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How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo

Nikki Baylor has been forced to do community service in a rehabilitation center and meets rugby playing Pax. Pax made some very bad decisions and ended up in a wheel chair while Nikki also made a bad decision. A romance commences and each character learns a little about themselves.

Ms. Cozzo writes in such a way that after having read the synopsis of the book, you believe that you are going to hate the character Nikki. For this reader, the exact opposite happened. As the story unfolds, the reader begins to see why Nikki is doing community service. Her bad decision lead to a cyber bullying incident against a fellow student which resulted in a series of uncomfortable consequences in her life. Her parents do not believe her story. She says that while the cyber bullying event took place on her social media account, she did not actual write them herself, instead one of her fellow popular girlfriends did. The consequence for her lack of action and inability to stand up against the bullying, caused her to be expelled from her school and having to perform community service while her  friends only had to go to a counselor.  Readers will be drawn into her story and at times be frustrated with the character while at other times be angry with her.

The second character in this romance, is Pax who made a bad decision to drag race causing an accident which ended himself up in a wheel chair. Again as the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into the character’s life and feelings as he lives with the consequences of his bad decisions. The story reads at a fast pace and then a slow pace. The choppy pace does lend itself to self reflect on how the reader would react to making poor decisions.

The romance between Nikki and Pax is sweet and gentle. Readers are given a glimpse through the couple’s journey of how a physical impairment can affect both parties in a relationship.This glimpse and the author’s treatment of their relationship, builds an empathy for those in a wheel chair and the perspective of life they deal with daily.

Several teen readers can identify with making a poor decision in their life that ended up in uncomfortable if not life changing consequences. This would be a great book discussion book to look at the many themes that are in the book…consequences for our actions or lack of actions, life in a wheel chair, parent relationships etc. Recommended for teens that like realistic fiction that can make you think while being a lighter read.

Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for an honest review.

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