Author: Suki Fleet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 3rd, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: PrinCkhera
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Josh’s idea of a romance is curling up alone and reading a novel with a happily ever after. He’s made his flat a safe haven where the walls are covered with beautiful words and his living room ceiling is a map of the universe.
Angus may be shy and inexperienced, but he’s incapable of hiding anything, especially his attraction to his older neighbor.
When Josh admits to Angus that he’s gay, he doesn’t expect Angus’s reaction. Angus’s obvious interest terrifies Josh. For years he’s managed to keep the world at arm’s length and avoid getting too close to anyone. Well, anyone except Eleanor, Angus’s mother, who helped Josh rebuild his life after he was hospitalized for depression. But Josh still thinks he’s broken. His past has left scars he thinks are too deep to heal. Despite Josh’s defenses, Angus begins to mean more to him than just the cute boy next door. If Josh can take a risk and let someone into his isolated world, he might have a chance for a real-life happy ending.
I’ve become so light now he is near me, the heaviness in my chest dissolving with every rapid beat of his heart.
First person narrative in the present tense done outstandingly well by Ms. Fleet. *sighs* Somehow her books make me unable to find words to describe them, because her words are so much more powerful. Which is why I think the tendency is building that I end up utilising gifs, quotes and my own humble bumbling words in trying to express what her books do to me. What her books have a tendency of doing to their readers.
It might not show on my face, but inside I’m smiling, and some part of me that’s higher than my stomach but lower than my heart is doing little flips of joy.
Yes. That’s what it feels like. When I get into a book, when it’s all I can think about, when I ignore the outside world in order to read and read and read.When I think that a writer is writing just what I was thinking. What I’ve thought. When they write poetry, when they make me connect to their characters.
He may as well have his hand around my heart.
Ms. Fleet may as well. Truly. Whenever I see that she’s written yet another book I know three things.
- Angst. And lots of it.
- A bruised and battered heart, but one that promises an eventual HEA. Or maybe more accurately a HFN. But happy nonetheless. I was talking about me.
So, yeah. You kind of know what you’re getting into when you start one of her books.
I should get up and go lie down in the other room, I should snap all these threads that I can feel wrapping around us tighter and tighter, because Angus deserves so much better than what I can offer him. He deserves someone who is not so fucked-up and afraid. He deserves someone who will love him and be there for him until the end of the fucking world. He doesn’t deserve another burden, another broken person in his life.
But I can’t snap the threads, and I can’t move away.
Likewise, even though I know my heart will likely go through a shredder, I know that in the end it’ll be taped back together… Carrying the scars forever.
It’s like falling, over and over.
Perhaps there wasn’t as much angst in this book as the others she’s written, but there was so much longing that. I. Can’t. Even.
I’ve known loneliness. I’ve known how heavy its weight can be, and I’ve been crushed beneath it more than once.
It’s been kind of impossible for me to finish Ms. Fleet’s work in one sitting. Long or short. Because they drag you down, and emotionally exhaust you. The characters and their choices, their thoughts and the story overall.
Don’t feel anything, don’t let anything go too deep inside, and you’ll be okay is the rule I live by. But I know things are beginning to slip beneath my defenses.
But. Before you know it, you’re done. You’ve fallen. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s like your heart is being squeezed because all you can do is watch. Read. There is absolutely nothing you can do to help these people. They’re suffering, they’re being put through a grinder. At one point they’re going to hit rock bottom. You see it coming, you wish you could do something. But, you can’t.
It’s just a book. And the reality is that you’ve been pulled in so deep that you can’t separate real from imaginary anymore.
Typically, that’s what happens. Especially because Ms. Fleet has an affinity for flawed characters. Flawed in their own eyes and those around them. They are pushed under the weight of their flaws, unable to consider the possibility of anyone ever wanting them. If someone did, unable to comprehend why and thinking of ways how they will inevitably destroy this precious thing they’ve just received. Or, maybe they do have people but no-one who really understands how wrong everything can get.
It feels so wonderful, and I know I can never, ever let this happen again. Not if I want to hold myself together. Not if I want to keep a grip on my life. I don’t want to be on the front of this train when it crashes and burns.
So, that’s what Josh does. The road to HFN (because that’s what we get) is long, and tough to walk on and Josh doesn’t expect to ever reach the end. He’s standing in his own way, longing for something better but expecting nothing. Absolutely nothing. Why?
Because Josh is dealing with depression. Honestly, I don’t have a good idea on what being depressed actually means. People easily use the word when they’re overwhelmed and don’t feel like dealing with something, or when they’re somber. But, what does being depressed actually mean? What’s going through a person’s mind? Why are they unable to… for a lack of a better word, just un-depress themselves? Why is it so hard?
