Even If I Fall
A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.

Even If I Fall Details

TitleEven If I Fall
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherInkyard Press
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Even If I Fall Review

  • (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
    January 1, 1970
    "The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it..." - Nicholas Sparks A book that emotionally captures you, breaks your heart and still manages to simultaneously fill you with hope. Even if I Fall was all that for me and more!Brooke Covington's brother is in jail after confessing to his best friend Calvin's murder and as a result her once close knit, loving family is unravelling around her. Being the family of a murderer in a small town isn't easy. They become so "The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it..." - Nicholas Sparks A book that emotionally captures you, breaks your heart and still manages to simultaneously fill you with hope. Even if I Fall was all that for me and more!Brooke Covington's brother is in jail after confessing to his best friend Calvin's murder and as a result her once close knit, loving family is unravelling around her. Being the family of a murderer in a small town isn't easy. They become social pariah's forcing Brooke, her parents and her younger sister Laura to live as recluses in their home. When Brooke sees Calvin's younger brother, Heath, stuck in the rain on the side of the road she is compelled to offer him help. Inexplicably, Heath accepts Brooke's offer and finds himself in a car with the sister of his brother's murderer. Soon they are meeting in secret. They are drawn to each other, finding solace and understanding in one another. Yet, they each know because of their family's shared past their relationship can't really go anywhere. Can it? "When he reaches for me, I know that I'm going to do everything I can to make sure he stays awake." What follows is raw emotion and so much heartache. Each family is struggling to cope in the wake of unimaginable tragedy. Abigail Johnson did an outstanding job of sharing each character's grief. I was pulled in to the story and it had my heart in a vise grip.I was fully invested in Brooke and Heath's story. I wanted them both to find a way to heal and be happy. This is a story not to be missed. It was a beautiful, emotional, heartbreaking and thought provoking story of broken people struggling to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and trying to find a way to live again.Thank you Abigail Johnson, Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an arc of this book.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    "The first fireworks burst in the darkening sky. I'm suddenly afraid, and my feet have barely left the ground."Even if I Fall is a stunningly spectacular emotional read that deserves all the rare 5 stars. Brooke's older brother Jason has been in prison serving time for the murder of his best friend Cal. Brooke and her family have been trying their best to keep the family unit together but the town continues to shun the family away for the murder.Brooke has ultimately given up her dream of being "The first fireworks burst in the darkening sky. I'm suddenly afraid, and my feet have barely left the ground."Even if I Fall is a stunningly spectacular emotional read that deserves all the rare 5 stars. Brooke's older brother Jason has been in prison serving time for the murder of his best friend Cal. Brooke and her family have been trying their best to keep the family unit together but the town continues to shun the family away for the murder.Brooke has ultimately given up her dream of being a professional ice skater to help mend the wounds of her family. Brooke's father throws himself into his woodworking career and refuses to see his son Jason in prison along with Brooke's younger sister Laura who has withdrawn completely from everyone. All Brooke has right now is her job at the ice skating rink and her new best friend Maggie. One day Maggie runs into the younger brother of the boy her brother murdered Heath in town. Slowly, a relationship starts to build and they realize that they two are the only ones that understand each other."When he reaches for me, I know that I'm going to do everything I can to make sure he stays awake."How can I describe this story? It's so much more than meets the eyes. I can truly tell you with my entire soul that THIS is something you WILL not or SHOULD not miss. This is a beautifully thought provoking novel that will have your heart bleeding with emotions. Such a stellar 5 star read!! Huge thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to read this arc in exchange for my honest review.Publication date: 1/8/19Published to GR: 10/29/18
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  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    The world has been a scary place for Brooke ever since her older brother—her hero—confessed to murdering his best friend a year ago. She’s tried so hard to stay under the radar and keep her family afloat, but how can she be strong when the murder victim’s younger brother suddenly appears in her life, and an unexpected bond forms despite the haunting past between their families? I love a good, tragic romantic contemporary read, so when I saw the synopsis for Even if I Fall, I was like, yo, sign The world has been a scary place for Brooke ever since her older brother—her hero—confessed to murdering his best friend a year ago. She’s tried so hard to stay under the radar and keep her family afloat, but how can she be strong when the murder victim’s younger brother suddenly appears in her life, and an unexpected bond forms despite the haunting past between their families? I love a good, tragic romantic contemporary read, so when I saw the synopsis for Even if I Fall, I was like, yo, sign me up for some heartache and angst, and man, did I get what I asked for or what? → L I K E S : Jason was gone. My family was shattered. And dreams no longer fit into the nightmare we lived in. Brooke, first of all, is such an easy character to empathize with and feel totally sorry for. Even though her brother is the alleged murderer in the situation, I think writing from Brooke’s POV was bold and paid off well, because it helps put you into this mindset where you can begin to imagine just how painful life would be for a good, decent human being who’s just watched their beloved family member do something evil and unspeakable—and it also pays a helpful reminder that we can’t judge people for what their family members have done, because blood relation doesn’t make them the same person. I’ll have to smile the whole time and convince us that we’re going to be okay, that the next thirty years of once-a-week visits will be over before we know it, that watching the guards take him away afterward isn’t like having a piece of heart ripped from my chest. Besides how much I enjoyed Brooke, the plot itself is really fascinating to watch unfold. I can’t say much without going into spoiler territory, but I will say that I didn’t expect some of the places Abigail Johnson took the story to, and I mean that in a good way—I was taken off guard in the best way and left with my jaw dropping like, “Did that really just happen?!” at one point. I want, for just a moment, to reach for his hand, if only to hold on to someone else’s hurt so I don’t have to feel my own. The last major thing I want to mention here isn’t even super relevant to the review, but I have to say it: Brooke’s best friend Maggie is such a precious little ball of sunshine and I loved her SO MUCH. She’s a plus-size biracial Korean/white girl who’s obsessed with makeup and fast cars, and no lie, I would’ve loved to have Maggie as my bestie as a teen (or now, for that matter!). → D I S L I K E S : We keep trying not to hurt each other. But I did and he did. We are. The only issue I had with Even if I Fall, and the reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of a solid, raving 5, is that the narrative style was a struggle for me sometimes. Overall it was well-done and showed a lot of potential, but there were definitely moments where the dialogue felt unnatural or was hard to follow due to the writing choices. → F I N A L THOUGHTS : Overall, it’s not a perfect read, but it’s a delightfully captivating read that will make your heart ache and give you warm fuzzies over and over (usually in alternating order, because this book likes to ‘giveth and taketh away’ a lot). I enjoyed it tremendously and didn’t want to put it down, and I definitely would be interested in reading more from this author! → RECOMMENDING TO… : Readers who like tragic YA contemporary with a touch of romance, and can handle the tough topics discussed within.Content warnings for descriptions of murder and violence, bullying, depression, griefAll quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Inkyard Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Abigail Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    My third book is available now! Check out the book trailer if you haven't already!
