s being adorable and not because he’s an asshole. But that’s really selling him short, he’s incredibly intuitive and caring and I wanted to rip him out of my iPad and snuggle him.
No really. I want a Hartley of my own… he’s kind of like a Peeta Mellark mixed with Steve Yzerman. Have I mentioned I like Hockey? No? I probably should. LOL
For me, some of the best parts were the scenes where the two solved problems together, not just physical ones but mental too. As someone who has had to relearn how to walk, use stairs, and go about daily life, the scenes of Corey coming to terms with her new normal rang true. Physical therapy sucks. Hardcore. (Literally as I type this, I have to go to Physical Therapy again because my knee doesn’t want to work again.) That being said, Physical Therapy is a necessary evil and I liked that the book went into that. I also like that the book explored how to have sex with a disabled person without making it all fetishy. The side characters, other than the stereotypical girlfriend, were great. I could have read 5 more books with Hartley and Corey, but as it is this one will go on my reread list (and considering that I’ve read it now three times that should tell you something). An enthusiastic 5 stars
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