Headfirst Falling is a new adult novel by Melissa Guinn. It was published by Carina Press on 23rd September and the book is 262 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.
Charlie Day had fallen in love with Jackson Stiles a long time ago but it never seemed to work out between them. Then, Jackson and Charlie’s brother enlisted and was sent off to Iraq. Jackson came back different though and Charlie’s brother didn’t come back at all.
Now leading a civilian life, Jackson takes a job with Charlie’s father and soon discovers that the spark he once had with Charlie is still there. Going to war has changed Jackson and he struggles to cope with his new life and Charlie struggles with the fact that he came back and her brother did not. Will Charlie and Jackson be able to get over the changes in their life in order to find their love again?
What I thought
While I like new adult novels, the same romances over and over again get boring and repetitive. I couldn’t wait to read this one as it seemed as though it would tackle some really important and current issues.
The book begins with Jackson’s point of view, with him and Adam (Charlie’s brother) being away in Iraq and making promised to each other in case anything ever happens. Jackson constantly carries around a picture of Charlie and is the one thing he can’t stop thinking about. Jackson and Adam are best friends so when Adam makes Jackson promise to look after Charlie, he can’t refuse. Jackson instantly comes across as such a sweet guy, confession that he didn’t know what he had when he was at home and going across the world to fight a war made him realise his mistakes.
When Jackson arrives back home without Adam, he has no idea what to do with himself. He knows he’s going to have to speak to and see Charlie but he just isn’t ready to deal with that. He can’t forgive himself for not being able to save Adam and feels as though Charlie won’t be able to see past that either. Charlie doesn’t want to have to deal with Jackson. She imagines hating him on first sight and resenting him but she’s surprised when all she wants to do is run into his arms.
While Jackson was a likeable character, Charlie drove me insane. She did not deal with any of her problems well at all and tended to drown her problems with alcohol. She also completely ignored problems with family members because she was so self-obsessed. Charlie acted extremely childish at times and while I understood she was struggling with the loss of her brother, I just wanted to slap some sense into her at times. Due to all of this, I found it really hard to like Charlie for the most part of the book.
Even though I disliked Charlie somewhat, I did really enjoy reading this book. Jackson’s story and watching him come out of Iraq was extremely interesting to read about. I have friends in the forces and can only imagine how they must feel after tours of Iraq or Afghanistan. However, I would have liked to have seen more about PTSD. It is clear that Jackson has problems being back in society but I wanted more about his struggles deep down and the horrors he would have been thinking about. While the initial idea of the book was good, it could have been made to be fantastic.
Even with its problems, Headfirst Falling is a good new adult novel that is different from everything else I’ve read so far.