BOOK REPORT for How We Fall by Kate Brauning

Cover Story: Into the Deep

BFF Charm: Maybe

Swoonworthy Scale: 7*

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Talky Talk: She Said (And Thought)

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Taboo Relationships

Relationship Status: Let’s Be Acquaintances

How We Fall

Cover Story: Into the Deep

Losing a prized possession, like I’m assuming this charm bracelet might be, is always a bummer. It’s even worse when you lose it in a body of water, because the chances of you getting it back are reduced to miracle status.

The Deal:

In a small town, there aren’t many dating options. But people make it work. Jackie, who moved with her family to the small town of Manson, Missouri, to live with her aunt, uncle and their kids when she was 14, made it work possibly a little too close to home. In fact, she found herself having growing feelings for her cousin…and he for her. The taboo feelings aren’t the only problem in her life, however; her good friend Ellie has gone missing, and her disappearance might not have been of her own volition.

BFF Charm: Maybe

Jackie’s very much a “normal” girl, minus the fact that she’s fallen for her cousin, Marcus. I might not understand her feelings, but I’d try to be understanding. After all, falling in love is a chemical thing, and it’s near impossible to predict or even control who you fall for. Plus, the girl needs friends. Her home life is unusual, and she has very few true friends, particularly since Ellie’s disappearance.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7*

Jackie and Marcus share moments that are definitely swoony, but the fact that they’re first cousins does put a damper on things. I really tried to keep an open mind while reading their story, but I’m just conditioned to it being a questionable sort of relationship.

Talky Talk: She Said (And Thought)

The entirety of How We Fall is told through Jackie’s eyes. Kate Brauning writes from a young woman’s perspective quite well—perhaps because she’s been one before—and the warring emotion that Jackie feels about her feelings for Marcus is palpable. The secondary plot (the disappearance of Ellie), however, comes across as very disjointed. The books could have solely been about Jackie and Marcus’ relationship. Why Brauning threw in the bits of thriller/mystery that’s swiftly resolved in the end is a bit lost on me.

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Taboo Relationships

Jackie and Marcus are first cousins, so their relationship isn’t illegal, but it is taboo. Jackie deals with the unusual relationship in a very believable way: She researches, she frets, she pushes Marcus away. It was interesting to read about such an emotion-filled relationship that isn’t your typical one.

Casting Call:

Aimee Teegarden as Jackie

Relationship Status: Let’s Be Acquaintances

I tried to be understanding of your story, Book, and by the end of the story I was definitely rooting for Jackie and Marcus, but I’m just not sure I reached a point where I was fully comfortable with the fact that they were cousins. I suppose it’s none of my business, though, so I wish them—and you—the best.

How We Fallis available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.