I don’t know. For me, I can tell you that I’ve had depressing thoughts before. Moments I just crash, but I use books, tv, schoolwork, friends, family to get me out of my funk. By not thinking about it. Best way to handle things? Perhaps not. But, it’s how I deal. Then again, I’m not clinically depressed. I can’t possibly comprehend what’s going through another’s mind. I don’t think anyone truly can.
However much I tell myself there are no triggers for my depression that I can’t deal with, I know there is one, and this is it. Feeling like this. Wanting a normality I know is out of my reach. Wishing there was a way I could fix the faulty wiring in my brain. Wishing I could promise to never hurt him.
Anyone going through any infliction, anyone suffering from anything has their own unique situation. I could not possibly understand what they’ve gone through, are going through and will go through in the future because 1) I don’t have a decent frame of reference, 2) I can’t possibly comprehend.
The furthest we can get is having an idea, if they’re willing to confide in you. Books also give you an idea. Which is why reading books broadens your horizons. It gives you more of an idea of what’s happening, it tries to put into words what’s going through a person’s mind and you end up with a tiny piece of the puzzle. It’s tiny, but, a piece nonetheless.
That’s what you get when you read Falling. It’s beautiful, but heartbreaking. You’ll wish you could somehow get into the story so you could every character a big hug and a basket of muffins. Or something like that. Anything that might help them feel better. But, you can’t. You’re helpless. There’s absolutely nothing you can do, except go along for the ride.
See the characters grow, get their hearts broken and seeing them mend themselves.
When Josh meets Angus for the first time, he doesn’t know that Angus would be the one to do that for him. Before he knows it, he’s fallen. But, he’s convinced himself that nothing can ever happen. Then something does, which takes a long time, but it comes with an expiration date that terrifies him. So much.
Sometimes I wish he’d do something that’d make me like him less, like be moody or selfish or annoying. But he doesn’t. Instead everything he does makes me like him more and more. It’s fucking terrifying—it’s as though I have this thing I don’t want growing inside me.
Or perhaps what’s terrifying is the knowledge that if someone cut it out, it’d fucking kill me.
It makes me feel so weak.
“Don’t ever change,” I say softly.
Angus and Josh. Two people who need each other, finding one another. Except, one of them is so terribly afraid the whole time. We know what Josh is going through. We only see what Angus is going through through Josh’s eyes. We don’t know. Then again, we don’t need to. Not really, because Josh is taking up so much space on his own. How he sees himself. As broken.
It suddenly hits me how easy it would be for someone to fall for him. How unfair on him it would be if that someone was broken and not good enough
We see Josh’s mind work. The way he deals, the way he hurts. Denies himself. We see it time and again. Josh denying himself, because he thinks he’ll ruin everything. No. He knows he’ll ruin everything and this knowledge weighs him down. He carries it with him. Every single step of the way. Not letting it go.
Not being able to let it go.
I know he sees so much more of who I am than everyone else, but I long to tell him that with me, it’s all a front. So much front I’m scared there’s nothing real behind it anymore.
So, should you read this story? Absolutely. I’m going to admit, I didn’t love it as much as I loved her other books, but I loved it nonetheless. Both Josh and Angus are complex characters that in finding one another begin to shine.
How did you find me? I think, blinking back sudden, stupid tears. How are you here with me? How have I not pushed you away with all my hang-ups?
Perhaps, I’ve used too many quotes. But, since Ms. Fleet has a tendency to make people feel things with almost everything she writes, it’s kind of inevitable. You’re getting the toned down version. I literally had to cut down, a lot, to not go overboard (any more than I already have) with the quotes. It’s just that I feel that more than whatever I could tell you, the motivation to read Ms. Fleet’s work comes from her writing. And reading excerpts, short pieces, of who Josh is and what he’s thinking gives you a better idea of what you can expect than I could possibly give you.
I wonder why I can’t quite let myself jump into this with both feet like the giddy rejoicing part of me wants to. When it’s just me and Angus, I feel more and more sure of him—amazed by how well we fit together on some deep level, thrilled to be close to him, every one of my nerve endings set on fire by his presence. But when anyone else is around or I’m on my own, that certainty starts to recede and I’m back where I started, wondering what I’ve got to offer anyone apart from heartache—and Angus deserves so much more than that—and wondering why anyone in their right mind would want to be in a relationship anyway, giving anyone else that sort of dangerous power over their heart.
Ugh. My bruised and battered heart. Stop it. The previous quote is such an accurate representation of Josh’s mentality throughout the book that I. Can’t. Even. It’s bringing back all of Falling.
Of course, then comes the confusing knowledge that it doesn’t matter what you want or however much you try to fight it—if you fall in love, they have that power anyway.
Overall, this is a beautiful story of a “broken” someone finding someone looking past their “brokenness”. If that makes sense.
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It’s enough. Being with him is enough. Enough to rearrange my heart, my trust, my world.