  • Princess
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Teen in exchange for my honest review. I am completely blown away by this book. I had all the feelings and am in awe. I loved the writing style and was completely absorbed in this story. My heart broke for Brooke and her whole family .It was so painful to see how everyone suffered, but so worth it to see how they came through in the end. A magnificent story and I can’t wait to read others by This author. I just ordered some!! I will hav I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Teen in exchange for my honest review. I am completely blown away by this book. I had all the feelings and am in awe. I loved the writing style and was completely absorbed in this story. My heart broke for Brooke and her whole family .It was so painful to see how everyone suffered, but so worth it to see how they came through in the end. A magnificent story and I can’t wait to read others by This author. I just ordered some!! I will have a review on my blog Princessofpages.com soon!!
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5 StarsBrooke's brother may have been the one, who committed the crime, but her whole family became prisoners. They were shunned by their neighbors and friends, and forced to give up their jobs and their dreams, but the worst part was that they abandoned each other. Then Brooke found comfort in an unlikely source, but nurturing this forbidden friendship could shatter her already fragile family. • Pro: Abigail Johnson is so good at taking me on an emotional roller coaster! I swear I exp Rating: 4.5 StarsBrooke's brother may have been the one, who committed the crime, but her whole family became prisoners. They were shunned by their neighbors and friends, and forced to give up their jobs and their dreams, but the worst part was that they abandoned each other. Then Brooke found comfort in an unlikely source, but nurturing this forbidden friendship could shatter her already fragile family. • Pro: Abigail Johnson is so good at taking me on an emotional roller coaster! I swear I experienced every single emotion known while reading this book. • Pro: This family was so broken, and their pain emanated from the page. There was a good deal of focus on the family's struggle with reconciling the son and brother they loved with this cold-blooded killer he became. I shed tears for this family, because I can only imagine how difficult their situation was, and my heart broke for them. • Pro: I loved Brooke. She made some mistakes in this book by isolating herself and pushing people away, but she never gave up on her family. • Pro: The relationship between Brooke and Heath was so complicated and messy and wonderful. They could understand each other in a way other people couldn't. It was really beautiful seeing those two working through some of the fallout together, and I was shipping them the whole time. • Pro: Brooke was an ice skater, and I really enjoyed all parts featuring the sport, but more than that, it was what made her feel alive, and I loved the whole idea of this, and how she slowly allowed herself to have that again. • Pro: This book was equal parts family drama, friendship saga, mystery, and romance. Johnson combined all the elements brilliantly, and I found myself fully engrossed in this story. Overall: A beautiful story of broken people trying to pick up the pieces and begin living again, which warmed my heart and left me hopeful.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Even If I Fall! It's an outstanding contemporary ya about Brooke, a 17 year old who has seen her family fall apart after her brother, Jason, was convicted of murdering his friend Cal. Brooke has given up on her dream of ice skating professionally to be with her her mother, who basically lives to see Jason once a week in prison, her father, who has thrown himself into his woodworking career, and her little sister, Laura, who has withdrawn from everything and everyone.It's summer, and apar I loved Even If I Fall! It's an outstanding contemporary ya about Brooke, a 17 year old who has seen her family fall apart after her brother, Jason, was convicted of murdering his friend Cal. Brooke has given up on her dream of ice skating professionally to be with her her mother, who basically lives to see Jason once a week in prison, her father, who has thrown himself into his woodworking career, and her little sister, Laura, who has withdrawn from everything and everyone.It's summer, and apart from her job at the town ice skating rink that she's barely managing to keep because her boss, alongside everyone else in town, despises her and her family, all Brooke has is her new (and new arrival to town) friend, Maggie, who she tries to keep from finding out the truth about her brother and his crime.Then she runs into Heath...who is the younger brother of the boy her brother murdered. They should hate each other but as they start to talk, they realize that they understand each other. While the town pities Heath and his family and scorns Brooke and hers, no one sees the pain each of them are truly in except each other.A slow and utterly beautiful romance builds, one that's believable in all the complexity that's layered in. Over the summer, as Brooke and Heath fall for each other, both have to deal with their own demons as well as the lingering cracks in their families. Brooke was such a great character--flawed yet relatable--and her growth towards understanding what her brother did and to realizing her dreams had me rooting for her all the way Heath was swoon worthy. He was just so...awesome! He was smart and kind and sweet and not perfect, which made him even better. And he and Brooke together are Wow! Yes, they are capital letter good. This an incredibly well written and thought provoking novel. It would be a perfect fit for any Sarah Dessen fan or for anyone who loves complex contemporary YA. I'll be pushing this one hard at the store and in the library and will pair it with Ms Johnson's first novel, If I Fix You, and The Pact by Jodi Picoult for adults and with Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen for teens. Tldr: A complex and beautifully written young adult novel that's heartbreaking and heartwarming--so good you'll want to read it more than once to fall back into it again.
