The Girl Who Fell
Shannon M. Parker
Publication: March 1, 2016
Source: Netgalley, e-ARC
I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
High school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.
Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.
But love has a way of changing things.
Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.
Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?
But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.
So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.
If she waits any longer, it may be too late.
I have been interested in this book since April 2015 when the only description it had was :
A YA debut in which a high school senior mistakes her boyfriend’s physical and mental manipulations for devotion, only to discover the truth when it may be too late.
That right there hooked me and I knew I had to read it.
There are a plethora of examples in YA Lit of unhealthy and borderline, if not straight up abusive relationships. And the majority of readers rarely acknowledge them. Instead the asshole love interests are lauded and adored and the relationships are set as standards of true love. And it’s bullshit.
This book is so important because it shows just how wrong relationships like these can end up.
Personally, it was an extremely hard book to read. I saw SO much of my 16-year-old self with her first boyfriend and her first love in Zephyr. Of course, my relationship wasn’t as abusive as the one presented in this one, but still. It has taken me over a decade to recognize that a lot of what happened in that relationship was incredibly unhealthy. Anyone who has experienced the all-consuming, need to spend every second with someone, type of first love that usually manifests in high school students will be able to connect with Zephyr.
It was also hard to read just because you already know how it ends. The synopsis and the opening chapter sets up how things turn out, so you go in knowing that shit is going to hit the fan and it is so hard to see Zephyr realize that for herself. The entire time I just wanted to jump into the book and shake her and make her see what was so obvious to the reader.
The writing was superb. Parker did a wonderful job of slowly building up to the climax of the book, subtly showing how unstable Alec was, but was also able to make it seem so reasonable that Zephyr didn’t recognize it for what it was. Alec’s emotional manipulation was so ingrained in the text that sometimes I had to even reread a few sections to see it myself. Honestly, the writing was the highlight of this book.
Zephyr’s friends Gregg and Lizzie were interesting characters. They weren’t nearly as developed as Zephyr or even Alec, but they added an interesting touch. 500 points for a great female friendship, and a great friend who sticks by Zephyr even when she is ditched multiple times. Gregg was a bit of a jerk at times, but he was still a good friend.
There was also the subplot with her father who walked out on her and her mother the previous summer and it was interesting and totally played into the overall plot, but I was really just here for the “romance”.
My only real complaint is that the ending seemed a tad rushed, but honestly, it’s fine. It didn’t detract from the powerful message. I read this in one sitting. I was hooked from the moment I started, and only took a few breaks when my anxiety was about to hit the roof and I just couldn’t read anymore. This book reminded me so much of a tamer Fear, the 1996 movie with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon, minus the iconic rollercoaster scene. So if you’re a fan of the movie and you like YA, I would say that this is a must read (And you aren’t a fan of the movie, you’re wrong because it’s a cinematic masterpiece. JK. But really…NICOLE 4EVA.)