Hello, friends! It’s my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours for It’s All In How You Fall by Sarah Henning and I’m excited to share my review and favourite quotes with you today!
Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Poppy for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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Goodreads: It’s All In How You Fall
Publication Date: 31 May 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
A contemporary young adult romance about moving on, finding your place, and recovering after life falls apart.
Gymnast Caroline Kepler has three state balance beam titles, a new trick even most elites can’t do, and chronic, undeniable back pain. While she might never be an Olympian, she has dreams of leveling up to elite, making Nationals, and competing in college. But when one epic face-plant changes all that and Caroline’s back pain goes from chronic to career-ending, her dreams are shattered and her life is flipped upside down.
Enter Alex Zavala, a three-sport athlete who’s both incredibly cute and incredibly off-limits. He offers to give Caroline a crash course in all the sports she’s missed, and she has an offer for him in return: For every sport Alex teaches her, she’ll play matchmaker for him. Deal done, Caroline “dates” new sports with Alex for the rest of the summer, which is loads more fun than wallowing in despair. Just as Caroline starts to see herself as more than her past athletic successes, she picks up something she didn’t bargain for: a big fat crush on Alex. Turns out life was way easier when it was just layout-fulls and beam burns….
Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.
TL;DR: It’s All In How You Fall was a charming summery sports-heavy contemporary with a super sweet romance! This was a really fun and fast-paced story that I think many YA readers will enjoy and it makes for the perfect light and feel-good summer read. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you love reading about sports, second chances, new love and finding new passions to drive you! ☀️
“Be proud in who you are and those who care for you.”
Caroline’s story was nerve-wracking, heartbreaking, empowering, hopeful and sweetly romantic. When her chronic back pain turns into a severe spinal injury, she’s pushed into giving up gymnastics, the sport she has spent every waking moment of her life dedicated to. She’s understandably devastated, and angry and feels like her life is over until her brother’s best friend, Alex, offers to help her find a new sport to love over the course of their summer break.
“You are still you without gymnastics. Part of life is moving on. We’re not the same as we were when we were little kids, and we’re not the same now as we will be when we’re adults.”
I loved the journey Caroline goes through and she goes through a lot of growth as she comes to terms with this new phase in her life. She’s initially reluctant to try something new but as she spends more time exploring sports with Alex, she slowly realises that life isn’t over just because gymnastics is; perhaps beyond sports, there’s something more brewing too. Caro is headstrong but she also has a tremendous inner strength that I found inspiring. I really liked the hopeful and positive message of her story! It was great to see her find happiness and purpose again after experiencing something so devastating and it was wonderful to see her surrounded by supportive friends and family. She had such a great friendship with Peregrine and Sunny, and I also really loved her relationship with her father, brother Nat, and even Olga. I wish some of the relationships and characters had been a little more fleshed out but it was fun to read about them whenever they appeared on the page.
“We’ve seen the movies, read the books, been indoctrinated with the idea that love is so engrossing it’s worth everything. But if dating someone distracts you from the biggest things in your life, then you’re with the wrong person. Love and friendship should enhance what’s already there, not kill it.”
Alex and Caro also have a really fun friendship from the beginning which eventually blooms into this tentatively shy yet sweet romance that I absolutely adored. They were really good together, not just in terms of chemistry but in how they pushed each other to do better and how understanding they were of each other’s situations. Their romance isn’t the typical straightforward older brother/friends-to-lovers romance and developed in a slightly angsty roundabout teenage way that, not gonna lie, would normally irritate me but I didn’t mind it here and enjoyed how they addressed their feelings. It was super cute and had my heart happy sighing. 🥰
“There’s nothing written in our genetic code that says we have to be alone to do great things.”
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids, and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, hometown of Langston Hughes, William S. Burroughs, and a really good basketball team.
Sarah is the author of SEA WITCH, which was a 2018 Indies Introduce and Indie’s Next selection. Its follow up, SEA WITCH RISING, came out in 2019. THROW LIKE A GIRL, about a down-spiraling softball player who is recruited to play quarterback on her ex-boyfriend’s football team, was her first YA contemporary novel and came out in January 2020. THE PRINCESS WILL SAVE YOU, the first book in her fantasy trilogy—a feminist tale inspired by The Princess Bride—came out in July 2020. Its sequel, THE QUEEN WILL BETRAY YOU, came out on July 6, 2021.
Other upcoming projects include THE KING WILL KILL YOU, available August 2, 2022 and will be the conclusion to her Kingdoms of Sand & Sky Trilogy inspired by The Princess Bride. Also scheduled for summer 2022 is IT’S ALL IN HOW YOU FALL, available May 31, 2022, which takes place in the same fictional universe as THROW LIKE A GIRL. Slated for summer 2023 is OUT OF OUR LEAGUE, a YA anthology of contemporary short stories about girls in sports.
Have you read It’s All In How You Fall or is it on your TBR?