*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Ink-Road Books. This has no influence on my review.* Also, make sure to stick to the end for a creative twist to my blog post and a
SUPER EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
Can you believe it’s been a year since the DIMILY trilogy ended? It feels like no time has passed since I saw Estelle tweet about her book and decided to read it chapter by chapter as she posted it and now, 6 years later, it’s a best-selling series published in multiple countries. I’m so proud of how far this girl from Peterhead has come and at just 20 years old she has now published her fourth novel (anyone else feel a little inadequate? Just me?).
I was worried about how anything could live up to the sensational DIMILY trilogy but Estelle Maskame didn't disappoint in the slightest. Dare to Fall is a wonderful book that broke my heart at the end of the first chapter (and multiple times throughout) but equally filled it with so much joy and love. It was utterly perfect. I know I can't do the book justice if I try to summarise it myself so I’ll share the official synopsis with you:
'MacKenzie Rivers seems like she has it all figured out. She has great friends, she’s doing well in school and her handsome ex-boyfriend is desperate to win her back. But something is missing from her life in Windsor, Colorado. And as much as she hates to admit it, that something might be Jaden Hunter. Tall, blond and athletic, a year ago Kenzie was falling fast for him and his crooked smile.
Twelve months later, everything has changed. A tragic accident has destroyed Jaden's family and, despite the way she feels, Kenzie has no idea how to talk to him anymore. She is all too familiar with the impact family tragedy can have on the people she loves, and she can t bear to go through it again with Jaden. She does the only thing she knows how to do: walk away.
When the pair meet again by chance one night, Kenzie realizes that she can’t ignore her feelings for him any longer. But as she is drawn back into Jaden's life, she finds herself caught between her increasingly volatile best friend, her interfering ex-boyfriend and her own fears about opening up to Jaden.
Will Kenzie dare to fall for the one person she's so afraid of growing close to?'
Estelle deals with a number of difficult topics in this book that were handled gracefully whilst also not shying away from the harsh realities of them. The thing I love most about this book is that the characters felt real. They weren't irrational and I understood why people made the decisions they did, unlike most YA novels. There was only one character that I questioned but, without any spoilers, their motives were revealed further on in the novel (THAT PLOT TWIST BY THE WAY!!)
One thing I have noticed with Estelle's novels is that there is always that one character that I cannot say their name without an expletive in front of it. For example, in the DIMILY trilogy, I will forever call Eden's dad "Fucking Dave". These are the antagonists of Estelle's books and oh my goodness they rile me – in a good way. Whenever they appear I get filled with such dread and loathing. Never in my reading experience have I felt this for any other character except - I’ll give you one guess… - Dolores. Fucking. Umbridge. For a twenty-year-old to create a character that can cause such an emotional response to their name takes talent - a talent Estelle clearly has and I can only dream of having.
In just the one year since her previous book's release, Estelle’s writing has improved so much it's almost unbelievable. There are definitely little points in the book that are slightly more 'amateur', for want of a better word, but overall this book reads just like, if not better than, the likes of Jennifer Niven, Nicola Yoon, and other popular, experienced authors. Estelle's books have always sat on the 'Buy One Get One Half Price' table in Waterstones right next to these well established NY Times Bestsellers, but now she has the cover to match and the writing style and ability to challenge them.
I know Estelle has worked so hard on this book and it has absolutely paid off. I have never known an author to put in so much research for their book - Estelle was in contact with students from the school in the town Dare to Fall is set to make sure details, such as if it was carpet floor or linoleum, were correct. She pays so much attention to the littlest details and although many may think it's unnecessary, I personally feel it adds to the quality of the book; it brings the place alive… and it's quite fun to go on Google maps and see the streets and buildings being spoken about!
Now, I know everyone thinks bloggers lie because publishers send them books and what not, but I will never ever lie about my opinions on books. I've got a few controversial opinion threads about books and readers etc on my twitter and I've also had no issue getting super mad and 1 or 2 star rating a book I requested or was sent un-solicited, so you can rest assured that I truly believe this book is something special and something everyone who loves contemporary should read. As I previously mentioned, Dare to Fall is full of emotions that had me going from angry, to heartbroken, to everything in between. I actually live-tweeted my reading experience of this book which you can see in full here, but for now I’ll give you a little taster of what’s included:
This book was an easy 5 out of 5 stars for me. It was exactly what I wanted and is now sitting proudly on my favourites list and I urge everyone to pick it up - even if it's just for that gorgeous cover! I upset Estelle by telling her that it's taken over my love for the DIMILY books and if I judged books against others then DIMILY's 5 star rating would be pushed down to three compared to DTF. Don't worry, I still love love love Did I Mention I Love You?, but god this book is just... There's something about it that is so special. Now I'm really worried for Estelle's next book. There was no way she could live up to the DIMILY trilogy, now there's no way she can live up to Dare to Fall. If and when she does, I hope she remembers me and our TGI's dates!
Speaking of the cover of this book, I couldn't kick off the blog tour with JUST a review, so as a budding artist I decided to try something creative. I adore the cover for this book and think that, without the words, it would look great on a canvas... so that's exactly what I've done! My phone died about an hour into recording so unfortunately it cuts off before I finished but I included a photo of the finished product.
I've no idea what I'm going to do with this canvas but it was so much fun to make! I'm planning to scour my bookcases for other covers I can do this with!
Finally, I have my Super Exciting Announcement I obnoxiously teased waaaay back at the start of this post. Along with the blog tour, Estelle is also doing a book tour, going around different stores and doing signings and Q&A's etc and the lovely lovely people at Ink Road Books/Black and White Publishing have asked me (ME!!) to chair the Edinburgh event! I am so so excited for my first ever event as a blogger and I'm honoured it's with a good friend. I'll be sitting down with Estelle having a chat about Dare to Fall, asking her questions about writing (and probably if she'd rather never eat mcdonalds or tgi's ever again - gotta ask the hard stuff too!) and then she'll be signing some books. It's looking to be a really fun night and we'd love for as many people to come along and join us. The event is free and will be held at Waterstones Princes Street on August 18th at 6:30pm so if you have no other plans come and spend some time with us and get your hands on this fabulous book!
And there we have it, my first blog tour over and done with! Well, it's been fun! I hope you all enjoyed your visit to my blog and if you haven't already do go and check out the other bloggers - there are three of us posting each day so you have plenty of reading to keep you going if you haven't got your copy of Dare to Fall yet!