Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
I am completely and utterly drawn to the A.L. Jackson’s Falling Stars series. I said in my review of the first book, Kiss the Stars, that there is a poetry to Jackson’s books. In her second book, Catch Me When I Fall, Jackson continues her poetic storytelling. In this book, the danger of silence threatens the lives of her characters, and it makes for a compelling, page-turning ride.
This story continues to follow the journey of Carolina George. In the first book, the story revolved around Leif, the group’s drummer. In this story, Emily, the lead singer and only female, is struggling. Her ambition and drive to “make it” in the business is faltering. Her bandmates are clueless about her anxiety and reticence to sign a lucrative contract. What they don’t know is that Emily is harboring a secret, and her silence keeps her closed off and scared. When a record executive from the company that wants to sign Carolina George joins them on tour, Emily feels inexplicably drawn to him. Like Emily, Royce is also harboring a secret. As Emily and Royce are drawn to each other by some force, Royce’s secret threatens any future between the two of them. Is it possible for Emily and Royce to make beautiful music together?
At its core, Catch Me When I Fall is a beautiful story of two people who are hiding secrets. For one of them, it is dangerous. For the other, it will unravel the other’s world, while also championing for a family member. It is in this story arc where Jackson shows us the power of love to overcome fear and allow for forgiveness. As she lays out her story, you can’t help but fall in love with Royce and Emily. Their story is heavy and sensual and compelling. Jackson develops a magnetism between the two of them that pulls you into the story. It is overwhelming in all the best ways. As they come together and become pulled apart over and over again, your heart breaks for them each time, but Jackson’s ability to pace her story keeps you engaged. You need Royce and Emily to find their happy ending, and you’re willing to feel their pain and joy in equal measure. I think that’s what I love about Jackson’s storytelling. She has this ability to invest you in her characters. It doesn’t matter if they are doctors or construction workers or restaurant owners or bakers or rock stars. You feel connected to them, and their journey feels important to you. Royce and Emily are two people with some mortal wounds that simply need healing through their love for each other.
Even more, there is a poetics to Jackson’s writing. In this series and her Bleeding Stars series, Jackson’s story feels like a song. She makes songwriting look so easy as she presents her characters’ lyrics and music on the page. Yet, her style also follows this same meter. It is sometimes the difficulty in reading her stories. There are times when Jackson’s insistence on writing in fragments can slow the story down. Because you have to work between the phrases, it takes more time to move through the story. This could be intentional; if it is, it’s genius. However, when you want to get to the happily-ever-after for her characters, it can make the reader feel impatient, as the style slows the story. In Catch Me When I Fall, one of my favorite parts is the creation of a song between Emily and Royce. Their song becomes like a love letter, as their journey progresses through the story. That song is the memento of their journey, and it grounds their relationship when it feels lost. I loved that aspect of this book.
Lastly, there is a key message for women in this story. I want to divulge it, but to do so would spoil this book for the reader. Instead, I encourage you to read Catch Me When I Fall, so that you can be challenged to find a voice in the midst of injustice, to face fear and make choices even when it might come at some personal cost. In our world today, that message is more important than it ever has been.
Oh how I love A.L. Jackson’s storytelling. The lyricism, her compelling romance, and the ethereal nature of your writing feel gratuitous and a personal treat. Emily and Royce’s story in Catch Me When I Fall is the type of romance we’ve come to love from Jackson: these are soulmates, fated for each other. However, in order to get there, they have to love themselves first, while finding their eternity together.
In love and romance,