Review: The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

The Year We Fell DownThe Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
Book #1 in The Ivy Years

Genre: Sports/Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 20th, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

Angie’s Review – 5 Stars – A+

First of all, I have to give a big fat thank you to my co-blogger, Wendy, for raving about HIM. The book was amazing! It led me to the sequel, US, then diving into backlists to see if there was more M/M goodness from either Elle Kennedy or Sarina Bowen. Luckily, there was. Long story short – the M/M goodness steered me to a whole new series, starting with The Year We Fell Down.

The Year We Fell Down is one of the best New Adult stories I’ve read. If any character has reason to wallow, it’s Corey Callahan –  a single incident stole her dreams and her future. Does it get her down? Sure. But she only lets it rule her for so long before she picks herself up, dusts herself off and moves on. She was a courageous character who purged things from her life when she knew she was moving down the wrong path even though it took every ounce of her strength, and she was determined to make a life for herself that fit her circumstances. I loved being inside her head. She had it together and while she may not have always made the best choices, she learned from her mistakes. And what I really loved was that while she was attracted to Adam, she wasn’t so overrun with it that she couldn’t think clearly. Adam Hartley was the sexy boy across the hall who I loved just as much as I loved Corey. He has a carefree façade, but you can tell there’s a lot going on with Hartley that he doesn’t share. I had a hard time understanding why he let himself get into the situation he’s in, but as the story unfolds, it all becomes clear and is just one more facet of the story to break your heart. Corey and Hartley were fun to read about whether they were in a scene together or with someone else.

I have to say that this author really has a way of writing an angst-y situation without that angst overwhelming the characters. Despite the serious subject matter, this was a fun, feel good story that had you rooting for both characters. It was a simple story about two people trying to make the best of their bad situations. The pacing was spot on, the length of the book was perfect, and the secondary characters wonderful. I can’t wait to read more about them!

It seems every time I write a review about a New Adult book, I start off by saying that the genre just isn’t for me – I have to take that back. As it turns out, I like my NA angst with a side of light-heartedness, and Sarina Bowen has perfected the recipe. I can’t wait to dive in and read the rest of this series!

At the time this review went live, this book was FREE on Amazon.

Rating: 5 Stars

Series Reading Order:
1. The Year We Fell Down
2. The Year We Hid Away
3. The Understatement of the Year
4. The Shameless Hour
5. The Fifteenth Minute

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Comments 5

  • This series is just flat out wonderful. There’s not a bad story in the bunch. I was pretty burned out on NA also until I read it. My favorite is a tie between The Year We Hid Away and The Shameless Hour. Also, don’t skip the novella, Blonde Date. It’s not necessary to read it, but it’s really sweet and cute although too short, like all novellas. For NA series with a similar feel, I’d recommend Cora Cormack’s Rusk University series and Megan Erickson’s Bowler University series.

    • I’m glad to hear this series doesn’t lose steam. It’s been a long time since I;ve felt the need to brush my TBR pile aside in favor of finishing a series, but this one just won’t let me go. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I’ll be sure to read the novella!

      Thank you for the recommendations. I have read (via audio) the first two in the Rusk University series and enjoyed them very much. I’m hoping to read the third soon. Also, Megan Erickson has been on my tbr list for a while. This seems like a good place to start!

      • I rarely read books in a series back to back because I usually get tired of the author’s voice if I do that, but I could not put this series down. I read the first three plus the novella over a long vacation last year.

        It sounds like you really like m/m and Megan Erickson has written an m/m NA series called In Focus that has gotten raves. You might want to start with that one first if you want to give her writing a try. Since I don’t read much m/m that’s the only series of hers that I haven’t tried.