Review: The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen


Title: The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Date of publication: 24 March 2014
Genre: Romance, New Adult, College, Sports

Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars


The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.

What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.


This is not your usual NA college story but much more. I've read quite a few NA romances, I'm weary of them since they feel the same - it's all about partying, drinking, sex, some big secrets, some misunderstandings and the expected HEA.

We have some of this here but what sets this story apart are the main characters. They meet in college where they are both housed in the special dormitory for students with disabilities. Adam Hartley has a broken leg, while Corey Callahan is bound to a wheelchair after he suffered an accident earlier the same year.

Initially they bound over their shared difficulties in everyday life and gradually form even deeper connection because of their love for hockey until she fall for him (and he has the perfect girlfriend (who is in Europe for a semester)

The story is told from dual POV, with pre-dominance of Corey's voice. She is an amazing character - Her story is tragic but there is no melodrama, or pity in her portrayal. We see her insecurities and everyday struggles with the dramatic changes in her life and they make her seem so real - fragile, shy, experiencing her first crush, yet determined, strong-willed. 

Hartley was an interesting character as well. He had his own issues to deal with. They didn't make much sense early in the story and at one point I was really angry and disappointed with him for keeping his relationship with Stacia. When he shared his troubles with Corey things made much more sense.

I liked the writing style of Ms Bowen, simple and engaging. She managed to create a convincing and entertaining sense of the college life. The sports topic was also consistently present in the story, though neither Hartley, nor Corey get to play real hockey but the importance of the game in both their lives is easy to see. The story flowed well and it was easy for me to get involved in the characters fate and root whole-heartedly for their happy end. 

I had just one small issue with the story and this is related to the way the situation with Hartley's dad was dealt with. I felt is was much too complicated and important to be so easily resolved. It was all to neatly done in the end and seemed rushed and forced.

Overall, this was a sweet and some what angsty friends-to-lovers romance which worked well for me. I can recommend this book not only to fans of NA stories but to all lovers of well-developed emotionally intense stories with complex and easily lovable characters. 

Purchase links: Amazon / B&NiTunes / Kobo

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