Items ticked off: 9
In truth, the New Adult genre and I don't quite get along. For starters, it has come to represent a lot of the things I generally dislike in Romance (and while there are some non-contemporary romances in this genre, they are in the minority). It is often drama the size of a pyramid. There's slutshaming. Typical overly aggressive male leads. Heroines that are of the damsel in distress situation. Backgrounds that require years of therapy, but not here, because love saves the day. Some heavy stereotyping. Or in short terms: all my pet peeves.
Why do I mention this? Well, because for once, I've found a New Adult title that didn't overdose on these tropes. For once, we have regular young people who are trying to figure their lives out without turning it in to a sixteen seasons long soap opera.
The Year We Fell Down is about Corey and Hartley. Corey is a freshman at college, but she's a bit different from everyone else. Some months ago she was in an accident that put her in a wheelchair for most of her life. Hartley is suffering from an injured leg, but he will heal eventually. As these two people happen to live next door to each other, they bond over one of the two things they have in common: hockey. They are both dedicated to the sport. Corey used to play before she was injured, and Hartley will go back to playing once his leg is healed.
Now, Corey and Hartley. They were frustrating people. And they should be. They haven't had it easy lately. Corey is walking on a minefield around her parents that are now worrying about her constantly. But she does a fine job working through her troubles, and I liked her for the most time. I wasn't the biggest fan of how the romance at first progressed (mainly Corey's interest in Hartley). Compared to other heroines in this genre though, she's lovely as a person. Hartley was frustrating to equal measure. Then again, he had issues with his family as well, namely his father. I won't go into detail, but it's easy to figure out early in the story. It explained some of his less than stellar qualities. That's no excuse of course, but again, if we compare him to other heroes in New Adult, he's practically wonderful. He's humorous and caring.
I can't stress this enough though. Both Corey and Hartley have some major moment where I wanted to smack some sense into them, but they're young. They're figuring out who they are. It's common for young people to not be perfect. And frankly, in fiction, I don't want them to be. Which, kind of, in a way, made them perfect.
I had some minor issues though. However, the key word here is minor. And detail. The general story I really enjoyed. The rough parts were in the details, and I'll be happy to overlook them. The biggest of them was the conclusion to Hartley's family. It was a bit too neat to be true. Too convenient.
The Year We Fell Down represent something to me that most of the New Adult titles don't. For one thing, it doesn't shower the reader (and the characters) in drama. Nothing that would need a trigger warning. The Year We Fell Down proves that New Adult can be light, humorous, and doesn't need to take itself too seriously. That is something I value highly in this genre. It doesn't trivialize issues or downplay them. Instead, it dares to be a sweet, quick, and fun read.
A wonderful read, to put it in simple terms.