Review: Headfirst Falling by Melissa Guinn

Headfirst FallingHeadfirst Falling by Melissa Guinn

Publication Date: September 23, 2013
Page Count: 262
Published by: Carina Press
Source: Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Falling in love. It doesn't seem to fit, like falling shouldn't be used in conjunction with love. We don't fall gracefully. In fact, there's nothing graceful about it. We crash into things—hit them hard, bounce around, give ourselves cuts, bruises or break bones… And it's never planned. It takes you by surprise. You lose control.

Charlie Day fell in love with Jackson Stiles a long time ago. But that was before he and her brother enlisted and went to Iraq. Before Jackson came back different. Before they told Charlie her brother would never come back at all.

A lot of things have changed since then. But when Jackson takes a job at the company where Charlie works, she discovers that one thing hasn't changed—the spark between them. She's not sure she can love this new Jackson, or forgive him for the part he played in her brother's death. It's too bad for Charlie that, with love, you don't always have a choice.

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The synopsis of Headfirst Falling sounded really interesting, but I thought the story was lacking emotional depth and I was left feeling really disappointed.

The protagonist, Charlie, wasn't likable at all. I found her to be extremely annoying, immature, and naive. She avoids dealing with things by running away and drinking excessively. She has no coping mechanisms at all, and lacks the skills necessary to communicate effectively.

Despite a few issues I had with Jackson, I ended up liking him. He was carrying around a ton of guilt, and feeling not worthy of being with Charlie. He was trying to deal with his war experiences and with survivor's guilt, and he didn't always handle things in the best way. He was very guarded and good at hiding his thoughts and feelings. It was really difficult getting to know him, especially since we see everything from Charlie's POV. This is one of those times when dual POV would have been wonderful! I would have loved to be in Jackson's head during this time because his character was more complex.

I sort of enjoyed Charlie and Jackson when they were together, and I could understand their attraction to each other. Although part of the reason they wanted to be together seemed to be out of habit because they snuck around to be together while they were teens. So even though they were trying to create a new relationship as adults, the forbidden aspect still played a huge part. They both wanted to be happy, and I think they both deserved to be able to give their relationship the opportunity to be something special. But I also knew they didn't stand a chance if they couldn't learn how to communicate. Misunderstanding was a constant theme in this book, and the characters were always jumping to conclusions and making fools of themselves over small things.

This book would have been so much more enjoyable if the author hadn't created so much drama just for the sake of giving Charlie and Jackson conflict. They really had enough on their plates dealing with the death of Charlie's brother, Charlie's drinking, and Jackson's PTSD. I think it was at about 75% in when situations escalated into ridiculous territory and I felt that it was just too much. It's hard to root for a couple when they both start behaving stupidly and making really bad choices, especially when it comes out of nowhere and has absolutely no basis.

I really wanted to enjoy Headfirst Falling, but in the end it was just okay. I finished reading it to find out what happens, but only because I was curious to see if Charlie and Jackson could get their shit together long enough to have a meaningful conversation that didn't end up with misunderstandings and hurt feelings. I'm so sad to say that I really can't recommend this book because I wish it had been so much better. Headfirst Falling had so much potential, but it really fell short.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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  1. Definitely a skip. I'm not fond of thinly manufactured conflicts in stories. Great review, Sandra.

    1. Thanks. I had high hopes for this book, and I hate that I was disappointed.

  2. Ouch. Sorry it didn't impress you. Thanks for the honest review.

    1. You're welcome. Others may enjoy this book, but I did not.


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