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  • Amy-GallivantingPages
    January 1, 1970
    *** 4 Stars***Expected Publication: Jan 8th, 2019What an emotional story this was. Brooke's older brother Jason, confessed to murdering his best friend Cal and is in prison. Brooke ends up offering to help Cal's younger brother, Heath, with a ride in the rain. From there a friendship and quite unique relationship ensues. Reading the pain that Brooke is dealing with what her brother did and Heath's pain from losing his brother, you can only imagine how damaged these two people are and why they ma *** 4 Stars***Expected Publication: Jan 8th, 2019What an emotional story this was. Brooke's older brother Jason, confessed to murdering his best friend Cal and is in prison. Brooke ends up offering to help Cal's younger brother, Heath, with a ride in the rain. From there a friendship and quite unique relationship ensues. Reading the pain that Brooke is dealing with what her brother did and Heath's pain from losing his brother, you can only imagine how damaged these two people are and why they may in some way be able to understand one another better. I will admit this story was slow and hit a point where I didn't understand where this story would go. BUT, then when the final mystery is revealed, I was literally jaw dropped. I had so many theories and I wasn't even close! The ending was incredible, tears were streaming down my face; definitely worth the slow burn to get there. Highly recommend this! Special thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for allowing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely love picking up books by Abigail Johnson because I know that I will adore them. They put your through an emotional wringer but they never disappoint. Such is true of her latest title, Even If I Fall. Stunning and heartfelt writing combine with an incredible story of loss, anger, guilt and family breakdown. A story about things you can’t explain much less come to terms with. A story of hope and love, friendship and support. Even If I Fall will entrance readers; perfect for fans of em I absolutely love picking up books by Abigail Johnson because I know that I will adore them. They put your through an emotional wringer but they never disappoint. Such is true of her latest title, Even If I Fall. Stunning and heartfelt writing combine with an incredible story of loss, anger, guilt and family breakdown. A story about things you can’t explain much less come to terms with. A story of hope and love, friendship and support. Even If I Fall will entrance readers; perfect for fans of emotional contemporary YA fiction.A year ago, two families shattered. One through grief and the loss of a son and brother, the other through confusion and guilt and unanswered questions. Now, Brooke feels like she’s the only one holding her family together, visiting her brother in prison, supporting her mother, facing her father’s avoidance and trying to draw her sister out of her silence. But even her new friend, who knows nothing of the tragedy of last year, can’t drown out the pain, guilt and judgemental looks. Until, Brooke passes Heath walking down the road during a thunderstorm and offers him a lift. As the sister of the boy who killed his brother, Heath shouldn’t want anything do to with her, but slowly, they forge their way towards a shaky friendship. But the consequences - to both their families, to themselves and the secrets that have yet to be revealed, might bring only more grief and trauma.Even If I Fall deals with the difficult topic of murder. Like Brooke I kept waiting for some kind of explanation or justification, but Even If I Fall instead focuses on that impossible balance between loving someone for who they are and hating what they have done. All the emotions are so powerful and I never saw the twists coming.As Brooke and Heath continue to face the emotional fallout of their situation, they slowly find comfort in each other. It certainly isn’t a smooth beginning to their relationship - the feelings they’re wrestling with aren’t easy, and I loved that that wasn’t brushed over for the sake of romance. Yet, slowly, a trust and tentative friendship develops out of understanding. Friendship (Brooke’s friendship with new-to-town Maggie), family (Brooke’s family is falling apart in the wake of their brother and son’s actions and Brooke is not sure how to help them) and dreams (Brooke’s goal has always been to become a professional ice skater but she must decide if this is still the right path for her) are prominent features of the story. They give the story depth and balance between the romance. Even If I Fall is another stunning offering by Abigail Johnson. I can’t wait to share it with our library readers and I eagerly await Abigail Johnson’s next book, which is sure to be just as deeply layered, emotional and a thrill to read. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's LibraryUpdate:A beautiful cover for what is sure to be a beautiful story. I can’t wait!!! Even If I Fall sounds sooooooo good. And it’s written by Abigail Johnson, so of course it is going to be fantastic.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    This Ya novel which I won from Goodreads is a very emotional read. It is the story of two broken families trying to cope and heal after a murder. The son/brother of one family is murdered and the other son/brother has been convicted of the crime. Both families are broken, hurting, and deal with their loss in sad ways. An unlikely relationship develops between Brooke, the sister of the convicted, and Heath, the younger brother of the young man that died. The story is sad but so well written that This Ya novel which I won from Goodreads is a very emotional read. It is the story of two broken families trying to cope and heal after a murder. The son/brother of one family is murdered and the other son/brother has been convicted of the crime. Both families are broken, hurting, and deal with their loss in sad ways. An unlikely relationship develops between Brooke, the sister of the convicted, and Heath, the younger brother of the young man that died. The story is sad but so well written that I grieved right along with both families. I am giving this novel a 4 star rating because the story is genuine and heartfelt. I usually don’t give YA novels 4 stars but this one deserves the high rating!
