Wednesday, August 9, 2017

THE GIRL WHO FELL BY S.M. PARKER - BOOK REVIEW

Books about toxic relationships seem to be all the rage these days so I was interested in picking this one up. While I enjoyed the story and plot, I don't think it brought anything new to the usual trope.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker.


The story follows Zephyr, a high school senior whose only goals are taking her field hockey team to the State finals and getting into Boston College in the fall. She had no plans of dating and she definitely didn't have plans of falling head over heels for the new student, Alec. But as her family falls apart, Zephyr connects with Alec and their relationship blossoms fast. Too fast. As she realizes she might be in too deep, Zephyr tries to pull away, but Alec has a very different vision for their future.

The concept of toxic relationships is one that has been gaining some popularity in YA. I know that this is an older release than some others, specifically those I've read, like Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios, but I think this was a good back-to-basics story. Parker almost methodically lays out the requirements, checking them off as she goes. And I want to be clear that this isn't a bad thing, at least for me, but it doesn't make for a very original story.

Being fairly familiar with the portrayal of toxic relationships in books, I was able to identify the markers. The allure of a new or previously unavailable person, the main character's insecurities latching on, an obsession forming. Then once the relationship is established, slowly more and more control is lost. The other person controls the MC's time, then tells them they don't want them hanging out with their one guy friend (because the female MC in this case always seems to have a male BFF) because they are jealous - something they point out and rationalize with the ole "If it was me, how would you feel?" - always a classic. Next thing you know the MC is giving up major life goals to be with the person all. The. Time, even making drastic changes to the life plan they developed years ago. Parker hits every single one of these points - and that's not a flaw of the book. But she doesn't try to move past it into anything more.

I think I am drawn to books with this kind of relationship because it is such a different way to look at a relationship. I am usually a cynic, but I will admit that I often get caught up in a romance. These types of romances, however, show a darker side of love that no one likes to talk about: obsession. When the primal instinct to protect goes too far, when love turns to control and ultimate power. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the next time I read a romance, I read it as a toxic one. Are a healthy relationship and a toxic one so different? Without knowing what type of romance I am reading, would I be able to tell which one it is?

I realize that I have gotten off topic a bit, but I do have a point. Despite the fact that Parker stays with the bare bones for a toxic relationship, I enjoyed it because it got me thinking. She wrote a solid toxic romance, one that I was able to easily read and further think about. I've never really had that ability in a book before. It's always just about the story, nothing bigger. And, probably unknowingly, Parker allowed me to look at the bigger picture, outside of this romance.

Was this the best book I've read? No, not at all. Did I enjoy it? Yes, absolutely. There were some issues I had throughout the book, behaviour of characters, etc. but I think that this book spoke to me and I was able to get something from it that I don't usually get from books, so I am giving it a higher rating than most.

Overall, a solid read.