Monday, February 13, 2012

review: Falling In Between by Devon Ashley

Falling In Between by Devon Ashley
February 14, 2012
Young Adult | Contemporary Romance
Falling #1
Pages: 284
Source/Format: Author/ARC
Author's Website | Goodreads
Blog Tour List & Signed, doodled in book giveaway!

Finally! A private conversation. And all I had to do was throw myself off a cliff, drown in a pond in my undies and let him put his hands on my breasts to bring me back to life. Yay me! (yeah, that’s sarcasm) 

Yep, that pretty much sums up the most craptastic night of Jenna Baker’s life. She drowns after jumping off a cliff, meets a hotty named Chance in the pearlescent in-between and is brought back to life by her soon-to-be boyfriend Robert. 

Just when things start to move forward with Robert, the guy she'd been crushing on for a year now, in walks the man of her dreams – literally. Chance suddenly appears in her dream every time she closes her eyes. So it's Robert by day and Chance by night. One in the real world and one in the dream world. What could possibly go wrong? 

Absolutely nothing – until she comes face to face with the guy she met in the in-between, and realizes her romantic rendezvous with Chance may be more than just her imagination. 

Mature YA. Recommended for older teenagers.


I must admit that I’m a sucker for gorgeous covers. Falling In Between has a pretty cover (the girl’s face is awkward, though, ngl), and from the summary, I thought I was going to like it! It’s a contemporary romance, which is one of my favorite genres to read. Okay, anything with romance is something I would read. However… this book sucks.

The first chapter was okay, aside from all the obvious info dumping. Page three is all information dump—readers learn about Sophie and how rich she is and her parents, then we learn about Jenna who is a ward of the state and that she has no money. Yawn.  Jenna also talks to the reader (example:  “…that slimy alien did to that man in that movie. (Did you see that one? Grody, right? –So what if I’m stalling. What are you, the cliff-jumping moderator?)”) And when Jenna “drowns,” the imagery is so awkward. 
My feet scraped the bottom of the pond and fire burned on my skin. Debris and dirt swirled about as I skidded across the floor bed, destroying what little clarity the moon’s glow offered underneath the silky surface. Weeds tangled around my legs and snagged my arms. I tried desperately to slow the impact by digging in with the palms of my hands, but all I did was give myself more rock burn. (p. 5, ARC) 
That goes on for another page, but I’m confused. Is she on her back or standing upright? Fire burned ON your skin, not IN it? You tried to slow down with the PALM of your hands instead of your fingernails? It’s just all so awkward.

Speaking of awkward, there’s some serious grammar issues in this book. I was a little embarrassed for the author—are you honestly publishing this draft? I found numerous sentences in Falling In Between that were in present tense, where the majority of the book is written in past. Girl, I slip between tenses while first drafting. I correct it after I realize it or when I have a first draft. There’s also use of multiple punctuation. Example: “Are You NUTZ!! (p. 26),” “OMG!!! (p. 28),” “You’re a prep girl?! (p. 29)” And that’s just three examples. The text is riddled with overuse of punctuation and apparently the lack of spelling.

Another awkward phrase is on page 74, when Jenna and Robert are making out on his bed and he says she went out with some guy. Her response: 
“I automatically rolled my eyes and nodded my head sideways…” 
Okay… nod your head. Now shake it. When you nod your head, it’s up and down. Shaking it is sideways. Now try nodding your head while shaking it sideways. Tough, right? And somewhat impossible. PLUS, who the eff nods their head sideways? So you’re trying to say “yes” and “no” at the same time? ALSO, I will admit that when I was a newbie writer I used to write the phrase “I nodded my head up and down.” That’s redundant! People actually know how to nod or shake their head, so you can leave off which direction they nodded/shook their head. I just don’t understand about this imagery, though…

Chance, one of the love interests in this book, is annoying. He’s the one who usually “speaks” with the interrobang (?!) and he’s a douchebag. I quote: “That’s the spirit! I love women with low expectations. Makes them really easy to please.” To which Jenna responds with: “Uh-huh.” (p. 26) Oh my hell, really? I’m sorry, but if some asshole said that to me, I would be telling him where to shove it. Am I overreacting to what he said? Or would any of you respond the same way?

The dreams in this book aren’t realistic at all. Think back to the last time you dreamed the same-ish dream two nights in a row. Does the dream self you EVER think “That was a dream, wasn’t it?” I don’t. So when Jenna dreams the second time about Chance, she knows right away it’s a dream. 
“So….was this a dream too? It was a little weird, but luckily I’m good at going with the flow.” (p. 54) 
What. The. Crap. Also, when using ellipses, three unless it’s the end of a sentence then it’s four. “So” isn’t the entire sentence.

As for the story, after Jenna drowns and she’s back at school, she immediately goes back into the water. If I had a near death moment, I wouldn’t go near the place it happened and if I drowned, I would be afraid of water. Although, come to think of it, I have fallen face forward into a ditch full of water before. I don’t think I drowned since I’m still here, but I was also young so all I remember is being pulled out of a ditch. ANYWAY…

No no no no no. I’m sorry, but once again I’ll repeat myself: If I drowned, I would stay the fuck away from water. What if I drowned again and nobody was there to save me? WHAT IF I DIED AGAIN?

Aside from some… odd choices that Jenna makes, Jenna is a rather well-rounded character. I stopped reading at page 140, but I skimmed ahead, and I don’t know if how her character development is like. However, the other two boys—her relationships with them are purely sexual. Sure, Jenna and the author could argue that Jenna and Robert’s relationship is not just sexual, but that they love each other, but I don’t know Chance and Robert very well, like Jenna. All I know is Jenna likes to fool around with them.

I’m not a prude by any means, but the sex starts roughly around page ninety and up until 140, it’s all about sex. Fifty pages of reading about sex. You guys, I started skimming at page 110. I know teenagers have sex (I was one of them!) but holy crap, that seems like WAY. TOO. MUCH. Especially when Jenna at the beginning says “we’ll be going slow.”


Falling In Between could have been amazing book and I’m still intrigued by the summary. But it didn’t hook me to draw me into the story, and I quit halfway in. Falling In Between reads like a rough draft, not a book that has gone through edits with an editor (I have no idea if Ashley has an editor, but my stance on self-publishing is to spend the money for an editor. IT. WILL. HELP.) Overall, I’m disappointed with this book.  


  1. Lol! This review had me laughing, but I do appreciate your honesty. I was considering reading this one. I'll be sure to reconsider that now. 50 pages of just sex in a contemp YA? In anything YA? Yeah, that is too much. And, it sounds like she's got too many guys she's doing it with, too, unless I'm misunderstanding your review.

    Thanks for the review. You'd be the best beta-reader any writer could ever hope to have!

  2. Cathy: :) And she's doing it with both Chance and Robert, in case I wasn't clear. But... yeah, it seemed excessive at times. And if you haven't read it, The Duff is a YA contemporary that tackles sex--it's good and there isn't fifty pages of almost-pure sex (almost ALL the scenes lead to Jenna and one of her boys having sex.)

    Haha, I suck at just getting the beta reading DONE. I have three manuscripts to read that have been with me for months. I suck at beta reading.


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