For this review, I read both How I Fall and How I Fly. This is a two part book series and you really cannot read the second without reading the first. You would be hopelessly lost and missing out on way too much.
These are YA book. The characters are juniors in high school. For the most part, they act and talk like teenagers. The teenage high school drama is all there, in full force. But there were moments when the characters acted and spoke much older than the 16-17 year olds that they are. Especially in the second book.
I couldn't help but be drawn in by these characters. They were all so well defined. By the end of the books, I really felt like I knew them. They were familiar to me and I was attached to them.
There is a lot of internal dialogue going on in these book. We "hear" both Ellen's and Cam's thoughts. Ellen has a lot of very amusing thoughts and they made me smile. But sometimes I felt like it was a little much. Every single thought was spelled out for me, leaving nothing to my own imagination. I always knew exactly what Ellen and Cam were both thinking. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn't.
I love the circle of friendship the four main characters build. They look out for each other and they help each other. Each in their own way. It was good to see.
I love the photography aspect to these books. This was a fun way for not only the characters to connect to each other, but for me to connect with them. It played a huge part in the plot of these books. I also feel like I learned a little something about Cerebral Palsy that will hopefully make me more empathetic and kind.
My biggest complaint about these books would be the swearing (there is quite a bit of it), followed by the sexual innuendo which increased substantially in the second book. For those reasons, I will not be handing these books off to my teenage daughter which is unfortunate because aside from those things, I really did enjoy these books. They are engaging and emotional. The first love, second chance at first love was so, so sweet.
Enjoy the following excerpt!
I pause at the corner down from the bus stop so I can regain some control. Both legs—the good one and the bad—are quaking dangerously. I’m also breathing like I’ve run a marathon in thick maple syrup instead of simply walking five blocks, but who cares? I’ve just navigated sidewalks covered with snow and ice with no crutches and no cane for the first time in my life. And I did not fall. Not once!
I check my phone to record the time and what I see has me almost gasping out loud.
*Crowd roars. She waves. She bows. She’s got ten minutes to burn!*
Because I have mild Cerebral Palsy, my physical therapist, Nash, would normally get half of the credit here. But it was my idea to pull double workouts all summer and fall. This victory is all mine, but either way, I can’t wait to give him a report. He’s going to be so proud. This will prove to him there is light at the end of my tunnel. The guy is so gloom and doom. He’s always thinking about my future and making predictions based on statistics, while I’m trying to convince him that I can write my own statistics.
Today, I will get to be the one who’s right!
Breath caught up, I straighten my messenger bag and face the bus stop ready for anything and anyone this day might try to throw at me! But two steps into walking the last half block, the calf of my bad leg spikes a surprise cramp.
“Please…no,” I mutter, jerking to a stop as white-lightning fires up my entire leg. The pain’s so harsh I could swear it’s stopped my heart. Scanning for anything that can save me from a public wobble-wobble-Ellen-
falls-down event, I veer off the sidewalk and head for the cars parked on the street. Luckily, I’ve locked my hand onto a car mirror just as the knee on my bad leg buckles completely. For insurance, I lean most of my upper body weight on the dripping car hood, happy that my lumpy, hand-me-down jacket is at least waterproof. Only then do I pull in a slow steady breath and test—and beg—and pray—for my still trembling good leg to be okay.
It holds steady, but since I’m not allowed any guarantees with how my body behaves, I keep a death grip on the car any way I can. At least my sudden move has turned me away from the kids down at the stop. If I’m lucky, no one will have seen how I almost just hit the pavement. Even better, while I work out the kinks in my calf, I’ll be able to pretend that I’m simply admiring the snow and taking pictures of random stuff with my iPhone like I always do.
“Come on. Please. Come on.” I twist my bad ankle in a slow circle while more shards of pain pull my calf even tighter. Elation has disappeared, replaced by lead-heavy frustration.