The Ivy Years Series by Sarina Bowen — REVIEWS

the year we fell downThe Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

Bursting with happy feelings from this book!

Corey Callahan is heading thousands of miles away from home to start her freshman year at Harkness University, but Corey isn’t your typical freshman. Eight months ago, she was in an accident that took away the use of her legs, putting her in a wheelchair.  Corey won’t be in the typical freshman dorm, but in the handicapped accessible one across the way.

Adam Hartley is starting his junior year at Harkness, but instead of living with his best friend, Bridger, he will also be in the Handicapped dorm, thanks to a silly accident that caused him to break his leg in two places.  Fate placed him across the hall from Corey.

Adam and Corey bond instantly over their shared love of hockey and their inability to climb stairs. What started out as friendship for both of them, very slowly started to build to more, at least on Corey’s end. The problem? Adam has a girlfriend.

I usually avoid books with love triangles; however, even with Adam having a girlfriend, this book never seemed like one. Adam’s girlfriend, Stacia was out of the country for the majority of the book and when she was around, she was pretentious and obnoxious. You knew that eventually, Adam would start to see the light. Unfortunately for Corey, she has to watch Adam with Stacia and it becomes too much for her to handle and almost breaks their bond permanently.

This book was light, sweet and funny. I found myself laughing out loud constantly, and swooning over the sweet things Adam would say to Corey, even just as friends.  I loved how Adam took care of Corey. He didn’t baby her and allowed her to test her strengths, all while supporting her. Corey was an inspiring female lead. She was strong and in a short eight months, had come to terms with how her life has changed.  Even with all of her self-discovery, she was still human and allowed herself to get frustrated and hold the occasional pity party.

Once I started the book, I didn’t want to put it down. While I was certain that Adam and Corey would find their way, I just wanted to stay on the ride with them. This was a definite 5 STAR read for me!

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the year we hid awayThe Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

I LOVED The Year We Fell Down (See Jenn’s review here)  and had just finished reading it when I found out that Bridger was getting his own story!! Bridger always provided us with a little comic relief during Adam and Corey’s book and I couldn’t wait to get more of him. You knew that there was a tragic back story to his life and I was curious to see where it led us.

Not only did we get Bridger, but we also got Scarlet’s story as well. I am not sure it’s possible to find two characters with more baggage and drama between them. It would be hard to argue who had it worse. Luckily, for the reader AND for Bridger and Scarlet, they found each other quickly. What started out as a friendship, grew rather quickly into more. But Bridger, who was juggling more balls than limbs, didn’t have the time to devote to a relationship with Scarlet, and while he was “secretive” about what he had going on, Scarlet, had secrets of her own. There is a lot going on in this story and I do not want to give any of the plot away. The blurb is all you’ll need. J

There was a lot to love about this book. The writing flowed beautifully. Scarlet and Bridger had horrible events going on in their personal lives, but they were both happy, well adjusted people. I found The Year We Hid Away to be more plot driven than the first installment. The subject matter was difficult and needed a soft hand to guide it. Sarina did just that. The story is based on secrets that both Bridger and Scarlet are hiding from the rest of the world, but as the reader, we knew what those secrets were, and in a short time, so did Scarlet and Bridger. It didn’t take them until 80% of the book to share with each other.  We didn’t have to spend our time trying to figure out the story, we knew it, and it made the journey all the more enjoyable. We were able to be fully involved in Bridger and Scarlet as they made the decisions that would guide not only their lives, but the lives of those they loved. It gave them the opportunity to work out their problems together. In the end, it made them stronger characters throughout the story.  Sarina writes strong, resilient, female leads. Just like with Corey in The Year We Fell Down, Scarlet is not afraid to speak her mind. She isn’t afraid that Bridger won’t like her, or find her attractive. She says what needs to be said and fights for herself. I found myself cheering out loud for her.

I could not tear my eyes away from this story and soaked it up in one sitting. You will find yourself doing the same. This is another beautiful, compelling, captivating story for Sarnia Bowen, and I cannot wait to see what she has for us next!

5 STARS!!

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