Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebook Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available lNow
Synopsis: Theo’s always been impulsive. But telling Paige how he feels? He’s obsessed over that decision. And it’s time. Tonight. At the party on the riverbank, under the old walking bridge, site of so many tales of love and death.
Paige has had a crush on Theo since they first met, but she knows her feelings are one-sided. She’s trying to move on, to flirt. A party at the river is just what she needs. Except a fight breaks out, and when Paige tries to intervene—Theo’s fist lands in her face.
All Theo and Paige want to do is forget that fateful night. But strange events keep drawing them back to the bridge. Someone, something is determined to make them remember…and pay for what they did.
I have to admit We All Fall Down has left me frustrated and torn over my rating and review. The premise is original, and the two protagonists are sympathetic and likable, but there just seemed to be something missing.
Both characters have mental health issues. Theo has severe ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and Paige suffers from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, and sleepwalking. They were so real and believable that my heart ached for both of them. I did think that more attention was spent on Theo and his struggles with the medications that are out there to treat his disorders. There’s also the relationship between him and his Uncle Denny who also has ADHD, which brings in the genetic component, and shows how an adult lives with this illness.
When Paige is suffering from anxiety or a panic attack, it’s meticulously described, from her feelings to what the triggers are. There’s a mention of how her overprotective mother also suffers from anxiety, but there’s nothing more and I wish the author had spent a little more time exploring their relationship like she did with Theo’s and his uncle’s.
The friendship and romance between Theo and Paige is sweet and you can understand why these two are drawn to each other, yet at the same time I found myself agreeing with Paige’s parents that their relationship is based on codependency and is toxic.
The plot is what ultimately took away from this book. Natalie Richards chose to add supernatural elements, and a bland mystery. I’m not sure if the author included these simply to try to attract more readers, but at best it was bland and uninteresting, and at worst it was distracting and confusing. And, the ending left me scratching my head. There were some questions answered, but quite a few issues were left unresolved. Hence, my frustration.
For the last day I’ve dithered over giving We All Fall Down, 2 or 3 stars. I’ve decided to go with the higher rating because of the likability of Theo and Paige and the attention Natalie Richards gives to mental illness. This is one of the better YA books I’ve read in regards to this topic. Despite my issues with the actual story, I would recommend this, particularly to teens who struggle with these illnesses.
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