Kindle Price: $4.95
Official Review: 5/5
“*WHAT IF YOU HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE CRUSH?*
Impossible because she’s Ellen Foster. The beautiful, smart, and possibly fragile photography-girl. You’re Cam Campbell. The guy who plays football 24/7 with no life. But what if during junior year, you decide to finally try for her phone number—until this glitter-crazed new girl ruins your plan. Worse, the girl is Irish, awkward, and insists you and Ellen should become best friends—with her! Only, you don’t want to be friends with a human tornado, and you think Ellen might need to stay a crush. This is because after one interaction you’ve discovered Ellen Foster really is fragile. Your problems and secrets are too big for anyone to understand.
*WHAT IF YOU COULDN’T RESIST?*
But what if the three of you wind up assigned to a group photography project, where rumors are already circling about the new girl being ridiculous? You know she’s nice but very alone, so you convince your crush to help protect the new girl. Suddenly, working on the project makes hanging out, texting, talking—and even high school—seem fun and completely normal when it’s anything but normal.
*WHAT IF YOU KISS*
What if you kiss Ellen Foster and it’s perfect enough to make you believe in things you shouldn’t. You tell her secrets and share your dreams. You make the kinds of promises and create plans to be together that might be impossible to keep when you’re only sixteen and your parents control your entire future,
*WHAT IF YOU HURT HER…*
High School Romance, Sweet young adult.Book one in the two-book How I Fall series, ending with How I Fly”
I could cry because of this book. I had to stop and start as I read it just so I could draw it out longer because I wanted to write the review as soon as I finished it. Bottom line: We all need a Cam Campbell.
I don’t know much about Cerebral Palsy so I can’t claim that it was represented accurately, but from my perspective, it was written respectfully and wasn’t presented as something to look down on a person for, but to admire them for living with it.
Ellen Foster. The way she looks at life is so amazing. She has Cerebral Palsy (CP), is extremely self-conscious about it, is treated by others who have deplorable manners, and yet manages to smile. She truly amazed me and I loved her. She was so patient and wise and kind and I’m so very sorry that she isn’t real because I would love to get to know her. (I’m going to use the word love in this review quite a bit because this book was just wonderful.) I loved how she had somewhat of a play going on in her mind, with pieces like “*Debut actress and first time nominee, Ellen Foster, is up for the Best Actress award for her short-film titled: Pretending to Breathe Steadily as Cam Campbell sits.*” Ellen was totally real to me, with fears and challenges and her responses to situations. I loved that she tried to be strong in front of everyone and only gave herself weak moments when she was alone, but at the same time, allowed herself to be vulnerable. Her motivational chant that went along the lines of “The people that work hard to bring you down are beneath you” was something everyone should remember. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. One of the best parts about Ellen was that she refused to let Cerebral Palsy define her. She absolutely refused. Sure, she gets frustrated it, wishes she could run and not have the struggles that she does, but when you think of Ellen, the real Ellen Foster, you don’t think Cerebral Palsy. No, you think there goes a girl with a natural talent for photography, who loves immensely, whose smile lights a path in the midst of a dark storm, and never stops moving forward. Eliot wrote Ellen as a completely and totally admirable character, a joyful and down-to-earth character that I very much enjoyed reading about.
Cam Campbell. He was such an interesting character. I think everyone at some point or another can relate to a parent or someone else pressuring them to follow a dream that isn’t theirs. That and the other issues that arise in his life shaped him and made him a real person to me. I could see how his struggles were hurting him, how manipulated he felt, and how bad he wished he could be free. What I really appreciated about him was that he wanted to know Ellen, as much as he could. Cam didn’t look at Ellen and think “She’s a nice girl, I love her, just wish she didn’t have CP.” Quite the opposite. Cam looked at Ellen and thought “Ellen is an amazing girl who I admire and I want to get to know all of her, including her CP. I want to know everything.” He didn’t let anyone get in the way, even though you can bet a million dollars that they tried. It seemed the whole world was against everything, but he pushed and pushed and carried the weight on his shoulders and didn’t back down.
The plot wasn’t about a girl with CP getting through life. The plot wasn’t about a boy falling in love with another girl because they had similar situations and could understand each other. This wasn’t about a jock taking pity on a girl and then eventually falling in love with her. No. The plot was about a differently-abled girl and a jock who didn’t totally understand the issues in each other’s life still finding ways to make things work. That’s what made me love this story so much. There was nothing cliché about it, it was a totally and completely original plot.
The writing wasn’t quite perfect, but it was still superb. I unfortunately noticed quite a few spelling and grammatical errors as well as misplaced words, but I was so engrossed in the plot that I didn’t jerk out of focus as much as I usually would have. There were also a bit too many exclamation points, definitely something that was used a bit too often, but I wasn’t losing my mind over it. In addition, the abundant use of “damn” was disappointing. It was used realistically (sometimes), as in the moments it was said weren’t just thrown in, but it was used at least fifty-eight times throughout the whole book. I definitely considered the amount of times it was used to be over-kill.
It was an excellent decision on Eliot’s part to have the point-of-views change from Cam to Ellen and vice versa. It helped to bring them both alive even more and kept the plot moving since you could see how they saw things. I also give props to Eliot on deciding not to repeat scenes but from different perspectives. That technique gets old and annoying very quickly and I’m thankful she didn’t use it. Her descriptions of the different sceneries guided my inner movie theater to create the scenes that Ellen and/or Cam were witnessing, but wasn’t over-powering or under-done. It was, as Goldilocks says, just right.
I am disappointed, very mildly, that there is a sequel since I was under the impression that it was a standalone, but it doesn’t matter too much to me surprisingly. How I Fall by Anne Eliot is the first book of this year, and quite frankly in a long time, to receive the Paige Turner Official “I Would Read Again” Award. Yes, it was that good.