Series: The Ivy Years

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina BowenThe Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1) by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #1
Published by Rennie Road Books on March 21st 2014
Pages: 268
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The 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.

From time to time, there’ll be a book that smacks me over the head unexpectedly and leave me rethinking everything I thought I knew about formulaic NA/College writing.

‘The Year We Fell Down’ offers a very nuanced glimpse into college disability and the pressures associated with it, proving to be such as standout that I’d lost precious sleep over it – and remain defiant over my sticky, sandy eyes a few hours later.

It isn’t often that I find a kickass heroine of college age but Corey Callahan slides so seamlessly into this role that I’m left with openmouthed-admiration by the time the last page of the book is turned. Corey is sublimely written, a perfect balance of determination and vulnerability as she juggles what she can or cannot do, yet pushes always, past her comfort zone. And because she’s a top lady in my mind, Adam Hartley can’t help but come second. Paired already with a trophy girlfriend when he meets Corey, I found him slightly less interesting but no less likeable for not adding to the dumb, insensitive jock cliché.

While it isn’t that the book defies stereotypes at every turn, the main characters are at least different enough to keep me rooting for them, and the plot sufficient steady to keep the pages constantly flipping. I particularly loved the gradual progression of Corey’s friendship with Adam Hartley and thanks to a fantastic supporting cast, there’s also an expert mix of humour, poignancy and realism that can’t be easily shaken off.