Sunday, June 21, 2015

Christie's review: The Girl I Was Before by Ginger Scott


Title:The Girl I Was Before
Series: Falling #3
Author: Ginger Scott
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Rating:4.5 stars
Cliffhanger: no

I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”

Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.

None of it matters.

I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.

I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.

Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny.

He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.

Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.

But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.

Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.

Based on my experience with this series in the past, I had high hopes for another spectacular read. But to be truthful, my resolution to start this was not firm. It was shaky, and wavering more by the minute because of the heroine. I was incredibly conflicted-was I setting myself up for failure knowing what an utter bitch this heroine was from the get-go? If it weren’t for the fact that this author has delivered a truly memorable book time and again, I don’t think I would have given this one a shot. Now having read it, would I recommend it? Without a doubt. This series was like a fine wine: Complex, robust, and more mature with age. And the best part? I come away feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, the final story no exception to the book buzz I've had with the rest of the Falling Series.

Paige is Cass’ twin sister and the girl who appeared brittle, self-serving, and in a word: unlikeable. She betrayed her own sister in book 2 for her own superficial gain and that made me outright hate her.

How could you like a character such as this? What we learn about her though is that yes, she’s been misguided and has made some exceptionally bad choices, but deep down, she wants to be different. She wants to be more and do the right thing, and at the beginning of the book, we see her make a turn from self-serving to self sacrificing. Out of that one decision, she opens up a world of possibilities.

In one spontaneous decision to avenge my sister, I swapped places with her, and just as her nightmares are fading, mine are beginning.

Paige doesn’t change overnight, and her attitude was grating at times. But I couldn’t help but admire her inner strength and determination in her all-out war against Chandra. It made me soften toward her seeing her fight for righting the wrongs of her past. The author didn’t alter the core of the character that was presented to us in previous books. She built around it and enriched it into a complex and layered person. She was flawed, yet held the promise of growth and exceptional goodness inside of her. To me, character consistency is so valuable, and not only did she stay true to Paige, but she found a way to enhance her character and make her one of my favorite of hers to date. Now that is true talent.

I know I’m right, and good has to win. I’m not naive enough to think it always wins, but this time, it has to. And I’m willing to be a relentless bitch just to get my way.

When Houston comes along, Paige has just made her sorority sister Chandra a ruthless enemy. In sending an incriminating photo to reporters she’s started something that can never be reversed. She’s at a very vulnerable time and the attraction that she’s been denying between them has a chance to wiggle it’s way into her heart.

"Butterflies. Fairytales. Motherfuck!"

But the question is, can Houston see the potential and the truth underneath her harsh words and the rumors spreading about her? I loved Houston. Loved. He was an amazing hero with a lot more to him than meets the eye. He's such a down to earth kind of guy, sweet, hard working, and giving. And though he sees Paige's outer beauty, he's not impressed by the superficial. He sees every side of her and it doesn't scare him away. Even when all of her secrets are finally revealed, he's there. Gently waiting to wrap his strong, protective arms around her.

What did I like most about this book? It was unpredictable, it was consistent, the complexity of the characters and the emotive story was so unexpected. This book genuinely touched me! It was so sweet and had just enough angst to give me butterflies and leave me begging for more. I was so sad to see this series come to an end, but I can't imagine it happening with any other couple but these two. They melted all of my cynicism away and I'm not afraid to say left me a bit teary eyed. Houston is the type of hero that fights for his girl, but Paige is not one who needs to be rescued. The beauty was in his ability to know when she needed to fall and when she needed to be caught.

Even though in parts there was a repetitive feel to some scenes that were once again told from a new perspective, they were brief, and not enough to make my interest wane. I would have been nice to have seen this group of friends grow and expand over more than just a one year period, but hopefully Ginger will grace us with a little peek into their lives with a novella or two in the future. With every book I read from this author, I see her step up her game in her story telling abilities. She continues to impress me with her skill in creating characters that feel like coming home when I get to revisit them. If you're unsure if you want to read Paige's story, you have to give this one a shot. It was a wonderful way to round out a fantastic New Adult series.


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