The Harder I Fall-Jessica Gibson
Plot: To say Becca had an easy life would be an understatement. Becca lost her childhood, forced into adulthood at a young age after the horrific, traumatic events she and her brother Chad witnessed many years ago. Becca was left to pick up the pieces of their broken household and hold their family together. Becca is finally old enough to escape her dark past and start a new life in college but guilt eats at her. Her brother Chad is everything to her and the crippling fear she has at leaving him alone with her alcoholic mother is enough to have her second guessing her life at Brown. Becca has dreams, big, beautiful, hopeful dreams of a life where she can taste stability and passion through her ballet and as her life at college starts to take shape, these dreams seem just on the horizon. Becca’s goals are her life and she’s never had time for distractions but when Levi smashes into her life, she’s tempted to take the leap. Her attraction to Levi is consuming, simmering beneath the surface no matter how often she tries to push thoughts of the sweet boy away, he’s always there in her thoughts, plus it doesn’t help that he’s unrelenting in his flirtations. Soon, Becca gives in to his pestering and they quickly become friends. Becca just starts to open up, to trust her friends and Levi with the twisted evils of her past when her fairytale begins to unravel at the seams. Will Becca’s shadowed past destroy her future? Will Levi’s love be enough to open her heart, take the leap, and fall into a love like she’s never experienced before? Will the nightmares ever cease enough to find peace?
Becca Langer was not a normal girl, she didn’t have normal girl problems. For most of her life, she’s had to take care of herself, her younger brother Chad, and her drunk mother. She’s lived under the shadow of what her father did when she was ten years old. Forever branded by his actions.
College was her escape, she could get away and finally live. Her dream was to make it in the New York Ballet Company one day. That for her meant a long road full of hard work and dedication. She didn’t have time for distractions, and Levi Klein was definitely a distraction.
Will Levi be able to crack through her tough exterior and really see the wounded soul underneath? Becca needs to be loved, but the question is, will she let Levi love her?
- Becca’s nightmares are heartbreaking. Her trauma, her fear, her sense of powerlessness and desperation to save her loved ones from pain is remarkable and really moving. The memories are fueled by torment, twisted and sickening, the hate and loathing, the paralyzing fear and what these children went through is sometimes hard to get through because it’s just so sad.
- Becca and Levi have such warm, magnetic interactions. Their chemistry is honest, bright, raw, and open. They share their feelings like open books and their relationship, though far from easy, falls together perfectly. Becca isn’t used to having someone take care of her, to protect her and hold her when she feels broken and Levi is that glowing bit of light and strength she needs to clear her head and combat the darkness within her. The way they tease and taunt each other is crazy cute.
- Becca is unbelievably strong. She’s a fierce, determined protagonist, she brushes off her past to focus on a better future. When Becca breaks it’s even more potent because of how far she’s come. When Becca confronts her mother, you’ll want to cheer for her bravery and that she had it within herself to face her demons and break away from the damage the lack of her mother’s love created. As Becca learns to live, she blossoms into a passionate, fun woman. Her heart has huge capabilities for love and laughter, so much that it’s staggering and bittersweet because of her history.
- Levi is the balance that Becca needs. He’s a knight, through and through. He knows how to console her, to hold her, to make her smile, and to give her strength at even her weakest moments. His love for her is like a sturdy dam, weathering the storm of her emotions, standing up to her waves of fear and the punches thrown by her messed up family. Levi is always there to help her sift through the wreckage of her life, coming up with answers, always aware of her needs and anything to put a smile on her face. Levi has a past and because it’s not a pretty one, his recovery is inspiring and makes him a little more perfect for Becca. It’s in his weakness that he found the motivation to change, to build, to love and to recognize Becca’s heart as one worth keeping.
- The Harder I Fall deals with child abuse in a way that really gets at the residual effects of lack of love, the pain, the memories, and the urge to give up that often accompanies abusive situations. The emotions were authentic, rough and far from sugar-coated. Becca and Chad’s struggles to overcome and prevail against their past was discussed and shuffled through with utmost care and understanding. As Becca and Chad worked through their issues, the scars from their past become more clear and defined, and their reactions are not always positive or proactive.
- There were a couple of typos here and there.
- Layla kind of slipped off the face of the planet mid-plot.
- The secondary character’s weren’t quite developed, there wasn’t substantial detail enough to build a solid connection. Sure, they were nice, caring people but there were only slices of personality shown, especially with Julian. Suddenly, Becca and Julian are great friends when there wasn’t a strong basis for this.
Jessica Gibson is a recovering bookaholic, she’s down from four books a week to a more reasonable one. It was that love of words and creativity that made her dream about writing her first book. That dream was hidden for years, always put on the back burner, filed away in the “someday” section, until her husband Matt gave her the kick in the pants she needed to actually get off her butt and write.
Jessica and Matt live in Southern California and have a serious addiction to reality tv shows like Pawn Stars and American Restoration. They have one son and hope to add to the family in the near future.
Aside from writing, she runs an online event planning business called the Release Day Diva. In addition to novels, Jessica writes and maintains the blog Book on the Bright Side. Keep up with Jessica and her latest releases and events on her blog.
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