Title: Even If I Fall
Author: Abigail Johnson
Publication: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: Teen, YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.
When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.
But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson is a heart-wrenching story of grief and the strange ways in which our minds choose are best to recover.
The story follows Brooke as she faces a life of solitude with only one best friend that stands by her, and only because she doesn’t know the truth. Her family is grieving in a way another local family is, but for much different reasons. one is grieving the loss of a son and brother who was brutally murdered. The other is grieving the loss of a son and brother who is locked up for committing the brutal murder. The town has basically turned their backs on Brooke’s family and a year later she has learned to cope with a life where your presence makes everyone awkward.
I loved this story because it showed both sides of a tragedy. Most of the time in a story about a murder, we hear a lot about the accused murderer and a lot about the family the murder effected directly. You don’t really think too much about the family who has to deal with the fact that someone they know and loved committed this heinous crime. For some, they can’t quite understand how the family didn’t know the person was capable of that. For others, they feel like they did know and did nothing to stop it. Johnson wrote this dilemma beautifully. It showed the suffering that other family goes through trying to balance their love for an individual and their confusion over how they could become such a person.
On the other side of this story Johnson wrote the absolute devastation that murder caused the family who is now forever without their loved one. Heath was this upstanding gentleman that his mother taught him to be, but fighting his inner anger at the same time. There is a conversation Heath has with Brooke in this book where he explains that sometimes he finds it hard to even look at her without his anger boiling, but he does understand it’s misdirected. I feel like that is such a realistic struggle for people in this situation. Johnson nailed it on the head.
I loved the relationships we got to see in this story, whether it be between enemies, friends, and family. They were raw, uncomfortable, beautiful, and intricate. Johnson has a way of writing characters just enough to make you feel what they feel, but leave you enough to form your own image as well. It was perfectly balanced. I found it interesting how a new relationship that should be painful because of the circumstances ends up being exactly what a few of the characters need to start the real road to recovery.
While this may not be a book for everyone due to the nature of the story, but I think it’s one everyone could learn something from. It was an “easy read” in the sense that it flowed well and Johnson writing style is detailed and smooth. The characters keep you interested. There was even a little mystery tied into this novel. I think anyone could enjoy this book for different reasons. I’m a fan and will be checking out more from Abigail Johnson.
STAR RATING: 5/5
Pick up your copy of Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson on January 8 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more work from author Abigail Johnson on her website HERE!