Fallen Too Far is the first book in the Rosemary Beach series by Abbi Glines. It’s been on my to-be-read pile for ages since I acquired the first three ARCs in the series. Since I haven’t been reading I decided I needed something fun and fast and this series (with its bubblegum pink covers and wistful looking blonde heroine) appealed to my sense of aesthetics. I picked it up and read it in one day. Just like that.
That said, it wasn’t a perfect read. There are numerous quirks and flaws to Glines’s writing. I read the book in one day, but it was with many sighs of annoyance. It suffers from many of the annoying tropes of the New Adult genre. If you have an editing brain while reading, this may not be for you (so many red pen marks!). So, keep that in mind if you are curious.
Blaire Wynn has a rough life. At 19 she has recently buried her mother due to a long bout of terminal cancer. Having no options, she leaves home and travels from Sumit, Alabama to Rosemary Beach, Florida to live with her estranged father and his new wife. Years ago, following an accident that killed Blaire’s twin sister, Valerie, Blaire’s father walked out of her life. Now, hardened from sorrow, Blaire arrives at the posh beach residence that belongs to his wife’s son, Rush Finlay.
Rush is the only son of rock-and-roll legend, Dean Finlay, and has a lavish lifestyle to prove it. Upon arriving, Blaire unknowingly crashes a party and meets Rush, who immediately is cold and distant to her. He reveals that Blaire’s father and his mother are out of the country and Blaire, reluctant to stay with a stranger, attempts to leave. Rush tracks her down and offers her a room in the house for one month – more importantly the absent servant’s room under the stairs. Blaire, determined to live on her own, begrudgingly accepts his charity. She doesn’t want to appear to be a “mooch” like her (poor, undeserving, penniless) father, so she immediately finds a job and tries to spend as little money so she can move out as soon as possible.
There’s a tension between the two that soon turns to attraction, a clash between worlds and cultures that both endangers and intoxicates. But Blaire cannot understand why Rush is so hot-and-cold with her and why Rush’s sister, Nan, seems to despise her. Is it really just her poor upbringing that is to blame or is there more behind Rush’s silver eyes than he is conveying?
Overall, it’s an entertaining read… if you can overlook some problems. I’m not sure if I would have read the whole thing had I not been in a “must-read-something” mode, but I (tentatively) liked it. Glines is a bit repetitive with her dialog and, as such, Blaire seemed a tad obsessed with a few things – moving out, her mother’s death, and the end of her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Cain. I understand the sense of loss and the idea that she is still mulling everything over, but it all seems a bit one note. It’s also a bit, pardon the pun, rushed. The book is short and much of the action, development, and build-up feels too fast to be natural. If I didn’t know this wasn’t a debut novel I would have suspected that it was.
Characterization is also not her strong suit. Without the constant running on of the scant few things that Blaire cares about she gets a bit, well… boring and toneless. I want to like her because she pulled a gun on someone in the first few pages of the book. With that opening I want to love her. I just don’t. She (Glines) also pointedly does things like seeing the weakness of her own heroine (and the pitfalls of New Adult as well) and notes the weaknesses while falling directly into them. Everyone is self-aware of the tropes of the genre while simultaneously enacting them and it’s frustrating for the reader. It’s frustrating to watch a 19-year-old emotionally adult girl get absent-minded over a boy and then questioning her own self-worth because he doesn’t want her and keeps pushing her away. It’s frustrating that she views his damages as sexy. It just is. And all of his dirty talk and dangerous glances can’t change that.
Surprisingly though, I am reading the sequel, Never Too Far. Because, well, reasons that I cannot fathom either. For this book though, and all of its flaws, it works on some level as an uber dramatic (soap-operatic, even) page turner, and seeing that I have not been reading lately that may have been exactly what I needed.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –