An eighteen-year-old girl with bleached blonde hair wakes up in Ireland as the lone survivor of a plane crash. She can’t remember anything, including her name. Though the nurses tell her that she’s Clementine from Cleveland, she feels no connection to the name or to the town. The idea of going home to a father she knows nothing about terrifies her, so she runs away with the first boy she meets. Kieran is cute and harmless and lives in a cottage with his sister. As time goes on, Clementine begins to reinvent herself as Jane, who loves to bake and hates being alone. Will Clementine’s memories ever come back, or has she really been reborn at the age of eighteen?
Back in 2016, I read Rebekah Crane’s The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland. It had mixed reviews, but I loved it. I was excited to see a new book of hers pop up on Netgalley, so I immediately requested it. That was in October, but since the book doesn’t come out until February, it sat on my shelf for a few months before I picked it up. I actually really liked it.
One thing that I really appreciated (and didn’t expect) is that Clementine is actually fairly traumatized by her accident. So often, in books like this, the main character sort of pops up and gets on with their life. But Clementine, though she tries, does struggle. Loud noises make her jump. She has nightmares. Heights make her nervous. The idea of getting on another airplane is terrifying. Now, I’m not a psychologist or anything, but this seems a great deal more realistic to me than the “I just went through a traumatizing accident but I’m totally okay” books that I’ve read.
Another thing that I liked was how sometimes a saying would just pop out of Clementine’s mouth and she’d have no idea where it came from. It was just a little tease at her past, enough to keep us on our toes but not giving too much away too soon. After all, beer is cheaper than therapy in the midwest. That much is true.
Now let’s get to Kieran. I liked him from the start. He was charming and wonderful, but… (there has to be a but) I kind of felt like he was a hypocrite. I’m not going to get into spoilers, but the conflict and the ending felt a little off to me. Still, he’s a great love interest and a great character all around.
As for the secondary characters, I thought that Siobhan and Clive were great. I liked how Clementine and Siobhan kept getting off on the wrong foot because nothing Clementine ever wanted to say to her came out the right way. That’s happened to me before when trying to make friends, so I could definitely sympathize. I loved Clive and thought that he made a great friend to everyone in the book. I would love to shop at his store!
The only character that rubbed me the wrong way was Stephen. I know that I was supposed to love him, but as a medical professional myself, I couldn’t help but feel that he overstepped time and time again. I’ve said before how I’m sensitive to the portrayal of medical professionals, though, so this will likely not bother many people.
Overall, I really liked this cute, short romance. If slow burn romances, self-discovery, and Irish boys do it for you, you can’t go wrong with The Upside of Falling Down.
Final rating: ★★★★☆
I received a free advance copy of The Upside of Falling Down from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for my honest review.