Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review: The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen

Release date: March 20th, 2014
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Age group: New Adult
Pages: 268
Buy the book: Amazon

Description (from Goodreads):

The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.

What now?


She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.



MY THOUGHTS:

Corey Callahan loves ice hockey. Since she was child it has been major part of her life - her brother used to play, her father used to coach and she herself also spent all the free time she had on ice. In high school she was the captain of the ice hockey team on her way to college hockey teams. Then she got injured and EVERYTHING changed. She had to switch her skates to a wheelchair and her dreams of playing college hockey went down the toilet. But she's not ready to give up her dreams of going to the school her brother used to go to, Harkness College.

Despite her fussing parents, Corey's college experience starts well. The room that she has at the dorm is big and beautiful and she instantly feels like she has won in the roommate lottery when she meets Dana, a girl who has spent her high school years in Japan. And then she meets Adam Hartley, her neighbor and one of the stars of the college's ice-hockey team, relaying on crutches with a big cast on his leg. Corey and Hartley connect instantly - they both understand how it feels not to be able to do something they love (play hockey). Hartley does not treat Corey like she's a cripple and completely helpless, but rather challenges her in more than one way. They play video games, watch films and confine in each other and very quickly Corey realizes that she is falling for Hartley... Too bad that he has a girlfriend who's doing a foreign exchange in France.

I really liked Corey. She is strong and independent and though she is in a situation she did not expect to find herself in she does not give up. Yes, she might whine occasionally, but who wouldn't? She's also funny and extremely likable, which made it easy to connect with her and to feel for her. I love ice hockey myself and though I've never played competitively, I totally got her love for the sport. Hartley is totally swoon worthy (duh, he's a hockey player) and though there were so things he did that I did not fully understand and support, I did end up liking him.

There's sort of a love triangle in the story, but it is clear right away what the "right" pairing is. Hartley's girlfriend Stacia is snobby, bitchy rich girl who mostly just thinks of herself. She's kind of a cliche and maybe a bit too much Corey's opposite. The author does not really give any humanity to Stacia, which occasionally feels like the easy way out; she makes her so unlikable that there's no way you could think that Hartley should stay with her. But her does, for a way too long and Hartley ends up doing something which I do not accept myself from someone who's in a relationship. Yes, he is with the wrong person, but that does not justify it, at least not in my opinion. 

Also, one little thing that kind of annoyed me was this "hope fairy" Corey keeps talking about. Basically, it is the voice inside her head that keeps telling her that maybe she has a chance with Hartley and that maybe he's as into her as she's to him. At first this did not really bother me, but then this weird "fairy" is mentioned again and again and I kind of started to feel like the author repeats it way too many times. I feel like this might be just me though and in no way did this little glitch take the enjoyment out of the story.

Despite the little issues I had with this book, in general I enjoyed it. It did not change my life, but it was entertaining, fast-paced and cute. The author does not shy away from the seriousness of Corey's incident and its aftermath, but she also doesn't dwell on it either. The likable female protagonist and a hot love interest who's ready to admit his wrongdoings definitely make it worth a read for all fans of new adult fiction. 

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