Series: The Ivy Years #1
Published by Rennie Road Books on 24th March 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Source: Purchased from Amazon
The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.
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.
Reviewed by Kay
*I purchased a kindle copy from Amazon*
The story centres around our two leads, Corey Callahan and Adam Hartley. I absolutely loved both these characters. Corey had suffered a terrible accident that had left her wheelchair bound, so her start to college life was very different to the one she had been dreaming of. I thought Corey’s character was so well written. We felt her sense of loss over what her life could have been, how her dreams of playing college ice hockey had been cruelly taken from her, how life would always be that little bit more difficult now, be it because of the health issues she has to face and deal with or just the little practicalities of everyday life – I thought the idea of getting marooned at a party due to the stairs and not wanting to “bother” people to get her home, was a great way to reflect problems lots of people just wouldn’t think about. Although we saw these problems and felt her sense of loss for the person she had once been, at no point did Corey wallow in self pity, she just didn’t allow herself to go there. A fierce competitor in everything she did, be it video games, water polo or life in general, she was feisty, funny and came across as someone who would be a great friend. She also had great courage and honesty, not just dealing with the health issues she now had to cope with, but with her feelings and relationship with Hartley.
Oh Hartley. How I adored this character but as much as I loved him, I wanted to shake him at the same time! We knew from the get go that Hartley had a girlfriend. An unpleasant, snobby, trophy girlfriend that, for the majority of the book, was out the picture, going to school in Europe, and spending her time “mixing” with the locals. What we didn’t understand was why Hartley stuck with her. We soon discover Adam Hartley is a fun, smart savvy guy who seems to be adored by everyone. Aside from her physical beauty, you wonder why Hartley would waste his time on the frosty Stacia when it’s Corey that is the perfect girl for him. All becomes clear as the book goes on, and you understand things are not always as they seem. As Hartley is so fond of saying, everyone has their shit to shovel. Sometimes it’s out there for everyone to see, but other times, it’s a little more hidden. Things are not always as they first appear to be.
So let’s talk about Corey and Hartley’s relationship. This was the very heart of the book and why I loved this tale so much! Who doesn’t adore a friends-to-lovers story, and this was really the very best of them. There was something incredibly real about their relationship. The bonding over their disabilities (Hartley has a broken leg at the start of the book) their competitive natures, their humour and their growing closeness, was such a joy to read. I particularly found the sex scenes between them to be really well written. The absolute honesty and openness they shared was so refreshing and not something you always get in NA books. I loved their “Mr Digby” discussions! So frank, but also filled with real care and love. Just brilliant. You rooted for these guys to get together. Your heart ached for Corey when Stacia came back into the picture, and you wanted to smack Hartley upside the head with the time it took him to get his backside in gear and see where his heart should belong.
The book was also filled with great secondary characters. I loved Corey’s family, especially her brother. Dana was a wonderful best friend, as was Bridger – more of him to come in my second review – and Hartley’s mum was also fab.
So in summary, if you are looking for a brilliantly written, sweet, funny, heartfelt, emotional friends to lovers story, look no further than The Year We Fell Down. For me, it’s the perfect NA read.