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

the year we fell downTitle: The Year We Fell Down
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: contemporary sports romance
Links:

Blurb:
he 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 Review:
I’ve had this on my Kindle for months but I only picked it up after I read another book by this author (Coming in from the Cold) and I loved her writing style so much that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into another one of her stories.

Corey is an amazingly strong MC. She’s been through the wringer and back but she doesn’t let it beat her down. Determined to forge a new path in life, she enrolls at Harkness and meets Adam Hartley on the first day. Adam is hot but he has a really really really (yes it deserved three reallys) annoying cow of a girlfriend. The only bright spark was the fact that she was going on a sabbatical to Paris for a semester so we didn’t have to put up with her too much. Yay.

Corey and Hartley hit it off and become firm friends, though her lingering crush is developing into something much deeper. They bond over their disabilities (hers permanent, his temp) and their love of hockey.

There are some great side characters in this novel too – Dana, Bridger, Daniel in particular.

The plot wasn’t overly original and there weren’t any major shockers – I was pretty much expecting the reveleations that come out in the second half of the book. I knew there was some reason why Hartley was putting up with that idiot Sasia, and there were enough hints on the family drama to give it away. The beauty is in the exemplary execution of the story and the flowing, fluid writing style.

I really connected emotionally with both mains and I felt Corey’s pain and heartache and Hartley’s fear of rejection.

Hartley lost some bonus points from me after Sasia returned from her Paris trip. He knew she was screwing around with some other dude but was prepared to overlook that? ( I know they had a ‘deal’ but still) Also, he just spent the night with Corey and then allows Sasia to kiss the face off him in front of her? So not cool. I was hopping mad with him, but he redeemed himself in spectacular fashion so I forgave him.

The disability storyline was sensitively handled and Corey had a very pragmatic approach to her limitations. I’m not sure how realistic that was though, but I can’t comment as I don’t have a disability or know anyone that does. I would have expected it to take her longer to come to terms with her changed circumstances and at least experience some prejudice, but neither was the case here. I thought for sure that Sasia would throw that at her when Hartley dumped her, but that didn’t materialize.

All in all though this was a fanstastic read. If the two books I’ve just read by Ms. Bowen are any indication, she is fast becoming a new favorite author. I love character driven books that aren’t afraid to tackle sensitive moral or emotional topics and ones that delve deep into the psyche of the characters. Ms. Bowen has shown clear talent for snuggling deep under her characters skin and we gain well developed, complex characters as a result. I will definitely be checking out more of her work.

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