ARC Review: How We Fall by Kate Brauning

How We FallGenres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: November 3rd, 2014
Publisher Merit Press
Source:  eARC from Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much–and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus–and deepens Jackie’s despair.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?


I’d like to start off by saying that if you’re interested in this book because you loved Forbidden you might want to give it a pass. I don’t actually say this with any authority since I haven’t actually read the book but from the reviews I’ve read, I’d imagine that this book is nowhere near the same level as Forbidden. 

That said, I adored the book. It wasn’t mind blowing, it wasn’t AMAHZING but at the same time, it was an emotional read and it kept me up for a couple minutes. You might imagine that is not a lot but I am usually someone who’d rather daydream before going to bed so the fact that I kept on coming back to this book was a big deal for me.

The characters are what take the cake in this book. The author makes them realistically flawed but at the same time they aren’t horrible people. They are lovable even if you want to shake them from time to time.

There is a good chance Jackie will bother you but she didn’t bother me. I loved that she wasn’t all, ‘we love each other, let’s do this’. She had doubts. She knows her relationship with her cousin isn’t going to be viewed the way she wished it could be viewed. The way society feels affects her. She doesn’t want to be the one that sticks out like a sore thumb because of who she loves. As a result, she ends up not realizing the extent of her feelings for Marcus and ends up pushing him away. I love that she actually realizes how silly she is being in a lot of the cases. That’s what makes her a likeable character. This is a self-discovery process and it takes her a while to realize what it is she wants and it takes her even longer to actually do something about it but then again, no one said that change would happen in a day.

Marcus is just as wonderful. He is a perpetually sweet guy but at the same time, he is tired of not being sure how Jackie feels about him and when they call the quits, he is a jerk. We know that he loves her but at the same time; he does immature things because he is heartbroken. Maybe subconsciously, he does want to hurt her, the same way she hurt him. It did make me want to shake him but considering the kind of guy he is, it made sense that he would lash out this way.

My favorite secondary character was hands down Will. The author could have easily made him into the douchy guy that would make the female lead realize how much she loved Marcus but the author didn’t do that. Instead she let Will be a genuinely nice guy, appearances aside. She let the two be friends and she let Will be the friend she really needed at that point of time.

All these wonderful things said; I am not so sure how I feel about the romance. It’s emotional and angsty and amazing but at the same time, I was discomforted by it. It was that odd mix of where I was cheering for them but at the same time, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with their relationship. In this case though, I don’t think it would entirely be possible to write a romance that would be a 100% comfortable.

The mystery was definitely a nice addition to the story but don’t go into this book thinking it’s going to be a mystery. It’s not. It’s still primarily a contemporary romance.

That isn’t to say that the mystery wasn’t good, the little there was. It just wasn’t as well developed as it could have been considering how well the author lay the foundations.

I wish I could talk about the ending but me saying anything would give away what happens and I think it’s for you to find out what becomes of the two and whether they get the HEA they want or if they end up going their separate ways.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an intense, emotional, contemporary romance to read.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.5
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    I received an ARC of this book during the summer, and I’ve been super-stoked to read it since! Your review is probably the first review I’ve seen on one of my bloggy friends’ blogs! The fact that you enjoyed this one for a fair amount makes me so happy! Comparing it to Forbidden makes me so intrigued! I haven’t read that one either but I’ve heard so many good things! I’m the type who’s always looking for a good contemporary romance… And I think that this is it! :D
    Michelle recently posted…The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness ReviewMy Profile

  2. says

    I actually read Forbidden, and I got to tell, it was so confusing. I loved it, but at the same time I don’t haha. I’m not sure if this one is the same tho, its not as extreme as Forbidden, but the characters sound so lovely. I want to find out about Ellie tho, hmmm
    Jules recently posted…Mini-Review: Shameless by Nina LemayMy Profile

  3. says

    I’m glad to hear that you could relate with the characters and that the romance had you torn between being uncomfortable and rooting for them! That’s sign of a really well written romance around a social taboo like relationships between cousins.

    It’s a shame the mystery wasn’t more important because I don’t think I’ll be reading this one as a purely contemporary romance, not even with the uncomfortable topic.

    Great review Rashika!
    Pili recently posted…Saturday Pages: ARC Review of Compulsion by Martina Boone!!My Profile

  4. says

    Reading the blurb was already uncomfortable for me. I do love contemporaries but hmm falling for your cousin? I don’t know. I haven’t read Forbidden and I’ve heard a lot about it too. Though I’m not sure about the subject matter, maybe I’ll give this one a try soon because Ellie makes me curious.
    Ella recently posted…Review: Friends Without Benefits by Penny ReidMy Profile

  5. says

    I’ve never heard of this author before, but Forbidden does ring a bell. Though… that title is such a common one so I could be thinking of a dif book altogether lol! Anyway, Marcus does sound sweet, but I’m not sure I’d like him when he’s being a jerk because well..jerks are jerks hah.

    Great review, Rashika <33

  6. says

    I actually hadn’t heard of this one before but after reading the synopsis I was immediately intrigued. I did happen to read Forbidden a few years back and while I loved it I don’t think any other book along those lines could ever really come close to emotional trainwreck that Forbidden put me through. It was a difficult book to read but so complex that I couldn’t put it down. The main characters both seem like flawed, realistic portrayals of people and I want to give this book a shot just to get to know them better. Especially Jackie, don’t we all doubt our love and relationships at one point? I hate how this is rarely explored in YA and so I really want to read more about Jackie’s stance on it. Lovely review Rashika! recently posted…Snow Like Ashes(Snow Like Ashes #1): ReviewMy Profile

  7. says

    DID I SNIFF THE MENTION OF A MYSTERY AND A ROMANCE THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIKED? Duh, Im reading. I’ll confess it now: Imma stalk till the day you die/stop reading books. Self-confessed stalker, a new achievement for me.
    Stuti recently posted…Unbecoming: A NovelMy Profile