Monday, 1 December 2014

Book Review: How We Fall by Kate Brauning.



Product details:
Publisher: Merit Press.
Hardcover, 303 pages.
Release date: November 3rd 2014.
Rating:  4½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for 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?

 Jackie’s life hasn’t been easy of late.  Ever since her best friend Ellie went missing months previously, Jackie has been wracked with guilt over her disappearance. Why didn’t she make more of an effort to keep in touch with Ellie after she moved away? Why didn’t she go visit? Maybe then, Ellie wouldn’t, as the authorities are speculating, have run away from home. Jackie knows why she didn’t make more of an effort with Ellie: Marcus. Marcus is Jackie’s everything; friend, confidante, and the calm amid the chaos of Jackie’s unconventional packed-to-the-rafters home life in a higgledy-piggledy house that she shares not only with her parents, but with an aunt, an uncle and an array of cousins. Jackie’s days are hectic –filled with endless chores and babysitting duties – but her nights, those are for Marcus; after dark make-out sessions in the basement, and midnight swims in the lake. Marcus and Jackie’s relationship is conducted in hidden moments and stolen glances; it’s a secret that nobody knows about, but them. And it works. It works because Marcus and Jackie’s relationship has rules. Rules to live by. Rules that must be obeyed. Because Marcus is not just Jackie’s boyfriend; he’s also her cousin.

A bittersweet tale of forbidden romance infused with an intriguing background mystery, How We Fall is set amongst the backdrop of a sweltering Missouri summer; and it’s the perfect backdrop for this book with all the uncomfortable frustrations and yearnings of Marcus and Jackie’s illicit romance.  Their romance isn’t illicit in the illegal sense – they are first-cousins and their romance is not deemed incest – but it is illicit in the sense that Jackie knows it would tear their family apart if their parents ever found out.  How We Fall is Kate Brauning’s debut novel and it is beautifully written – a joy to read. I was completely hooked on this book from start to very finish – and I kind of found it by accident. I stopped to read the synopsis of this book only by chance when I was procrastinating on Edelweiss one night. As you do.  Sometimes I’m just so glad that I’m a total time waster.

Let me tell you about Marcus and Jackie. Their relationship is hot. And it is heart-wrenching. I was really rooting for these guys, even though on paper their relationship just spells disaster. But I couldn’t not root for them. They are so right for each other – in every way but one. And because of that, it has to stop.  Jackie needs to move on. And so does Marcus, which he duly does - striking up a relationship with new-girl-in-town Sylvia who makes it very obvious that she is so into him. But Jackie feels that something is not quite right with Sylvia – and it’s not just because she’s crazy jealous of her thing with Marcus –well, it is a little bit, but more and more as Jackie uncovers Sylvia’s secrets, she find that they just might involve Ellie. Now, what could this new girl know about Jackie’s old friend? And can Jackie find out before it’s too late – for her and for Marcus?

How We Fall is very character and romance driven with a huge focus on Marcus and Jackie’s relationship, but the mystery of Ellie’s disappearance is always there in the background; a dark cloud that blots sunny skies and adds a constant hint of danger to this expertly woven tale. 

*****

Extras: I want to talk a little more about Jackie before I wrap up. And Will. I need to talk about Will.

First up, Jackie: she’s a feisty, headstrong character who knows her own mind and is very relatable. She’s funny too: she doesn’t take herself too seriously – and she’s compassionate. Jackie’s got a good heart. You will root for her. I also loved that Jackie’s loves old movies (me too!) and she blogs about them. Yes – Jackie is a blogger. Yay!

And Will. Guys, Will was my favourite character. Yeah, I totally shipped Jackie and Marcus, but I wanted Will for me. Ha! Will is this guy Jackie hooks up with when she and Marcus are on the outs. Will is very, very hot. He’s also a total flirt with all the worst (best!) lines – and he has a heart of gold. There’s a lot more to Will than first meets the eye. I tweeted Kate Brauning and said that Will totally needs his own book. She replied saying that she is working on Will’s book right now. Yay!

Oh, wow! My review turned into a ramble. All you need to know is that How We Fall is one of my favourite reads of 2014.  What a find. I loved this book!

7 comments :

  1. ChristinaBookAddict1 December 2014 at 12:32

    Awesome review! You have me excited for this one, especially since you enjoyed it so much. Will sounds like my kind of character and I love the setting of a Missouri summer. Thanks for the great review…definitely adding this to my TBR list.

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  2. Jess Hearts Books1 December 2014 at 18:46

    Ohhh! I hadn't heard of this book before but it is going on my wishlist. Both the romance and mystery definitely appeal to me. A favourite read of yours I am sure to enjoy! Thanks for your review :)

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  3. I really think you'd like this one, Christina! It was such a great find for me and I'm super excited that Will is getting his own book! :)

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  4. I can't wait to see what you think of this one if you read it, Jess!

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  5. Liz @ Planet Print7 December 2014 at 14:52

    Somehow have not heard of this book before, but I love the sound of it! I have a feeling Will would be my favourite as well. I'm already excited he's getting his own book, and I haven't even read this one yet! Glad you enjoyed the book. I'll definitely have to add it to my TBR seeing as it's one of your favourites of the year. Great review, thanks :).

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  6. I haven't really seen this book around the blogosphere but it is well worth checking out. Will is the best. I was so happy when I heard he'll be getting his own book. There is so much more to his story than we learned in this book and I can't wait to find out more!

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  7. kirstymariejonesstudioreads12 December 2014 at 15:44

    I've read so many great reviews for this but I'm still indecisive, mainly because of the whole romance between cousins, it's debatable, but it does sound like it's done right, and it wouldn't bother me unless they grew up together. it doesn't bother me that much unless they have, I find that more yucky. The same with step-siblings, (which I don't get why anyone thinks that's incest, since they're not blood...) Sounds like an emotional one that's for sure.

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