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  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    Even If I Fall is an incredibly raw and emotional story that will pull on your heart strings. Brooke and Heath's journey to healing and acceptance was so tentative and awkward in the best possible ways. They were stilted and unsure and realistic. It was so easy to become completely invested in their story and what they were going through - no matter how not universal their situations were. Once I picked this up, I couldn't put it down. It reminded me that getting so completely lost in a story is Even If I Fall is an incredibly raw and emotional story that will pull on your heart strings. Brooke and Heath's journey to healing and acceptance was so tentative and awkward in the best possible ways. They were stilted and unsure and realistic. It was so easy to become completely invested in their story and what they were going through - no matter how not universal their situations were. Once I picked this up, I couldn't put it down. It reminded me that getting so completely lost in a story is one of the best feeling in the world. It was just a joy to read and I can't wait to read more from Abigail Johnson.I received a copy of the book from Inkyard Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
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  • Hayley
    January 1, 1970
    This book was beautiful. Its a contemporary romance so you get some heat but nothing to drastic which I like. Our main character Brooke, and her family, are trying to heal after Brooke's older brother, Jason, did the unthinkable. The unthinkable being the murder of his best friend, Cal. The family moves to a new city and Brooke tries everything she can think of to stop from fixating on her brother's terrible crime. With everyone in town looking at her like she is a pariah she tries her best to This book was beautiful. Its a contemporary romance so you get some heat but nothing to drastic which I like. Our main character Brooke, and her family, are trying to heal after Brooke's older brother, Jason, did the unthinkable. The unthinkable being the murder of his best friend, Cal. The family moves to a new city and Brooke tries everything she can think of to stop from fixating on her brother's terrible crime. With everyone in town looking at her like she is a pariah she tries her best to stay out of the lime light. That is when she runs into Heath. Heath as it turns out was Cal's younger brother. The two don't have the best relationship in the beginning, especially after what happened with their siblings, and the anger rises from both sides. However after the two are forced to work together at the same job that is when they start to connect, their anger, and sadness helps express their connection that only the two of them can have. This book had a really good writing style to it, it really made you get involved in the story and the characters. I devoured this book in one sitting it was so interesting, every page turned into the other and I got so wrapped up in what was happening in the book I didn't even notice how much I had read until the book was finished. The writing was simple but not enough to make it boring. It really made you view everything the way you wanted without being over saturated with unnecessary descriptions. I also liked how this book was in parts almost, the relationship between Brooke and Heath, what actually happened the night of Cal's murder, and the family dynamic both of the grieving family as well as the family dealing with their child/brother in jail. This book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and I'm glad I got to be part of the ride. This is one of the best books that I've read in a while. Everyone needs to check this out, you will never tire of reading this story.
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  • Stephanie (earlgreyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this sweet, heartbreaking story of two families dealing with grief and tragedy. It has been a year since Brooke’s brother Jason has been in jail, since he confessed to the murder of his best friend, Cal. For a year Brooke and her family have been barely getting by. They have been living in almost isolation due to the shame and rejection of their community. When Brooke offers a ride to Cal’s brother Heath on a rainy day, she finds that he is one person who can relate to the terrible loss I loved this sweet, heartbreaking story of two families dealing with grief and tragedy. It has been a year since Brooke’s brother Jason has been in jail, since he confessed to the murder of his best friend, Cal. For a year Brooke and her family have been barely getting by. They have been living in almost isolation due to the shame and rejection of their community. When Brooke offers a ride to Cal’s brother Heath on a rainy day, she finds that he is one person who can relate to the terrible loss that her family is feeling. This book is so much more than a romance between two unlikely characters. The struggles of Brooke’s family after the tragedy really tore at my heart. Here, we get a unique perspective from a teen who has done something that alters the rest of his life. It starts out slowly as Brooke gets to know Heath and their relationship grows, but at this time she also starts pushing Jason for answers. I wasn’t expecting any kind of mystery here, and I was truly surprised by what she discovers in her search. The characters are so well written that I could really feel their pain, and felt myself lifting up with them as they began to find their way. Even if I Fall is a beautiful story of love, family, and friendship, and despite the heavy topic, it left me hopeful and inspired… and maybe with a few tears. I highly recommend this one!Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
    January 1, 1970
    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of EVEN IF I FALL by Abigail Johnson in exchange for my honest review.***After Jason kills his best friend Cal, his sister Brooke’s life shatters. She no longer training to become a competitive skater and studying online instead of in school. Betrayed by her friends, Brooke meets Maggie, new to town, the only person who doesn’t look at her like a murderer’s sister. To keep Maggie’s friendship, Brooke lies about her brother. The only pe ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of EVEN IF I FALL by Abigail Johnson in exchange for my honest review.***After Jason kills his best friend Cal, his sister Brooke’s life shatters. She no longer training to become a competitive skater and studying online instead of in school. Betrayed by her friends, Brooke meets Maggie, new to town, the only person who doesn’t look at her like a murderer’s sister. To keep Maggie’s friendship, Brooke lies about her brother. The only person to whom she can speak honestly is Heath, Carl’s brother. Brooke and Heath know they should become friends, but...I thought EVEN IF I FALL might be a predictable, like a Disney movie with the ending tied in a near bow. While some of the plot was easy to figure out, other twists and turns showed me I underestimated Abigail Johnson’s storytelling. I couldn’t help but root for Brooke, with her many flaws and good heart. I understood why she kept Jason from Maggie, knowing the secrets would end in disaster. I also championed Brooke and Heath, hoping evidence would clear Jason, despite his confession.Johnson writes great characters and interesting plots. Even minor characters have personalities and quirks. No one is all good or bad. Family plays a big part in her books which gives her narrators more depth as we see them interacting in multiple situations.EVEN IF I FALL is an emotionally charged story of family and friendship in the aftermath of a murder.
