Before I Fall by Jessica Scott
Series: Falling Series #1
Publication Date: March 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, New Adult
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Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father's life. Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She'll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah - a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.
Noah Warren doesn't know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he's going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn't break his promises. Except he doesn't count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.
A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.
Scott is one of the few authors who write military romances that just annihilate me. They aren’t sappy, feel-good fluff pieces. That’s not to say there aren’t sweet, romantic elements, but the tone of her books is generally darker. She doesn’t shy away from looking at the problems facing the men and women who serve in the military today.
In this case, Noah got out of the Army and started college almost right away. He’s been struggling with PTSD. Beth is assigned as his Stats tutor and he’s drawn to her right away. Unfortunately for him, Beth has seen what the war can do to an individual, and she wants nothing to do with a former soldier.
Beth’s father is a Vet who suffers from a severe back injury. Between broken appointments and lack of funds required for surgery, he’s become a painkiller addict. She manages their lives and juggles school as best she can, so she can hopefully graduate and get a job with benefits that will help him get what he needs.
She isn’t even remotely interested in starting something, especially not with a soldier. But she can’t help her attraction. When Noah puts on the full court press, she can’t resist him. Until she finds out what secrets he’s been hiding, she really thinks they have a chance. But those secrets are threatening to destroy him, and they just may take her down, too.
I struggled a bit with Noah’s addiction. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, but it didn’t seem like he was as bad off as it turned out he was. His addiction to sleeping pills and anxiety meds wasn’t a surprise, but when it was revealed that he had trouble with painkillers, too, it took me by surprise.
On the one hand, I liked that Beth walked away from him, but on the other I struggled with how easy it was for her to walk away. As the sole caregiver to an addict, it was easy to understand why she wouldn’t want to stick with Noah and watch him spiral. Yet, it was obvious they cared for each other and Noah had a very serious and real reason to need sleeping pills, anxiety meds and painkillers.
One thing Scott excels at is looking at both sides of an issue. Just when I was getting frustrated with the narrow view of one character, another would arrive with a conflicting point-of-view.
Though I struggled a bit with some of the content, I can’t deny this was an engrossing read. I didn’t finish it with a happy sigh in my heart, but rather feeling introspective.
3.75 out of 5