Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Fall With Me
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Format I Read: Paperback
Pages: 389
Genres: Romance, Realistic Fiction, New Adult
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Stars: 3
Goodreads Link

Let me preface this review with this: I have not read the rest of the Wait for You novels. I do own a few of them, but I haven't read them. Fall With Me is the fourth in the string of relatively standalone novels. This book was similar to When I'm Gone by Abbi Glines, as both can be read as a standalone but are more satisfying if you've read the prior books. The rest of the cast in the novel has been featured in the previous books; being more aware of who they are (and who is dating who) would make the book much more enjoyable! So though Fall With Me can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the rest of the series first.

However, in general, this novel was pretty satisfying! For those who don't know what it's about:

Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.

I liked the book. It was interesting. I love how Armentrout tackles issues. It was so cool to see a novel that straight-up said, "You don't have to go to college to be successful." The messages in Fall With Me were just so fantastic. There was an air of forgiveness in the Charlie plot line (Charlie is relatively brain dead after an incident that Roxy takes the blame for). There was the reminder that the most important thing in life is to be happy, not focus on others' expectations of you. You have to live for yourself. And then there was also the theme of falling. Yes, falling for someone and putting your faith in another person is risky and scary. But it's so worth it. You need to let yourself go in order to enjoy life. Honestly, I love the deep, reassuring messages that Armentrout always threads into her novels.

Unfortunately, the novel itself was a little lackluster for me. Like I said, I liked it. I just didn't really love it. There were so many plot lines going on: the Charlie struggle with his failing health and Roxy's guilt, Roxy's stalker and the investigation of a serial rapist, and Roxy's relationship with Reece. It was a little overwhelming, but still very well done.

I also have something to say about Armentrout's writing style. I usually love how realistic she makes it. It feels like stream of consciousness, in that it feels like Roxy (and Armentrout's other characters) is actually talking to the reader. She includes references to things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who and Game of Thrones in a way that the book doesn't feel very far removed from real life. That's very refreshing in a book! However, it can make the writing style a little juvenile. Roxy said (in her head) that she was going to make some sort of her food "her bitch" at least a handful of times. It was funny at first, but then it just because silly. People rarely actually say that kind of stuff and it feels like the author is just trying a little too hard.

Additionally, I struggled with some of Armentrout's minor characters. Particularly, a random character named Jacob, who was only featured for one scene. He seemed very forced. I also didn't like Katie, just because the way she was treated in the novel was so weird. Katie, Roxy's close friend and a stripper, is very fun and strong-willed and flamboyant. Roxy constantly defends her and I loved how Armentrout drew attention to the fact that the stripper occupation shouldn't have such a stigma. However, I felt like she was just a stock character. She was constantly wearing flamboyant and bizarre clothes; she constantly popped into a scene and then popped back out; she didn't really seem to have any depth. I wished that Armentrout developed her a little more because I felt that she had a lot of potential!

But along with Roxy's defense of Katie, I loved Roxy's take on feminism! Armentrout wonderfully delineated the fact that a woman can be strong and still want a man. Roxy often admitted that, yes, she can do things herself, but that doesn't mean she loves Reece's affections and protections any less. I thought that was a really fantastic statement!

Overall, the novel was good. A nice read that gives you a hefty dose of everything: romance, excitement, and redemption!