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  • Bookgasms Book Blog
    January 1, 1970
    Of all the fascinating, heartbreaking, compelling storylines - this one just might take the cake. I was drawn to the premise immediately, and the writing sucked me right in. It's an interesting story, and the writing is smart and relatable and the whole thing felt so REAL sometimes. That said, it wasn't a flawless read for me. I felt like the pacing was a little off and there were times I felt things got bogged down and maybe a little repetitive. It was also downright depressing sometimes. Which Of all the fascinating, heartbreaking, compelling storylines - this one just might take the cake. I was drawn to the premise immediately, and the writing sucked me right in. It's an interesting story, and the writing is smart and relatable and the whole thing felt so REAL sometimes. That said, it wasn't a flawless read for me. I felt like the pacing was a little off and there were times I felt things got bogged down and maybe a little repetitive. It was also downright depressing sometimes. Which, I mean, given the subject matter should not be surprising and, while I didn't love the way this made me feel, I did appreciate that it felt very real. I felt like Ms. Johnson did a great job capturing the stages of grief and fallout for all the people touched by this sort of tragedy.In all, it was well worth the read, even if it was a little tough to read sometimes. It's not quite a romance, though there is a romance featured. It's more a story of a family learning to grow and heal after a tragic event that rocked their worlds. While I never felt super connected to Brooke, the writing and the storyline itself always kept me wanting to know more and I felt very satisfied with the ending, which delivered on the hope I'd been yearning for throughout the entire story. ~ 3.5 Stars
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  • Skye ~ A Court of Binge Reading
    January 1, 1970
    ***Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review*** “I can’t find the words to explain myself or to tell her that just because I’m not slamming things or crying doesn’t mean I’m not hurting any less.” Prepare to feel all of the emotions with this stunningly heart-wrenching contemporary novel. This is the first book I have read by Abigail Johnson, and now I’m scrambling to add all of her others to my TBR list. That is how much I love her writi ***Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review*** “I can’t find the words to explain myself or to tell her that just because I’m not slamming things or crying doesn’t mean I’m not hurting any less.” Prepare to feel all of the emotions with this stunningly heart-wrenching contemporary novel. This is the first book I have read by Abigail Johnson, and now I’m scrambling to add all of her others to my TBR list. That is how much I love her writing. Even if I Fall is a story about the aftermath of a murder conviction. Brooke Covington’s brother, Jason, confessed to killing his best friend, Cal, a year ago. Ever since that fateful day, Brooke and her family’s lives have been irrevocably changed. Brooke and her younger sister, Laura, are now homeschooled due to being bullied and ostracized at school. Brooke’s mom hides her pain by acting as if Jason is just away at college while also taking off on random runs throughout the day. Brooke’s father spends all of his time in the basement working. Laura has shut down emotionally and physically. All she ever does is listen to music or watch TV on her phone. Needless to say, Brooke feels lonely. No one wants to speak about Jason or what happened that fateful night, but Brooke needs to; she’s plagued by nightmares of the various possibilities of that night. She’s desperately trying to reconcile the brother she knows and loves with this version of him that has committed a heinous crime. There doesn’t seem to be anyone who can relate to Brooke--except Heath, Cal’s brother. At first, Brooke feels undeniable guilt when she sees Heath on the side of the road with his broken-down truck. How can she feel sad about her life when she still has her brother and he doesn’t? How can she feel happy knowing her brother took away his? After a few encounters, Brooke and Heath find themselves drawn to the other. No one else quite understands their respective situations. Together they learn how to navigate the rocky terrain of their brothers and learn that they aren't a reflection of their siblings. I can’t say enough great things about this book. Johnson’s words convey such raw, real feelings that I was brought to tears...numerous times. The love Brooke has for her family is nothing short of beautiful. Her dedication, selflessness, and grief were written so incredibly well that I actually felt her internal struggles. I honestly cannot imagine how I would act if I were in her shoes. This is such a phenomenal story about grief, guilt, shame, and forgiveness. Even if I Fall explores how everyone navigates these emotions in vastly different ways that can actually be harmful to others. Some people shut down like Laura in the face of trauma, but shutting down can hurt those around you who need to vocalize their feelings such as Brooke. However, this is also a story about not letting someone’s past dictate your own future. When this book starts, Brooke has given up on her ice-skating dreams for her family even though deep down she clings to a kernel of hope that maybe one day she will skate professionally. One of my favorite themes from this book is forgiveness. Brooke has to learn how to forgive her whole family and herself for how they have dealt with this painful situation. But, she also has to learn that she never needed to take on her brother’s guilt for his actions. Though everyone in town acts as if she (and her whole family) too killed Cal, she didn’t. So why is she punishing herself for a crime she didn’t commit?I could go on and on about this book--which is why you should read it. I need people to discuss with about this book! This story is truly beautiful and I cannot recommend it enough.
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  • Sarah {Literary Meanderings}
    January 1, 1970
    This almost got 5 stars, but the end was a little predictable. Otherwise, freaking amazing!
  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    This is a one sitting, stay up late kind of book. ICYMI Abigail Johnson is my absolute favorite writer of families and Even If I Fall just completely cements it. How do you take two completely at-odds families and find a way to bridge them? I DON’T KNOW BUT ABIGAIL MAKES IT HAPPEN. Brooke: ice skater, daughter, best friend, sister to a brother who killed his best friendHeath: strong, quiet, brother to a boy who’s been killed by his best friendYou know this book is going to have a certain level o This is a one sitting, stay up late kind of book. ICYMI Abigail Johnson is my absolute favorite writer of families and Even If I Fall just completely cements it. How do you take two completely at-odds families and find a way to bridge them? I DON’T KNOW BUT ABIGAIL MAKES IT HAPPEN. Brooke: ice skater, daughter, best friend, sister to a brother who killed his best friendHeath: strong, quiet, brother to a boy who’s been killed by his best friendYou know this book is going to have a certain level of angst. Brooke and her family are the town outcasts but there’s no one who shuns her more than the family of the boy her brother killed. I thought this story was going to explore the murder more but I am glad it didn’t. Abigail did not go overboard trying to make Brooke’s brother sympathetic, though you can’t leave the story without wanting to changing everyone’s decisions. If you’re a fan of complex family situations, small town/rural dynamics, friendships, and swoon, Even If I Fall is the perfect read for you this winter!
