We All Fall Down by Natalie D, Richards (368 pages)
Overview: Paige and Theo had been best friends since they were twelve, but everything changes one night their Junior year when Theo's miscalculated punch hits Paige while their at a party on the docks under the Cheshire Walking Bridge. Ever since that day, everything has been different. Paige got her mouth fixed and her life put back together, but she can't talk to Theo and her anxiety is stronger than ever, and Theo is still struggling to get his medication for his OCD and ADHD sorted out and working off his probation from that night. Six months later, they're thrown together again when Paige gets into an acclaimed research program at the college and Theo goes to work for his uncle, Denny's construction business leaving only a bridge, a very problematic bridge between the two. When their experiences on the bridge seem to grow outside the scope of reality, they must work with each other to try to end the haunting of the bridge. Overall: 4
General Thoughts: I don't read much from the thriller/paranormal type category, but something about the description sucked me in. Overall, I am satisfied with my reading experience. Richards has created a great book for people hesitant to stray from the contemporary genres, adding elements from the mystery/thriller/paranormal categories without inundating them. But, really, at the core of all this is the romantic relationship of Paige and Theo, the bridge and its hauntings always plays second fiddle. While I didn't think the stakes were ever high enough to bill it as a "thriller" as some sites have, and I wouldn't put it so closely with mental illness fiction books as some descriptions do because there are too many other elements effecting that at play here, it does create an interesting crossover for people looking for something new without straying too far from their genre of choice.
Characters: 4 I enjoyed getting to read Paige and Theo. Paige is wound up tight and anxious, and she tries to manage it, but it creeps into her life in ways she can't control. Of course, this makes her very uncomfortable, and this leads her many times to question her sanity and later her worth.
Theo is a free spirit and all over the place. He too is striving for a normal balance in his life, but he never has quite as intense self loathing feelings coming from his issues as Paige does. They make interesting individuals to study as well as in their relationship because of this as they come to find that much of their relationship is built on the foundation of finding comfort in others who face difficult issues as well.
Plot: 4 I would have not classified this as a thriller because the adrenaline was not held at a consistent enough high, and, honestly, after the first section, it lost most of its page turning appeal. The problem seemed to come with how long Richards chose to stretch out the middle without providing any new content. The chapters started to all sound the same, making me wonder if I was ever getting to the next plot point, not that they weren't well written, just repetitive.
Writing: 4 I enjoyed Richard's style overall. I think she painted a great picture of the characters, their realities, and the tiny towns they lived in. She strikes a happy medium with the different elements she thinks to pull on, and most things she employed worked well. The only big problem I saw was in the pacing of the story and the deep slump just after the halfway point. I think that the book could have been a bit shorter and had a stronger effect.
If You Liked This Book:
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee is a great genre bender too with a contemporary feel to a futuristic world. See my thoughts on it here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/07/reviews-and-recommendations-week-16.html
*I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*