This novella is real, honest, and captivating. It’s the kind of novella that’s definitely worth your reading time and the emotional investment. It’s well-written and has it’s own distinct voice, but it still fits inside the original world and storyline well, without feeling like it’s repeating everything I already thought I knew. I liked it so much I bought it for my Kindle, despite the fact that I already received free access from the publisher to read and review it.
THE ENTIRE REST OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR THE NOVEL, NO PLACE TO FALL. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE NOVEL, PLEASE GO DO THAT NOW.
Don’t miss the giveaways at the bottom of this post!
I adored Will in NO PLACE TO FALL, almost as much as I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. He was one of those guys you want to adore, but he just kept screwing things up, over and over and over again. I mean, it was obvious to everyone that he cared for Amber Plain and Small, even when he played it cool or acted indifferent, but every moment that I thought he might pull it together, the darned boy would go and screw it up. Again.
Still, I was always a fan and on his side, because I knew that while his actions were sometimes shitty, his intentions never were. In real life, I’m usually the kind of person that feels actions speak louder than words or intentions, but in my fictional world, I’m a much kinder, more empathetic and forgiving person. That’s why I love this novella so much, because I get to understand Will even more, and he’s a fascinating character.
I think part of the reason I often wanted to scream into the story to guide Will is that adult Becky (me) can see how he’s making everything harder than it has to be, but stupid teenage Becky would have been just as clueless and made just as many mistakes as Will does. He’s an actual teenager, who doesn’t get how the whole world and relationships work yet, and that’s exactly what he should be at this point in his life. I can’t refuse to forgive him his mistakes and transgressions, if I’m not willing to be honest and reflect back on all the dumb things I ever did, all the signs I misread, all the times I acted indifferent to something or someone when it would have better to do the opposite and be emotionally straight forward. I think that’s the root of Will’s problem. He’s too worried about rejection to see that he is the one doing the rejecting.
I really enjoyed how this novella showed Will’s character growth. He comes into his own, and I enjoyed that in NO PLACE TO FALL, but it’s really cool to see it come together from his point of view.
Also, in regards to the cheating: yeah, that’s kind of shitty behavior, even if his relationship with the other Amber was immature and she treated Will pretty crappy in return. Those weren’t reasons to treat someone poorly, and I do wish he had broken it off with her sooner. But hopes and wishes aren’t reality, and I refuse to judge all the good that Will is, based off of one crappy, high school relationship choice. I wouldn’t want my life or worth judged in that fashion. I believe in his ability to get back up and do better, because at heart, he’s a really decent guy with a lot of potential.
Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina. She’s in awe of magic and beauty, and is a stalwart champion for the underdog, both human and other. When she’s not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches, or on her small farm hanging out with her dogs, cats, and horses.
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown
Summary: Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.
When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.
Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.
Will’s Story: A No Place to Fall Novella by Jaye Robin Brown
Published April 5th 2016 by Epic Reads Impulse
Summary: Will McKinney is a bad boy. At least, he used to be. After nearly getting arrested for some poor decisions involving prescription drugs, Will has been trying to turn over a new leaf. Well, it’s that or suffer the wrath of his father, the judge. Will’s starting to get his life in Sevenmile, North Carolina, in order. He’s applying to colleges. He’s dating the most popular girl at school. And he recently discovered a love of playing the banjo and performing in front of a crowd. But it’s that same love of music that draws him to Amber Vaughn, his younger teenage brother’s best friend. Now Will finds himself wondering if he just might really be a bad guy because even though he’s got a girlfriend, he can’t stop thinking about Amber.
Will’s Story is a companion novella to Jaye Robin Brown’s young adult debut, No Place to Fall, and perfect for fans of her novel and newcomers alike.
(please note that one is specifically US ONLY and the other INTL ONLY)
– US ONLY-
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*Giveaways run from Monday April 11 – Monday April 25.*