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  • Jillian Bielen
    January 1, 1970
    To me, this book was perfect in so many ways. You have Brooke, a teenager who’s brother has been in prison for the last year. Her community has all but shunned her and her family. She happens to encounter the younger of the boy that her brother murdered. Together, Heath and Brooke are able to pick up the pieces of their lives and rebuild. Brooke is able to find the answers that she needs to move on. In the process however, she hurts some people. I’d like to think though, that she was helping the To me, this book was perfect in so many ways. You have Brooke, a teenager who’s brother has been in prison for the last year. Her community has all but shunned her and her family. She happens to encounter the younger of the boy that her brother murdered. Together, Heath and Brooke are able to pick up the pieces of their lives and rebuild. Brooke is able to find the answers that she needs to move on. In the process however, she hurts some people. I’d like to think though, that she was helping them find closure too. My heart broke for her little sister, Laura. I did wish that we had a heard a little more of what she wrote in her journal about what had happened that night and the questions Brooke had surrounding that time. *This e-book was sent to me via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Lily (latestreads)
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN for providing me with an ARC of this book. Some parts may have been changed as I did not read the final book. Please know that all of the expressed thoughts are my honest opinions.Even If I Fall was such a wonderful YA contemporary romance! When I started this book, I was a tad bit skeptical that I wouldn't like it. I typically either hate these super cliche "oh our families hate each other but we don't have to" stories or I love them. In this case, I l *Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN for providing me with an ARC of this book. Some parts may have been changed as I did not read the final book. Please know that all of the expressed thoughts are my honest opinions.Even If I Fall was such a wonderful YA contemporary romance! When I started this book, I was a tad bit skeptical that I wouldn't like it. I typically either hate these super cliche "oh our families hate each other but we don't have to" stories or I love them. In this case, I loved it. I was a big fan of the settings, characters, and of the plot.There were very few settings in this book, maybe about four main ones. These settings were pretty simple, and I greatly appreciated it. They allowed me to focus on the characters instead of flashy descriptions or new environments.My favorite setting would have to be the secret meeting place for Brooke and Heath. There is only a tree and a lake, but it is the perfect background for Brooke and Heath's relationship to grow.By the end of Even If I Fall, I had grown so attached to all of the characters. Easily though, my favorite character would have to be Maggie, Brooke's best friend. She was the most relatable for me, as I related to some of her passions and she dealt with genuine, modern-day issues. Maggie has this YouTube channel where she does book cover inspired makeup, and I love the idea so much! If I had any makeup talent, I would definitely be copying that idea.Throughout the whole book, Brooke and Heath continued to meet at their secret location. These little meetups were where I saw the most character and relationship growth. It was so beautiful to watch them begin to realize that their siblings' crimes weren't their own and that they should try to look past them.The story itself felt a bit slow at times, but I overall enjoyed the pacing as well as the plot. Even If I Fall mainly focuses on Brooke's growth and acceptance after her brother is sent to prison. As I've mentioned before, there are a lot of moments where Brooke and Heath are talking about their family's history. However, what were the slow parts were Brooke's interactions at the ice rink. Those scenes felt more like filler scenes, and while they were necessary, I don't think as many were needed. The writing itself was beautiful! I didn't think that I would get attached to this book, but I did! There were some really heart-wrenching, emotional scenes throughout the book that affected me more than I predicted. The writing just flowed in a great way, and I enjoyed every word and chapter. However, there were times when the descriptions of some things confused me. I'll touch on it in the next paragraph, but some technical ice skating moves were described in a way that left me completely confused. What ultimately made me rate this book 4 stars instead of 5 are for three reasons. The first is some of the descriptive writing. Brooke is a skater and Johnson included some of her skating moves in this story. I liked that they were included, but I found that it was hard for me to imagine what everything looked like. I know that Johnson tried her best to describe the move, but I was never able to understand it fully. I don't entirely blame her, as I can barely do a bunny hop on the ice and know no skating terminology, but I do wish more descriptions were used. The other part that slightly annoyed me was the twist at the end. I won't try to spoil anything, but the description made it seem as if there was this super big twist at the end. I guess that there was a twist, but in my opinion, it isn't as dramatic as I thought it would be, which was a bit of a letdown.Finally, Brooke's brother, Jason, seriously bothered me. I am not going to get into it too much as to not spoil the story, but his reasons for murder were not the best. I understand that murder isn't always the most logical action, but everything about it just seemed to go against Jason’s character. Throughout the story, more of his personality was revealed, and when the ultimate reason for the murder was explained, I was unimpressed and frankly, I didn't believe that what I had read was the full story. I guess I just needed a better reason for murder than what was given to me. Overall, I would recommend this book. It was a slower paced book full of conversations, and while some won't be a fan of that, I greatly enjoyed it. The writing in this book was exquisite, and I enjoyed every chapter. Many of the characters were relatable, they weren't extraordinarily unique and they dealt with similar issues that we all face. There were only a couple of small problems that I had with the story. There were just a couple of moments where I was a bit confused, the twist was not as dramatic as I would've liked, and I was bothered by Brooke's brother's reason for murder. But I would still recommend this excellent book!
