Review: Falling Away by Penelope Douglas

falling awayReviewed by Joanna

This is the third book in the Fall Away series, and I still can’t get enough. We kick off with K.C. walking in on Jax having sex with a couple of women. She’s shocked but then realizes how much she’d like to be the girl on the bottom and she bolts. Jax pursues her and they share a moment, but she shuts him down. She’s a year older and has a stick up her jacksey about a whole load of things. But I mean, to be fair, however attractive he is, he’s just been ‘there’ you know. I don’t blame her for not wanting to jump on right away.

We’ve met both these characters in previous books, and I never really liked K.C., I thought she was affected. Now we find out why, and by the end of it, I liked her a whole lot more. Jaxon, on the other hand, I’d been looking forward to getting to know better. But, the opposite happened, and I liked him less. He’s a strong character and the victim of terrible childhood with a dark ending. He’s also smart and pretty hot; toffee-colored skin, part Native American, long brown hair worn partially in a braid plus he is built and has pierced nipples. Yum. But he makes some bad choices. More on that later.

So jump two years on from the brush off, and K.C. is back in town to do community service over the summer, tutoring at her old school. She’s staying in Tate’s empty house, and Jax is right next door. (This could have been staid as it’s the same set as previous books, but it wasn’t. In fact, I liked it). Jared’s old house is now Jax’s and it is styl-ish. He’s got a wide group of friends, runs the Loop (race track) and is no longer the ‘little shit’ K.C. used to know.

“While I was away, Jaxon Trent had become a man.”

He defends K.C. against her cheating ex, and they start to bump into each other at the school where he’s helping out the lacrosse team. And things naturally progress to classic Douglas steam, though she pushes back and he negs her.

K.C. has a big story to tell. Her parents have messed her up good, and she has to come to terms with that. I found it sad – she goes through the mill and then more bad stuff happens courtesy of Jax and his insecurities. But this completes the circle for her as she needs to be the stronger one once they get to the love stuff.

This is dual perspective, so we get to find out first-hand the backstory of what happened to Jax in the basement. And it’s bad, so it’s hardly surprising he’s dark. I wanted him and K.C. to be happy, even though I didn’t feel quite such a strong bond between them. The trust scene with the hair? So lovely. But not so much with other vulnerabilities and def not when he did the dumb thing with the party <– one of his bad choices. I didn’t like him much for a while after that. He also messes up another relationship which leads to the premise for book 4, which I didn’t mind at all cos yay, more book. <– but still, another of his bad choices.

There were some bits I really loved about his book. Jax and Jared’s a-hole dad appears on the scene, and Jax finds out just how great his support network is. I loved this. I would have liked Jax to acknowledge it more, but maybe it was more in keeping with his character that he didn’t.

And there’s some smokin’ hot sexy time between this couple. The mirror scene was admirable, Ms Douglas.

SPOILER – The bit of story with his mother in the nightclub – it felt a little disjointed that he never spoke to her. But screw her. She was a terrible mother and left him to that god awful father. Maybe it’s better he never gives her the benefit of having him in her life. Lady doesn’t deserve him.

ALSO A SPOILER I didn’t like the thing with the college debt at the end where Jax gives Juliet a load of cash. He implies if they work out her debt becomes his so it doesn’t matter if she owes him. His debt, rather than theirs. I don’t know about you but my debt isn’t my other half’s just cos we got hitched. It bugged me how simply K.C. accepted this as she’s meant to be all emancipated and strong.

Overall, a good read and as always with these, I found myself re-reading big sections when writing the review, so let that tell you something.

It can be read as standalone, but don’t be crazy. Book one – Bully – is all sorts of aces.

Rating: B+/A-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Falling Away
by Penelope Douglas
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Penguin


  1. I haven’t read any books by Penelope Douglas, but I keep seeing her name crop up. In fact I think Sophia Rose on my blog just reviewed one this week. I really need to jump on the bandwagon and get to this authors stories!

  2. I’m a huge fan of PD. Some of her writing could be an aquired taste – her main characters are often pretty negative to one another, but I like it as a way of building up the tension. Get on it!

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