REVIEW ✧ FALL

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“You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I’d happily spend the rest of my life trying to be the best thing that has ever happened to you too.” 

☆☆☆☆

The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

All we have to do is trust enough to fall.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat my initial reaction to this book: I did not want it to happen whatsoever. I could not have cared less about Jax Blackwood, I had no idea why Kristen Callihan thought we needed a book about him, and I almost didn’t even read it because I honestly had no inclination to do so. I mean, why would I put myself through a book with a character I don’t like? I already did that before in the Gridiron series by Jen Frederick and it didn’t go well. But, this is Callihan after all and I do love this series more than almost anything in regards to NA, so I gave it a chance. And now I’m eating all of my words. This book wasn’t just good, it wasn’t just another knockout by Callihan: this book was almost everything. It showed me a side of someone I couldn’t stand and made me understand how wrong I was about him and really changed my mind. It’s hard for me to even pinpoint where everything began to change because right out of the gate this book was so good. Is it better than Managed? In my opinion? No. Nothing will ever be better than that book because that book is like a godsend. But, it’s still amazing. And I loved every single second of reading this wonderful story.

THE GOOD

  • As I’ve already mentioned, everything about Jax’s character development was probably the best thing about this book. I’m always down for good character development but I’ve noticed that sometimes in NA, it’s something that isn’t really focused on or is kind of thrown in at the end just to hit a checklist or a quota. I’m not saying that this kind of thing to put down other authors or to make Callihan look better, it’s more of a “factual” statement. NA focuses a lot on the romance and the relationship more often than not, as opposed to really flushing out its characters, and that’s completely fine. But this is something I truly enjoy about Callihan’s writing, the fact that she takes all this time to flush out and develop her characters and part of me feels like what she did with Jax was some of her best work. As we know from past books, Jax attempted to take his own life before and therefore has a lot of problems, a lot of issues, and what we learn about him here is that he suffers from both depression and anxiety. This right off the bat changed my entire perspective about him, not because I want to sympathize that he has these mental health issues, but it just helped me to understand his character more and it made me want to delve further into his mind and see what exactly is going on in there. I always appreciate when authors discuss mental illness in their books because it is something we really need to start talking about more, but it’s always been something that is always associated with female characters and I’ve rarely seen it with male characters. I liked how Callihan associated anxiety specifically with Jax because again, it is something I’ve always seen with females but I think it just made him make more sense to me. It made me understand why he acted certain ways in the past and, like I said, put everything into perspective. It was a much needed discussion and “representation” for me. But what I really loved about his development was, first and foremost, that differentiation between Jax the rockstar and John the human being. It’s clear that Jax is who he is to his fans, who he is on stage, and the embodiment that he personifies. But off the stage, he’s simply John and I really, really like John. He’s an introverted homebody who loves his gran, enjoys old fashioned Victorian decorating, loves cooking, and his favourite movies are Lord of the Rings. Getting to know this person, as opposed to his stage character, was the true turning point not only in his development but in just getting me to like him. Seeing how his mind works, seeing how he’s like just by himself or with his friends and exploring his entire relationship with Stella really showed me who he is and how great he actually is. I love how Callihan took this negative perception I had of him and truly turned it into love.
  • I throughly, throughly enjoyed the romance in this book. The ones in the previous books have also been great but there were some times where I felt that it went a bit fast or the timeline wasn’t that great but it seemed like here that Callihan took her time not only developing her characters but the relationship as well. I liked that there was this period of John and Stella first becoming friends and building that foundation before moving forward with the romantic relationship. It gave off the feeling that it was a realistic relationship, one that was organic. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a stickler about NA relationships, but there are times where the couple hangs out or dates for maybe two weeks and all of a sudden they’re in love and that doesn’t seem real to me. I like when the couple starts off slow and go about learning each other’s likes and dislikes and truly getting to know one another. I don’t mind things getting physical early, that doesn’t bother me, it’s just when the real feelings start to be proclaimed in those first few weeks that bothers me. But with John and Stella, since there was this foundation, since John wanted to take things so slow and be patient for the first time in his life, especially because he’s never wanted to be slow with a girl and therefore furthers the importance of this, I could understand the feelings of love between them. I liked how kind and sweet John was with Stella and I liked how Stella dealt with John when he had his moments or “episodes.” I thought that their relationship was important and just overall lovely.
  • The talk that John and Killian had about what happened in the past and how they’ve been treating John overall was such a heart wrenching scene but one of my favourites, for sure. It’s so true that the entire group has been tiptoeing around John ever since he tried and no one really knew how to talk to him or handle him and in the long run, it’s something that hurt him more than it helped him. The fact that Stella was the one who called Killian and told him that he needs to talk to John about this truly speaks volumes about her character, but showed how much she understood John. I appreciate how the conversation between the two went and I think it really showed how important their relationship is. John needed to have that opportunity to get those things off his chest and Killian really needed to hear it. I’m glad that Callihan had John and Killian have this conversation, because it’s particularly important for John and his mental health, and I appreciate the emphasis on the importance of conversation for them.
  • I loved that the girls all formed their own little friendship group, regardless of their relationship with the boys, and made that effort to stay together and support one another. Seeing all the girls together is something I found lacking in the previous books, since Libby was the first girl and Sophie spent most of her time with Gabriel or the rest of the boys, so I’m glad that they all got together and lifted Stella up when she was feeling so down. It’s so important to see female friendships like this and I’m so happy this finally came into play.

THE BAD

  • Honestly, I’m still not a fan of how Callihan ends her books because it’s maybe a chapter-long resolution to the drama that occurred and then BAM the couple is happy and in love. I loved that they sorted everything out but I just wish that there was maybe another chapter after the make up happened. Yeah, there’s the epilogue, which was actually better than others I’ve seen, but I personally wanted to see more of an ending.
  • I cannot believe I got teased with Daddy Gabriel Scott but do not have an entire book about it. Give me that, Miss Callihan. I’m begging you. I need to see that kind of content in my life.
  • Kinda don’t like the cover, kinda wish it was different. But it’s fine.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • Obviously, if you have read the previous books in this series you’re gonna check out this book as well but I want to emphasize that even if you’re like me, even if you cannot stand Jax, give him a chance. Give this story a chance. It explores so many amazing and important topics that will fill you with happiness and understanding in the end. This book truly is a game changer in the VIP series.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Fall (VIP #3)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Pages: 568 (Kindle)
Goodreads

Until next time,

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What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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