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  • Lenore Kosinski
    January 1, 1970
    https://celebrityreaders.com/2019/01/...I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.3.5 stars — This one ended up being a little weird for me, b/c the thing I usually love most about a book is characters…read any of my reviews, it’s always about the characters. Normally if I can’t connect with them, the book is just not going to hold my attention. But this was my exception to the rule!! Because truly, the exploration of what a family would go th https://celebrityreaders.com/2019/01/...I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.3.5 stars — This one ended up being a little weird for me, b/c the thing I usually love most about a book is characters…read any of my reviews, it’s always about the characters. Normally if I can’t connect with them, the book is just not going to hold my attention. But this was my exception to the rule!! Because truly, the exploration of what a family would go through in these circumstances was fascinating, and kept my attention. Not to mention the mystery surrounding the murder! I had many theories, and it was interesting to learn pieces at a time. I fell for some red herrings, and definitely didn’t get it right in the end, but I appreciated the answers I got.I have to say, if you’re going in expecting an epic romance (especially given that blurb), you’re going to be disappointed. The romance was very much a background story. And while it played heavily into Brooke’s journey, I would not categorize this story as a romance. I kind of wanted more to be honest.What we got instead was a story about a family struggling with something unimaginable. I was sucked in right from the start, and I had a hard time putting it down. There was a point where my attention started to wane, but that could have been just me (either that or the pacing could have used some help).Brooke was a character that I simultaneously felt a lot for, and had a hard time connecting with. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but occasionally it felt as though she wasn’t consistent…like I couldn’t figure her out, and certain things didn’t fit. She was so steeped in guilt, it was insanity. And her feelings were often kept close to the vest, even from the reader. The romance actually took me a bit by surprise as a result! Because of the nature of their relationship, it’s not like other romances where you read about their crush and butterflies and stuff. Their feelings for one another were mixed in with all these other feelings, and often the romantic feelings didn’t come to the forefront. It’s hard to describe. Obviously. But I never really got a good handle on what they felt for each other or why…or at least not as much as I would have wanted if this book had been more heavily a romance. I give it a pass because of everything else going on.The book is full of very flawed characters. They all make such poor decisions, and are constantly hurting each other. It’s very hard to read about actually. Even Brooke was hurting people, from her family to Maggie. Which is why I’m still surprised I enjoyed the story so much. But in the end I really did enjoy watching the dynamics shift in Brooke’s family. When everything came to a head, it was satisfying to watch them start to figure things out and finally heal. While I hated the way they hurt each other, I thought each of their coping mechanisms were completely believable, and I understood how they got to the point they were at at the beginning of the story.So if you’re desperate for a romance, I’d give this one a pass. But if the whole idea of how a family would cope when one of their own is guilty of murder fascinates you, then you’re looking at the right book. Again, it didn’t have any of my usual go-tos, but it made me think a lot and feel a lot, so I call it a success.
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  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paperI didn’t know what to expect when I first started this book, because even though the synopsis sounded pretty interesting when I read it for the first time, I completely forgot about it when I decided to pick it up, and I must say I ended up being pleasantly surprised with this book, and at how much I enjoyed it.The author did such an incredible job at writing the portrayal of loss and grief. I haven’t experience any of the things thes You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paperI didn’t know what to expect when I first started this book, because even though the synopsis sounded pretty interesting when I read it for the first time, I completely forgot about it when I decided to pick it up, and I must say I ended up being pleasantly surprised with this book, and at how much I enjoyed it.The author did such an incredible job at writing the portrayal of loss and grief. I haven’t experience any of the things these characters were going through, but it felt so real to me reading about that in this story, and I think that was so well done and you could see a clear picture of what both families were going through and how they dealt with all those feelings.I also really enjoyed the relationship between the two characters. Their dynamics were complex and realistic, and I liked how slow paced it was, and how it was a progressive relationship and romance, and not a rushed one. Their connection was so pure and beautiful, and I adored how they relied and found some type of solace in the other.Another thing that I liked seeing in the book and added a more realistic touch to it was the relationship between our main character’s family. You could see glimpses of the interactions between the boy’s family, but since it was told from the point of view of Brooke, we had a more clear view of what her family was going through. I loved the development of the relationship between Brooke and her sister, and how each member of the family dealt differently with everything that happened, and I think that was a nice touch.Overall, I think Even if I Fall was a very raw and beautiful story that dealt with loss and grief in a very realistic way. I really enjoyed the character arcs and their interactions throughout the story, and the progress and evolution of their relationships.I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Breanne
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.**Cute, fluffy ya books are one of my many weaknesses so as I'm sure you can guess I was pretty excited to pick this book up. I've never read one of Abigail Johnson's books before but the description sounded interesting enough. When I first picked this book up I was expecting a quick and fluffy read with some emotional problems thrown in, instead I got a lot of emotional problems with some romance thrown in per **I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.**Cute, fluffy ya books are one of my many weaknesses so as I'm sure you can guess I was pretty excited to pick this book up. I've never read one of Abigail Johnson's books before but the description sounded interesting enough. When I first picked this book up I was expecting a quick and fluffy read with some emotional problems thrown in, instead I got a lot of emotional problems with some romance thrown in periodically. One of the few things I did like was the writing. Abigail Johnson's writing works well for this type of story and the only thing I really had an issue with was that while reading the time didn't flow very well. We would be in one scene and then a few pages later we would be a couple days later, which don't get me wrong that type of thing is fine if it's written right but in this case it wasn't. While reading I was very aware of the fact of how time was moving which isn't really something you want to be aware of as it takes away from the rest of the story. Besides from that one thing though I did really like her writing.I also liked what she was trying to say with her story but because I didn't really care for any of the characters and a few I even hated like Brook's parents. None of the characters really clicked for me which is odd as I usually can find at least one character that I like even if I didn't like the book. Had there been at least one character I liked I think I would have liked this book a lot more.Lastly I found the ending to be a bit of a disappointment. Throughout the book it was repeatedly teased that there was some big secret about Calvin's murder but it turned out to be a small thing that didn't really change anything. Overall I didn't really love the book but I didn't hate it either. I do think that this would be a great book to read in the summer but don't go into it thinking it's going to be the best romance book you'll ever read.
