Fall (VIP) – book review

by Kristen Callihan
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Plain Jane
Book #3 in the VIP series
Number of Pages:  452
Contemporary Romance
Ages 15 and up
CW: suicide attempt (past), depression, neglect
The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

This story put me through the wringer, as I knew Jax’s story would. The VIP series centers around a beloved rock group not only finding love but also finding a new way to be. They’ve spent their twenties doing the typical sex, drugs, and rock & roll thing…now it’s time to figure out what they want out of life other than fame. The first book in this series, Idol, picks up their story a year after Jax attempted to take his own life. This is not depicted on the page in this book, as Jax’s story takes place about two years after his attempt. But it deals with the fallout, the ongoing depression (that doesn’t just go away because you make an attempt and survive, after all), and the guilt Jax deals with for what his actions did to the dynamic of their group.

Stella is alone in a sea of people. Not only has she lived in New York City since she was a child, but she also socializes with people as a huge part of her job. All of the people around her are either strangers or clients, none of them are considered friends. Stella is loved by all in her neighborhood, all of her clients, and basically, anyone who has the privilege to cross paths with her. Yet Stella has blinders on when it comes to how she is perceived. She was neglected and later abandoned by the very people who should have loved her unconditionally and kept her safe, so there are a lot of trust issues on top of self-esteem issues.

As someone who has depression and anxiety, I really felt this story. It made me feel like I’m not alone. The author did a beautiful and caring job of describing the thoughts going through Jax’s head as well as Stella’s. Although her issues aren’t as extreme as Jax’s, Stella does have some issues with depression. There is a conversation between Jax and Killian after everything explodes, which is so appreciated by me. It seems Killian has done his due diligence to attempt to understand Jax better so he can be a better friend.

I could go on and on about this book but think each person should discover it for themselves. While I’ve focused a lot on Jax’s mental health in this review, I want to be clear that there is also a lot of fun. Especially since Stella and Jax start as rivals of a sort. I’ve been paying more attention to which micro tropes float my boat, and this story has a few favorites of mine. And, I don’t know if it was the edition of the book I got from my ebook library or if it’s included in all editions, but the book I read had footnotes! I’ll say that while I ended up loving the content of the footnotes, that peek into the author’s mind, it was also a bit distracting for me. I’m not someone who can skip a footnote until the chapter ends and go back to check it out. I have to read it as I come to it, so it did break the flow a time or two. I’m still happy they were included though.

5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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2 Responses to Fall (VIP) – book review

  1. You keep making me miss this series! Great review. I’m happy you’re loving these books.

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