Here's to Falling by Christine Zolendz
NA Contemporary Romance
We were all friends…until we weren’t.
We depended on each other…until we couldn’t.
We were in love…until we were ripped apart.
We moved on…even when we didn’t want to let go.
This is our love story.
**This standalone novel contains material that some may find disturbing. Intended for mature readers only.
This is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it, and long after you’ve read countless other books to follow. It embeds itself in your heart, and if you’re like me, it comes rushing back to the surface every time something reminds you of it (I swear I get tears in my eyes every time I hear “See You Again” on the radio now). It’s been almost a week since I finished reading Here’s to Falling, and every day I’ve found myself at some point thinking back to Jase, Charlie, and Joey, my heart hurting a little for them and everything they went through. And I don’t regret it for one second, because their story was so absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing that it made the painful moments that much more worth experiencing with them.
Told through the eyes of Jase and Charlie, through varying points in their lives, we get the full spectrum of how these three misfits met, grew to become friends, and then eventually became each other’s everything, right down to their souls. Their past together is revealed through glances back at their childhood, running seamlessly within the present day storyline, and I loved every moment we got to see of their friendship. Charlie and Joey were best buds as kids, and the day the angry-looking boy moved next door would prove to be a life-changing event for them. Jase was abrasive at first, even as a child, but he quickly warmed up to the feisty Charlie and her slightly awkward friend. They were inseparable, even as Jase and Charlie’s parents slowly destroyed their lives piece by piece through their selfish choices. There was so much pain and disappointment for them as children, but they held strong by always having each other’s backs. Simply put, their friendship was miraculous.
The farther we get into Jase, Charlie, and Joey’s lives, the more a sense of foreboding bubbled to the surface. It’s clear from Charlie’s thoughts that something massively traumatic happened, and the closer the event came the more my stomach was in knots. It still didn’t prepare me for what these characters that I absolutely adored had to go through, and I’ll warn you this is not for the faint of heart. It ripped my heart open and left me raw, but Christine Zolendz has a gift with turning her readers’ pain into something incredible, and she’s done that yet again here. So, while I wished that everything could be sunshine and roses for these three amazing people who without a doubt deserved it, this was their journey and I feel lucky to have been along for the ride.
Christine has mentioned that this story was inspired by true events, and I highly recommend that everyone read her dedication and author’s note at the beginning of the book before diving in. It’s hard to imagine how difficult this story must have been to write, and my heart goes out to an amazing author who was brave enough to share this with her readers.
Bravo, much love, and two raving, enthusiastic, heart-felt thumbs up for this amazing story.
Sometimes, the memories attack me like a fever, and all I want to do is hide my mind from them, hide my heart; protect what’s left of it.
I’ve heard some people say that what you remember is not the whole truth; it’s our thoughts of what we wanted things to be remembered as. They believe that we change our memories, that we just fabricate them into pasts that we can live with. Do I believe that?
No. I believe I remember everything, every little detail. ~Loc 187
You know the love I’m talking about, right? The one with kisses that spark fires, touches that ignite your soul, and the whispers, God the whispers, that make you believe you can fly. The problem with that love is I was still left in ashes, burnt little embers, charred remains of things that could have been. I needed to just settle for one of those loves that was mild and tepid against my lips, and non-flammable to my heart. I didn’t want to be singed again. I’d never live through it. ~Loc 247
Weaving my way through our friends as they laughed and talked, not one of them realized that my insides were dropping from within me, and my heart was shattering against the ground.
Charlie was always good
At shattering my heart.
She was the only one
That ever could.
To this day. ~Loc 2702
“You leave, Charlie, and I will chase you. I will chase you until I am old and gray. I want my best friend back. I want the best thing that ever happened to me back. And I promise you I will make you fall in love with me all over again. This time, it’ll be the forever kind,” I promised. ~Loc 4707
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