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  • Johanna Montilla
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book I a few days ago, but I haven’t had the time to write the review. Now that I’m sitting in front of my computer, all the feelings I had when I read the last word are back.I’ve read many heartbroken books, like a lot, but Even if I fall is extraordinarily sad. From the first page, there is this anguish, guilt, and lost. It was hard to find the threat of hope every story has, but it was there, finally.Wait, don’t be scared, this book is amazing, with a deep complex plot, more o I finished this book I a few days ago, but I haven’t had the time to write the review. Now that I’m sitting in front of my computer, all the feelings I had when I read the last word are back.I’ve read many heartbroken books, like a lot, but Even if I fall is extraordinarily sad. From the first page, there is this anguish, guilt, and lost. It was hard to find the threat of hope every story has, but it was there, finally.Wait, don’t be scared, this book is amazing, with a deep complex plot, more of what it seems to be from the quick look of the blur. The narrative style is great. Also, it’s the descriptions. The author has the ability to make the reader feels exactly what the character is feeling.The characters are well done portrayed, each one of them has their own voice, and they’re effective in the part they play in the story. And the story, well let me tell you, it has a lot. Drama, yes, of course. Romance, kind of expecting but it isn’t the cute kind, it’s intense, tormented and healer. And tragedy, this story tells about two destroyed families by a single act resulted of a growing snowball.The unfairness of a society, a cruel reality that sometimes we don’t want to see. There is a message too. It remains us that our action not just affect us but every single person surrounding us, especially our loved ones. And the twist, OMG. The entire time I was expecting something else. It was a surprise. What I didn’t like? Repetitions. The Main character was going on and on with the same thoughts, and I think it wasn’t necessary. The reader gets it. And we spend a lot of time inside the MC minds, it can make lose track of a conversation or a scene.But overall, this book is one of those that you need to read. There is so much emotion in every page that it’s going to make release a huge sigh at the end.100% recommended.I received an ARC from Harlequin Teen (US & Canada) through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. And I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Jody
    January 1, 1970
    Brooke pressured Jason "tell me who else was there that night Jase?" he slammed his hands against the table to push himself away, and he got up and told the guard "I'm ready to go back". Talk about suspense, mystery and a who, how and why plot. Oh my goodness this book has got it for sure. I could not read the pages fast enough. I had to find out what was going to happen next. It also has pain, heartbreak, resentment, hatred, and a slow journey to healing. Would I recommend this book? Yes, with Brooke pressured Jason "tell me who else was there that night Jase?" he slammed his hands against the table to push himself away, and he got up and told the guard "I'm ready to go back". Talk about suspense, mystery and a who, how and why plot. Oh my goodness this book has got it for sure. I could not read the pages fast enough. I had to find out what was going to happen next. It also has pain, heartbreak, resentment, hatred, and a slow journey to healing. Would I recommend this book? Yes, with out a doubt. I have never read anything by Abigail Johnson before, but you can bet I will now. Thank you to Harlequin TEEN & NetGalley for the opportunity to read this fantastic book. I received an eARC from them for my honest opinion. Even If I FallRead My Reviews here and here
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  • Celia McMahon
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks, Netgalley!!Wow, just wow. I was blown away by this book. Astounded doesn't even begin to cover it.Brooke's family falls apart after her brother confesses to murder. I mean, that line right there should be enough for you to pick up this book. The inner turmoil of her family and Brooke is enough to break your heart. If I had to break it down, I would tell you this: This book is part heartbreak and part mystery. Throw in some romance and well-written characters, and you have the perfect boo Thanks, Netgalley!!Wow, just wow. I was blown away by this book. Astounded doesn't even begin to cover it.Brooke's family falls apart after her brother confesses to murder. I mean, that line right there should be enough for you to pick up this book. The inner turmoil of her family and Brooke is enough to break your heart. If I had to break it down, I would tell you this: This book is part heartbreak and part mystery. Throw in some romance and well-written characters, and you have the perfect book. Brooke was great as a protagonist in this story. She tries her best to keep it together that she sometimes forgets to take care of herself. She is not the sum of her mistakes or the mistakes of her own family. Overall, this was a great story. I highly recommend.
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  • Jaymie
    January 1, 1970
    [I received an electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]4.5 stars. Stunning! This was terrific. I loved the characters and the raw, emotionally complicated story. All of the emotions and angst, the families' coping strategies - all of it felt believable. The story is wrapped up in a satisfying way, but without any cheesy happily-ever-after. The ending was true to the complexity of the story and the characters and the tone of th [I received an electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]4.5 stars. Stunning! This was terrific. I loved the characters and the raw, emotionally complicated story. All of the emotions and angst, the families' coping strategies - all of it felt believable. The story is wrapped up in a satisfying way, but without any cheesy happily-ever-after. The ending was true to the complexity of the story and the characters and the tone of the story. Highly recommend!
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  • Shelby (Graced with Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC.Wow. This book was amazing. I was immediately intrigued by the premise but the book exceeded all my expectations. Brooke was a compelling character whose struggle between loving and blaming her brother for his actions was moving. As was her relationship with Heath, the younger brother of her brother's victim. I thought the reactions and feelings of the characters were realistic which made this book so good, yet so utterly heart Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC.Wow. This book was amazing. I was immediately intrigued by the premise but the book exceeded all my expectations. Brooke was a compelling character whose struggle between loving and blaming her brother for his actions was moving. As was her relationship with Heath, the younger brother of her brother's victim. I thought the reactions and feelings of the characters were realistic which made this book so good, yet so utterly heartbreaking at times. I can't wait for more people to read it.
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  • Julia Ostash (fictionalovers)
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely spectacular. Will publish a full review on here and my blog closer to the publish date.
  • Rebecca Akins
    January 1, 1970
    Everything felt very rushed in this book. I didn't connect with any of the characters.
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