THE HARDER HE FALLS
I was really torn how to rate this (damn you, GR, for not giving us half stars) There were aspects which I liked a lot. Others not so much…so I’ll dive right in and hope this won’t be too rant-ey.
Grady is a whitewater rafter. If you have been on a river whitewater kayaking or rafting you know that it takes a lot of skill to ride the rapids. I went kayaking on a category II two years ago and hell that was tough (fun, too though!). Anyway, Grady works for an outfitter as a whitewater guide. One day on the water he, his cousin Finn and a guy (also both rafters) from the outfitter company he works for are involved in an accident that cost his co-worker his life and his cousin falls into a coma. The guilt he lives with, combined with a tragic past with his family and relationship make his life hard and he tries to stay out of relationships.
Micah is volunteering at the hospital Finn is a patient at. He reads to comatoese patients – having been in the situation too he knows that people in a coma react to their surroundings. This is how he meets Grady. Their first encounter is everything but smooth but Grady is curious and his aversion to relationships notwithstanding he meets with Micah to learn more about the guy who he can’t get out of his mind. Both of them have secrets. Will they let those secrets drive them apart?
I absolutely loved the concept of Micah’s secret and how, once he opened up about it, Grady dealt with it. It was touching and sweet. Micah longs for love but he is convinced that he can’t impose his problems on anyone. I loved Micah, he was the sunshine where Grady was all shadows.
Grady…God…it took me until the last couple of pages to warm up to him. He was guilt-ridden and and wallowed in self pity quite a bit. Micah tried to help him but whenever he did so, Grady would start throwing barbs. I wasn’t a fan as you can tell. This guy had mood swings like a woman on her period. Part of Grady’s problem is that while he doesn’t let his sexuality define him, he did so with his sexual proclivities. It annoyed the hell out of me that despite Micah showing him that he was safe with him Grady just hid behind the wall he’d built. Micah challenged him at every corner. It took most of the book for Grady to see the light and when he did it was like flipping a switch.
Despite it all, this was a deep story about two men finding love despite a lot of obstacles – sometimes the pacing was a bit overwhelming but altogether I did like the story. And eventually Grady.
***ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***