How To Keep Rolling After A Fall – Karole Cozzo – Swoon Reads – Published 2 August 2016
After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.
I was excited to read How To Keep Rolling After A Fall. I thought it sounded great, had such promise. Unfortunately I didn’t like the way it was executed. Clearly I don’t click with Karole Cozzo’s writing. I couldn’t get into How To Say I Love You Out Loud, but I thought this one was worth reading. It wasn’t the brilliance I expected. In fact, I had some serious issues with the plot and characters.
Nikki Baylor made a horrible mistake, posting photos of a classmate that irreversibly changed her life (the classmate’s life I mean, though Nikki isn’t too happy with the way her life way changed as well). While completing her community service hours she meets Pax, who sets out to show her that everyone deserves a second change.
I just couldn’t connect with the characters, especially Nikki. She says she feels bad about what she’s done but it seems most of the time she’s worried about herself, how her life is effected, how she was misjudged, how it’s all her friends’ fault and she was just an innocent bystander, poor her all alone and misunderstood. Let me get my violin out. Honestly I think she deserves what she got, in fact, she got off too lightly. Sure, her friends should have faced consequences too, but in no way is Nikki the victim she would have the reader believe she is.
I can understand that Karole Cozzo wanted to write a story from the viewpoint of the perpetrator of bullying and that means writing about a character people may not like. I can cope with that, in fact I have loved books where I have disliked the main character initially. But what makes those books powerful is seeing a change in the characters, them realising their mistakes and learning from them. I don’t think Nikki changed at all and she certainly never seems to show any remorse, except for how her life has been impacted. There are so many times I disliked what she would do or say, too many examples of her complete self-centredness.
Instead of this book focusing on character growth it was all about the romance. And the romance starts pretty instantly. It’s intense and consuming for Pax and Nikki. Pax is a sweet guy, maybe a little too forgiving, but Nikki uses him, again making the whole thing about her. Pax is strong, stubborn and comes to care about Nikki, wanting what’s best for her. But maybe he needed to be a little tougher with her instead of shouldering the blame and encouraging her victim mentality. It’s the same with Nikki’s relationship with her parents, all whinging and no effort on her part.
This story had so much potential but it just wasn’t for me.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Bullying, cyber bullying, romance, friendship, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references. Alcohol use. Infrequent coarse language, sh**, sl**.
Published: 2 August 2016 by Swoon Reads.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 272 pages.