There are times when Heather & I finish a book, but don’t have time to write a full, comprehensive review… or even a shorter “flashbulb” review. BUT we still want to share our thoughts with you on what we’ve been reading. That’s why every Saturday we’ll be featuring 2 “snippet” reviews — short, sweet, to-the-point reviews that we’ll try to keep to 2-7 sentences. So we hope you enjoy these!!
Heartbreaking, hilarious and beautiful, Where We Fell tells the story of eighteen-year-old Oliver, who’s just been diagnosed with lymphoma, and his friendship with Hannah, the girl who’s indefatigable optimism and resolve gives him the encouragement and support and sense of normalcy he so desperately needs. In some ways it’s a weighty little novella, as the reader is given a front row seat to Oliver’s illness and struggles– the cancer taking both a great physical and emotional toll. He tries to stay positive, but it’s hard when he sees his body changing, growing weaker, coming to the realization that the future is a big “?”, and rapidly recognizing his mortality. It’s a lot for a recent high school graduate to handle. It’s a lot for anyone to handle. However, weighty subject though it is, Johnson does a fantastic job of contrasting (sometimes complimenting) the uncertainty and pain with Hannah’s influence.
On the same day his entire world has been turned upside down, Oliver meets Hannah, the worst-but-most-interesting waitress ever, at the local diner, and she insists that they become friends (because she’s awesome like that). Hannah quickly and voluntarily assumes the role of Oliver’s anchor, cheerleader, figurative butt-kicker, and confidante. She’s the one who reminds him it’s still ok to laugh and live; to fight, and hope, and plan even as the cancer gains more of a foothold. It’s a tricky subject, and the seriousness/humor a delicate balance to maintain, but Johnson does it with a wonderful, heartwarming authenticity.
Poignant, a bit irreverent, and sweet, Where We Fell is a beautiful portrayal of friendship, love, and life in the midst of personal tragedy.
This series was one that took a little while to grow on me. I didn’t love it immediately in the first book. By the end of Under the Never Sky, I was hooked and I definitely LOVED Through the Ever Night, so I was really looking forward to Into the Still Blue. I really enjoyed the way Veronica Rossi dove into these characters. There were so many amazing moments and truly epic disasters through this series. The scope of these books was complex and the plot was well laid out. The only thing that was sort of lackluster was the ending. And don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad ending, it just didn’t really do the book justice. When I read the final “battle” and the closing pages, I just didn’t get that sense of completeness and finale that I was looking for. Overall though, this was a wonderful ending to a very engaging story.