REVIEW: Before I Fall (Falling #1) by Jessica Scott

Beth Lamont is a 20 year old college student who’s struggling to take care of her father, a veteran struggling with a debilitating back injury, while also trying to complete her degree at a prestigious college. Noah Warren is a 20-something veteran re-acclimating to life as a college student while struggling with the PTSD and chronic pain. Noah needs a tutor for statistics, Beth needs the money it’ll bring and so it begins.

Beth and Noah get off to a rocky start…

“Let’s get something straight, shall we? My name is Beth, and I’m going to tutor you in business stats. We are not going to be friends or fuck buddies or anything else you might think of. I’m not ‘Kitty’ or any other pet name. I’m here to get a degree, not a husband.”
“Glad we cleared that up…I wasn’t sure if blowjobs came with the tutoring.”

But as they get to know one another better, each realizes that their first impressions may just be wrong.

“You’ve definitely made the day a little brighter,” I say. He strokes his thumb along mine, sending little shivers of pleasure across my skin. “That’s good to know. I’ll have to come up with other ways to make your day a little brighter.”

Beth and Noah have secrets neither wants the other to know. Beth doesn’t want those at her college to know the real truth of what life with her father is really like…how they struggle to keep the lights on, food on the table, and most of all, how her dad has chosen to cope with his injury and PTSD.

More than anything, I don’t want his pity. I don’t want to answer the questions about why don’t I leave him to take care of himself. Why am I working so hard when my dad isn’t? Or the accusations that I’m being held back by my dad.

Noah is fighting the same fight with PTSD, chronic pain, and prescription drugs as Beth’s dad first hand. When Noah’s secrets are revealed Beth has to make a choice…

“And my dad is strung out on that s***. When he can’t get his medication, I buy him alcohol to keep the pain at bay. He’s in the hospital right now because they think he had a seizure from it. And I’m supposed to just shrug off the cabinet full of drugs Noah has?”

Beth and Noah are age-appropriate for Before I Fall to be categorized as a new adult romance, but this is not a typical new adult romance because both these characters have had to grow up and live very adult lives long before their peers. Before I Fall is written with stark authenticity and no sugar-coating the ugliness military and their families deal with when they come home. I was completely enthralled by both Noah and Beth. I felt deeply for them and I rooted for them to overcome.

“You’re supposed to stand with someone you love, not cut and run the first time things get a little rough.”
I’m looking forward to continuing this series with the next book about Beth and Noah’s friends, Abby and Josh. Additionally, as this was only my second read by Jessica Scott, I plan to check out her backlist of other military-themed titles in the near future.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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