I had no idea what to expect going into this one (I didn’t even read the synopsis) and boy was I pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for a fantastic contemporary to get you out of a reading rut, this book is just the thing you need!
“The memories mean nothing to me if I can’t recall them. Except for the small fact that… they mean everything. No matter what people want to believe, life is locked in the past. It’s all we are — a timeline of events that make up a person.”
Clementine Haas wakes up in a hospital in Ireland the sole survivor of a plane crash. Her only memories are vague remebrances of the actual crash. She doesn’t remember anything from her life before. And because that’s a terrifying thing that she has to learn to live with she gets freaked out and runs away from the hospital to try to sort out who she is on her own and wait for her memories to hopefully return.
This is a great example of how contemporary, when done well, doesn’t have to have the most pressing plot in order to be immensely enjoyable. For most of the book Clementine is just wandering around a small town in Ireland thinking and pining after a super cute boy. It’s not like there’s a ton of action going on. But that’s where The Upside of Falling Down will get you, because dang it this book is just so charming and wonderful and I just wanted to live in its pages the entire time I was reading.
Kieren is the dashing and quippy love interest (with a dash of moodiness and secrecy thrown in for good measure), while his twin sister Siobhan is the angst-riddled anger machine who detests Clementine’s presence and hides behind hostility. And then there’s Clive, the comic relief who ties them all together. They make one heck of motley crew and dang it if I didn’t just love them to pieces.
“Clive doesn’t back down. ‘Austen knew that surprises make stories more interesting. You can’t be afraid of them, or you might miss out.'”
There are a few curveballs here that I can’t talk about without spoiling things, but I want to at least touch on them. I didn’t see many of them until they were right under my nose, and I liked the build-up throughout the story. There were some cleverly placed clues hidden along the path, and whlie I caught some of them I know that I missed others.
This is a total romance book, with just enough mystery weaving through it to keep things interesting for a reader who isn’t that into romance (like myself). But it’s also more than just romance – it’s about finding yourself when you feel lost. It’s about trust, friendship, and family. It’s about self-discovery. And who doesn’t need a book like that in their lives?
Overall, I would highly recommend this contemporary to anyone looking for something light-hearted and tender.
Rating: 5/5 stars