Novel: The Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker | Goodreads
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 2.75 stars
His obsession. Her fall.
Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and attending her dream school, Boston College.
But love has a way of changing things.
Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.
Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…
But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.
So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.
If she waits any longer, it may be too late.
The Girl Who Fell is a really tough book for me to rate. I believe the author had the best intentions when writing it, a belief that is supported by the author’s note in the back of the book. However, it was an uncomfortable and generally un-fun book to read, often because of the topic it deals with. The dialogue (and relationship) between Alec and Zephyr is dramatic, awkward, cheesy, and cringeworthy. He’s such a creep. The writing style left me feeling like I was being told a lot and shown very little, particularly in regards to Zephyr’s family life and her father’s departure. Zephyr’s issues with her father were used to explain a lot of her illusions in her relationship with Alec, but the daddy issues were dealt with weakly, not head-on. The ending, when Zephyr finally sees Alec for what he really is, was the best part of the book, but even it was rushed and not thorough. I would have preferred to see less of the book dedicated to Zephyr and Alec’s relationship and more to the aftermath of its ending.
What I Liked
Zephyr. A senior in high school who’s been dying to escape her hometown all her life. She’s a perfectionist, she has a life plan, she knows exactly what she wants. She also has flaws, insecurities and trust issues, especially when it comes to men (especially her dad), which in turn affects her perspective in and about romantic relationships. I found her to be so relatable on the surface, and I understood how she got to where she was in her relationship with Alec, even though the execution resulted in a physical insta-love scenario.
Lizzie and Gregg. Lizzie was always there for Zephyr, always supportive, and her unwavering friendship and loyalty was inspiring. We need more Lizzies in YA! Gregg had his moments. Sometimes he was a jerk, even if he was acting from a place of hurt and rejection. But mostly, he was a really caring guy and I wish I had a Gregg in my life.
Hockey. I love, love, LOVE hockey. It’s my favorite sport ever and the fact that it was mentioned a lot, even in passing, in The Girl Who Fell was awesome. Gregg is a star player, and Zephyr and Lizzie attend a lot of his games. Alec is a goalie, but he’s a douchebucket so who cares.
The issue. I appreciate that The Girl Who Fell deals with the prevalent issue of abusive relationships. It’s refreshing to see a darker side of contemporary YA romance.
What I Didn’t Like
The execution of the issue. I do feel that The Girl Who Fell, despite the plethora of sex scenes, was written a little young in dealing with this issue. It doesn’t necessarily tackle the issue, but rather presents it. Which is better than nothing, but I would have liked to see Zephyr wrestle with the realities of her relationship throughout rather than suddenly have an epiphany and end things.
The sex. Why were there so many goddamn sex/groping/makeout scenes?! At times, The Girl Who Fell read like a freaking erotica novel! I ended up skimming some of the book, though not just the sex scenes, because it was boring, repetitive, and, in my mind, unnecessary. I just wanted to reach a climax and resolution.
The pacing. So much of the novel was dedicated to Zephyr’s relationship with Alec. It got a bit dull, especially when there was no resolution with Gregg and no developments or conflict with Lizzie. Zephyr doesn’t even feel conflicted about Alec or the relationship, she just feels guilty for “hurting” him all the time, so most of the book was a shit show of BORING and OMG I HATE ALEC, THAT DICK.
Alec. Speaking of Alec… Yeah, he sucked. And yes, he was supposed to. That was kind of the point. But ugh, I hate him. I also pity him. But mostly hate.
The ending. The ending, for me, was where the book picked up. Zephyr connects the dots and realizes what the reader has known all along: that Alec is a manipulative swine. (The manipulations are very blatant and predictable.) However, the ending also felt very rushed and dramatic, and I didn’t get as much resolution as I would have liked. And I thought that, after all the pain her dad’s leaving caused her, Zephyr’s easy forgiveness of him after they met for dinner was a bit unrealistic. I also would have liked Gregg and Zephyr to really end up together, but it’s kind of just left up in the air. Sigh.
The Girl Who Fell is a decent book that deals with a complex issue in a simplistic way. As a senior in high school myself, I found parts of it very relatable. I can’t say I enjoyed reading most of it, but I don’t think it’s a bad book and I don’t want to discourage others from reading it. As a reader who has explored other books on the issue of abusive relationships, I found The Girl Who Fell to be predictable and underwhelming, but for those who have not yet read a story like it, it could be eye-opening.
Thanks for reading.