Author: Megan Sparks
Published by: Curious Fox
Publication date: 18th July 2013
Genres: Young Adult/Sports/Contemporary
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
After Annie's parents separate, causing Annie and her father to move from the familiar sounds and people of London to a tiny town in mid-west America, Annie knows she'll be having a hard time fitting in. Back in London, Annie practically lived at the West London Gymnastics Centre, but there doesn't seem to be anything in the US that she's good at. Except cheerleading. But it's highly unlikely that she would join the team when the ice queen is the captain! But how easy would it be for her to say no to joining the squad? Not very.
Then Annie discovers the world of the Roller Derby. Already possessing advanced gymnastics skills, Annie is ready to jump right in! With a team of brave, kind, independent girls, what's not to love about the sport?
Annie is a lovely character with so much going for her. She's really positive and if she wants something badly enough, she'll find a way to get it! However, my favourite character in this was Lexie, who reached out to Annie when Annie first moved to the US and didn't have any friends yet. Lexie is a rare kind of character in YA - she doesn't care what other people think about her, she's friendly, talented and genuine. If she was real, I would definitely want her as my friend!
I also really liked Jesse. I think he would have been perfect for Annie, but unfortunately he didn't appear much in this book! Hopefully he will feature more often in the other books.
Falling Hard is all about Annie discovering who she is and who she wants to be. With witty one-liners and kick-ass characters on every page, this coming-of-age contemporary novel is not to be missed! This book balances sport, friendship and humour really well. Even though I don't usually enjoy sporty books, this has turned out to be one of my favourite books this year.
Something I didn't think was quite right in this book was that Annie didn't seem too concerned or upset that her friends from England hadn't bothered to contact her at all. I know that if I had moved from the UK to the US, I would still want to be in contact with my British friends and if they didn't stay in touch I'd be really upset! Maybe she starts missing them more in the other books in the series. Who knows!
Even though Annie has a few encounters with bullies in this book - prime example being the cheerleading squad - I'm glad there wasn't too much tension between them all. Sometimes when a book just focuses on the lovely main character being bullied, I find it gets too stressful even to read! Falling Hard was a nice break from that.
Falling Hard was a lighthearted and fun read and I'm really looking forward to reading the next books in the series. It's perfect for the laid-back summer season (which, weirdly, us Brits are having right now...I know, rare.) Funny, fabulous and realistic, you'd be mad not to read it!