Publisher: Butterfly Books, LLC
Publish Date: January 2nd 2015
Page Amount: 355 Pages
Price: $16.00 Hardback
ISBN: 1937815072 (ISBN13: 9781937815073)
"*What if it’s time to move on?*
Over six months after an accident that broke her legs as well as removed her boyfriend from her life—because Cam Campbell left town and dumped her—high school senior, Ellen Foster, wants to move past her broken heart. She’s off to attend a summer photography workshop at a real university along with her best friends. Ellen’s determined to find a new love—or at least a summer boyfriend. In the dorm, she meets Harrison Shaw. He’s a handsome photography student, a charmer who likes her, and a perfect way to forget her past.
*What if it all goes perfectly?*
Ellen thinks she has everything she wants. Her summer program couldn’t be better. She’s half in love with Harrison Shaw, and she’s going after her next scholarship. But when she kisses Harrison, she can only remember how Cam Campbell used kiss her better, sweeter, and how he used to make her feel like she could fly…
*What if something’s not right?*
When Cam shows up at the university it’s a shock, especially to Ellen’s new boyfriend. Cam’s distant, different and very afraid to hurt Ellen again. He asks Ellen if they could be friends despite the past and how they’ve both changed and Ellen agrees. But after all they’ve been through, can Cam and Ellen ever be just friends?
How I Fall, is the first book, bestselling, high school romance series ending with: How I Fly. Though they can be read as stand-alone-it is recommended readers read this book first. The series is about friendship, boyfriends, taking risks and first love. There’s a photographer heroine who has left-sided cerebral palsy (hemiparesis) that makes her weak on one side and she falls often; all while she’s falling deeply in love with football jock, Cam Campbell. A guy who also dreams to be a photographer like Ellen but can't because of his parents’ controlling rules." (Goodreads Description)
This review is Read at Your Own Risk – meaning there will be spoilers! The majority of the spoilers are marked with *spoiler* and *end spoiler* when they are completed, but there may be some small details that I did not mark.
How I Fly is the second book in the How I Fall series, written by Anne Eliot. For those of you that have been around this blog for a while, you probably have seen the immense amount of love that I have for this author, as well as this series. In fact, my review for How I Fall was actually split into two posts, just because I found I had that much more to say about it. (If you did not read my review for the first book, How I Fall, you can read it here and here. I suggest reading at least the first part of the How I Fall review, before you continue reading this one.).
How I Fly did not disappoint me, and I had very high expectations for the second book in this series. How I Fly continues to follow the story of Ellen Foster, a girl dealing with the struggles and challenges of Cerebral Palsy while going through her own high school experiences. This book continues six months after the ending of the first book, which is six months after *spoiler* Ellen has her multiple surgeries to correct the damage that Cam had done after he (accidentally) tackles her *end spoiler*. The reader is greeted with other familiar characters from the last book as well - some of these characters being Laura, Patrick, and *spoiler* even Camden Campbell, or now known as Camden Reece. Ellen, Patrick, and Laura, after winning the WOA photography competition mentioned in How I Fall, find themselves boarding at the WOA university for the summer as a prize for winning the competition. *end spoiler* What these characters don’t know, is that this summer is filled with rigorous photography classes, almost unobtainable expectations, yet another (more prestigious) scholarship competition, and, for Ellen Foster, one Harrison Shaw.
How I Fly satisfied me in many of the same ways of How I Fall. I once again would like to reiterate how nice it is that a person with a disability or disabilities does not have to find another person with a disability in order to lead a normal life or to have a relationship that is beneficial to them. Based on the ending of this book, I also applaud the fact that Anne also made the point that just because two people appear to be “in the same boat” or dealing with similar challenges, it does not automatically mean that things will work out. I would like to thank Anne for also pointing out that a disability or a common challenge is not the only thing that makes a relationship successful. In fact, I would like to say that an abuse of this “commonality” in order to gain trust, *spoiler* *cough, cough* Harrison Shaw *end spoiler* damages a relationship beyond repair, and has consequences that last way beyond the duration of said relationships. One common struggle or life experience does not mean that two people are automatically entered into a relationship that will last, but rather, a combination of other factors.
In terms of the plot progression and layout of the book, I loved the dual narration aspect once more, however the dual narration in How I Fly is between Ellen and Camden (Cam). For readers that completed the first book in the series, it is common knowledge that Cam’s story is left pretty much open ended, with the end chapters of How I Fall focusing more on Ellen and her recovery.
This dual narration not only brings closure to Camden’s actions during How I Fall, but introduces a completely new storyline within How I Fly. The dual narration with Cam, as well as Ellen, is extremely important, because each character has pieces of their own story that are hidden from one another, in turn, creating conflicts between the two and deepening the plot line and development.
Another piece of information surrounding the dual narration involves the placement of the narration. The narration does not switch off after every chapter, and this is something I found ideal, in terms of surrounding the different storylines of the characters. This helped me in order to determine the times in which certain actions took place and allowing a proper “ending point” for one character’s narration, in terms of what event they are completing at the time. This way, necessary details would not be left out of one character’s narration just to stick with the “structure” of switching the narration off from one character to another after every chapter. I like that the structure of this dual narration is not typical.
I really loved the plot line, as well as the progression that this plot endures. Throughout the book, the reader experiences the perfect amount of time spent in the photography classroom, time spend relaxing in the dorm rooms, and time spent taking trips or doing other activities for leisure. Each minute spent in each of these different locations helped to develop the plot tremendously – the plot was always moving and developing. Personally, I found that no point of the story moved too fast or too slow. There were some moments where the story itself seemed to move in a slower pace than in the rest of it, but this is all justified in the resolution of the plot at the conclusion of the novel. This also made this book a very easy read, and I was able to finish it in only a couple of hours due to the nature of the plot progression and writing style. Not only was it easy to read, but the plot progression gave me a reason to finish reading it. When I was not reading this story, “What will happen next?” was constantly on my mind, along with “How will *insert name of character* deal with this?”. This is one of the only series and books where the characters (and the rest of the story) are constantly on my mind.
I have a large connection with the characters and the storyline, simply because I share some personal struggles and challenges with the main character, Ellen, and I can never fully express my appreciation to Ms. Anne for writing a “diverse” book in a world where representation can sometimes be hard to find or fight for. The deep connection that I have with the story definitely has an impact on my review in several ways, all for the better. One of the pieces that I was most worried about for this series was whether or not the information surrounding Ellen’s physical challenges would be correct or inaccurate. I have to say, Anne does her research! I actually had contact with her and I was able to share some of my own experiences with her. But, beyond me, Anne has spoken to several individuals who have to share in the same struggles, for example, Charisse and Chloe. Anne Eliot has accurate information, and I find this important within the story, because, not only is the representation correct, but I feel that it also illustrates the amount of detail and caring that Anne pours into her characters and her stories. Anne’s stories are so genuine and she really cares about her characters as well as her readers.
Of course, Anne Eliot is always on my “automatically-buy” or “I-have-to-review/own-this-book” lists, and she will remain on these lists for as long as she continues to write her books. If this is your first time hearing of Anne and her books, I definitely recommend that you learn more about her and give her books a shot. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
How I Fly has an exquisite, universal message that is sure to apply to all readers: Life is not about how hard you fall, but learning how to soar.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars!!
I received this book from the lovely Anne Eliot in exchange for an honest review.