Review: The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years, #1) by Sarina Bowen

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4.5 stars

This is a gorgeous little NA read! Sweet, fun, sexy and heartfelt, it’s everything that I love about college romance.

Corey Callahan is embarking on her freshman year of College, and she’s doing it in a way she never expected – in a wheelchair after an accident left her with spinal injuries unable to walk. She has a loving and supportive family but she’s desperate to branch out and experience life on her own. Due to her circumstances she and her roommate are placed in a special access dorm, and using the room opposite her is the gorgeous Adam Hartley – college hockey star who broke his leg in two places after a stupid drunken accident.

Hartley is a genuinely nice guy. He’s a funny, friendly sweetheart who is absolutely gorgeous. But he is also dating the richest, snobbiest, selfish bitch on campus. She’s heading off to Europe for the semester and without the distraction of her and his hockey training, he’s left with a lot of time on his hands – time that he starts to spend with Corey.

They slip into an easy friendship which is sweet, fun and full of banter. They bond over their shared love of sports and the difficulties of navigating campus, and open up to each other, offering support and being there for each other.

“Everybody has their shit to shovel, Callahan. Everybody. Now, yours is right up front where everybody can see it. I don’t envy you that. But everybody has some, whether you can see it or not.”

And underneath it all is a simmering sexual tension that is absolutely electric! They have a natural chemistry from the very beginning which grows in intensity the closer they become. And the fact that Hartley has a girlfriend adds a wonderful sense of angst as they both fight their feelings for each other.

“Why would you complicate our friendship?” I whispered.
“Like it’s so simple now?” He countered.

But more than Hartley’s girlfriend standing in their way, Corey is still adjusting to her new life – mourning the loss of what she thought her life would be and coming to terms with what she is capable of now and what it means for her and the people that she loves.

“I just wish I could give you the original me. Not the broken one.”

It’s a beautifully written journey, and the strength that Corey shows is amazing. I love her bravery and honesty, and the way she picks herself up and keeps moving forward, doing what she knows is best for her. She’s a fantastic heroine, and I love her! And Hartley is an absolute sweetheart as he stands by Corey’s side, being both a literal and figurative shoulder to lean on. And it all ties in beautifully to the unfolding romance.

“I want everything. I want you to be the same with me that you were with other girls.”
His gaze had the intensity of a laser.
“But it’s not the same with you.”
My heart faltered. “Why?”
“Because, Callahan.” The brown eyes came closer. “I never loved anyone the way I love you.”

OMG, I love him so much! The book is written in dual POV, and as much as I enjoyed Corey’s voice, I love that we got his perspective on things as well. Hartley has his own pain from his past and, and Corey is there for him as he works through it all and figures himself out. It’s a beautiful relationship which is natural and easy, and I loved every moment of seeing them together.

There’s a great bunch of supporting characters that bring a lot to the story. I loved how involved Corey and Hartley’s friends were in their lives, and how unquestionably supportive they were. And I really enjoyed the setting and the way that the college lifestyle was written.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. A lot of NA books tend to blend together but this one was something special and I’m so excited to continue on with the series.

4.5 stars.


The Ivy Years series

SarinaBowen-TheIvyYears#1  SarinaBowen-TheIvyYears#2  SarinaBowen-TheIvyYears#2.5  SarinaBowen-TheIvyYears#3  SarinaBowen-TheIvyYears#4  The Fifteenth Minute

The Year We Fell Down (#1)
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The Year We Hid Away (#2)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Blonde Date (#2.5)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

The Understatement of the Year (#3)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

The Shameless Hour (#4)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

The Fifteenth Minute (#5)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback


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