Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Books I've Read: The Opposite of Falling Apart

As someone who has written a novel about an amputee (Stumped), the description of this book was enough to have me begging NetGalley for the opportunity to read this one. Thankfully they said yes!

Over a year after losing his leg, Jonas still isn't in a good place. He's still angry at the world for allowing this to happen to him and spends most of his time hiding out in his room. His prosthetic leg has been in the closet so long it has dust on it and he quit physical therapy to learn how to use it better months ago. He dragged himself through his last few months at high school on crutches and is preparing to drag himself off to college the same way.

When his mother begs him to run a quick errand, Jonas reluctantly agrees, putting on the now-ill-fitting prosthetic and getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time since the accident. On the way, he freaks out a little at the sight of a truck like the one that ran into him on that terrible day and that moment of distraction sends his vehicle into the back of Brennan's.

Brennan has her own demons. She's struggled with anxiety for years, but has never told anyone quite how crippling it really is. She fights through every day using a mixture of rituals and writing to keep herself together enough to manage a few everyday interactions. She doesn't want to deal with insurance or having to see Jonas again, so tells him not to worry about the dent he's made in her car. He refuses to take no for an answer so they exchange numbers.

Much of Brennan and Jonas' burgeoning relationship develops through the texts they send each other. Both are isolated and largely friendless. Both are dealing with parents who, while well-meaning, are suffocating them. Both are afraid to go to college where things will be unfamiliar, challenging and strange.

Before long, the texts turn into meetings in person. It turns out they are heading to colleges close to each other - so close, one of Jonas' classes is on Brennan's campus. As they struggle through their first semester at college, Jonas and Brennan turn to each other more and more often, finally realizing their friendship is turning into something else, something bigger and far more overwhelming than either are prepared for.

I really enjoyed this book. Both main characters had real problems to deal with and the ways they coped and reacted felt authentic, even when they frustrated me. Jonas and Brennan are sweet kids and I was rooting for them to work out ways to overcome their issues and realize they were better together than they were on their own.

I also liked that their parents were part of the picture and were just as clumsy in the way they dealt with their kids' problems as their kids. It was clear they really loved them and wanted the best for them, but they were no better prepared to deal with these issues.

So I would definitely recommend this one.

But don't just listen to me. Here's the blurb:

After losing his leg in a terrible car accident, Jonas Avery can’t wait to start over and go to college. Brennan Davis would like nothing more than to stay home and go to school, so she can keep her anxiety in check. When the two accidentally meet the summer before they move away, they’ll push each other to come to terms with what’s holding them back, even as they’re pulled closer to taking the biggest leap of all—falling in love. The Opposite of Falling Apart has more than 2.1 million reads on Wattpad.

1 comment:

  1. It's always nice when they manage to turn characters into real people.