Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Review: Before I Fall - Jessica Scott
Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She'll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah - a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.
Noah Warren doesn't know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he's going to college now to fulfil a promise and he doesn't break his promises. Except he doesn't count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.
A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.
Before I Fall
Break My Fall (release date to be confirmed)
Visit Jessica Scott's website for more information.
As a fan of Jessica Scott's Coming Home series I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of her first NA book and Before I Fall was even better than I'd hoped it would be. I love contemporary romances, I even enjoy NA contemps but I'm sure I can't be the only person who is sick of reading the same old tropes and clichés in nearly every story I pick up? Well, I'm very, very happy to say that Before I Fall avoids all of those pitfalls. There is no player hero who can suddenly keep it in his trousers for that one special girl, no virginal, sweet and innocent heroine who has never even been attracted to a boy before, no bitchy best friends, catty girls or slut shaming, no ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends who are trying to split up the main couple, no cheating, no love triangles and absolutely no pointless drama just for the sake of it. Nope, not a single one of those tropes and I can't even tell you how refreshing that is!
So now I've told you all about what we haven't got let me tell you a bit more about what you can look forward to. You're in for a treat, trust me! You have two realistic main characters, people who have problems but who are basically decent people who have been dealt a bad hand in life, the kind of people you went to school with, hell the kind of people you're probably friends with. You also have a really, really sweet romance with plenty of sexy times and a love that brings light into the darkness of their lives but that doesn't magically fix all their problems. Great supportive friendships for both main characters and even a decent adult role model who is there for both of them. The characters who have issues accept they have a problem, understand that they are the only ones who can fix it and guess what - they actually ask for the help they need to turn their lives around. Shocking right?
Beth's father was a soldier until he was badly injured and he is now medically retired. He suffers chronic, debilitating pain and is unable to hold a job down but the disability cheques he receives aren't enough to pay for the medical care he needs. Beth is desperately trying to hold things together, struggling to find enough money to pay the bills, buy her father's medication and just put food on the table. She is also trying to keep up her grades in the hope that she'll be able to get into a decent graduate program - the only chance she has of ever getting a job that will help her pay off the family's horrendous debts. Noah is a soldier who has served his country but who was injured in a bomb blast that killed most of his unit. He is suffering with PTSD and extreme anxiety but he is determined to get his life back on track and do well at college.
Beth never wanted to get involved with a soldier but Noah is the first person in a long time who sees what she is going through and puts her first for a change. I absolutely loved seeing how Noah looked out for her, just the little things he did to make life easier for her were so sweet to read about. He makes mistakes by keeping things from her but I never felt angry with him because you could feel what he was going through. Likewise, when Beth found out about what he was hiding I didn't blame her for flipping out, she had been through so much because of her dad and couldn't face the thought of it happening all over again with someone else. I loved them both for acting like adults and actually talking through their issues though. They make such a sweet couple and it really was easy to imagine them being happy together.
One of the things that really stands out in all of the books I've read by Jessica Scott is how well she understands the life of a soldier, as a career officer herself she has a lot of experience regarding the issues that soldiers face on a daily basis but also how difficult it is for the families who are left at home waiting for news of their loved ones. This is something that really shines through in her writing and it makes her stories feel all the more realistic. I absolutely loved Before I Fall and I was incredibly excited to find out who the main characters are for the next book Break My Fall (that information is included at the back of the book for anyone who is curious). The sequel is definitely going to the top of my wish list so I just hope we don't have to wait too long for it to be published!
Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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