I feel my heart breaking and cutting through my chest as he says this out loud – Estelle Maskame.
When I was offered the chance to take part in the #DareToFall blog tour this weekend, I nearly bit Lina’s hand off via email. I loved reading DIMILY last year, and I knew that I would love reading Dare To Fall. I read it in one sitting on a Friday night, which shows how exciting my weekends are right now!
Estelle Maskame is the young genius behind an international sensation that gripped fans everywhere, and now she is back with her fourth novel. She is only twenty years of age. She has accomplished every young reader’s dream: to write their own story, and she hasn’t looked back since, claiming she “has the best job in the world” which she definitely does.
Now, she brings you Dare To Fall – a love story that isn’t just based on the love between boy and girl. It’s not unrequited, it is simply fear and personal demons which keep MacKenzie apart from the boy she was falling in love with last year. His parents died, and she ran away from dealing with that. Now, she’s doing great in school, has two best friends, lives a pretty normal life – on the outside – but once she gets home, it’s a series of darkness, arguments, closed doors and secrecy.
There are plenty of themes and issues – and amazing happy parts too – but these are four crucial aspects of the story that I think make it.
Grief is the crux of the story, the centre of the lives, the spine of the novel. It is what holds the story together but tears its characters apart, until the point where they realise that all they have is each other, and it is better to turn to one another and ask for help, instead of wasting away in their own little world of pure sadness, and sometimes insanity.
Each of the characters deal with their grief in different ways: some bottle it up completely, until they are about to pop from the constant shaking of emotions, like a bottle of fizz; others literally turn to the bottle; others blame themselves; others completely change in their entirety in order to try and remember their loved ones more; and others sit by and let it all happen.
Grief is something that is both hard to read about and hard to write about; it really pulls and pushes the characters together and apart, like a constant yoyo or swing. Most importantly, it toys with the reader’s emotions too.
Relationships go hand in hand with grief in Dare To Fall. Both are at the centre of everything, which is crucial to any story, no matter the topic. Estelle has created – yet again – beautifully complicated relationships which make the reader love them all the more. We have the relationship that we are rooting for – obviously – in Kenzie and Jaden, but we also have the true friendship of the three musketeers which are Kenzie, Will and Holden. They would do literally anything for each other, and their friendship becomes strained throughout the novel, leading to tough choices and hard sacrifices. The twinship between Jaden and Danielle builds from strength to strength, just as Danielle and Kenzie start with a lot of awkward silences to fill, but grow closer once more.
Nevertheless, out of all of the different relationships – and there are a lot for just one novel – it is Kenzie and her mum’s which is my favourite. There is a lot of pain, a lot of embarrassment, a lot of hurt – but an undenying sense of loyalty and love that shines through, especially towards the end. Tears of sadness, as well as joy, will fall from your eyes when you read about the two, otherwise you’re completely heartless, and need to re-read the entire book again.
I literally did not see this coming. I knew something was coming from this specific character, but I was 100% barking up the wrong tree. I won’t spoil it, because you will be as shocked as me – and I’m usually good at figuring these kinds of things out!
The twist makes you want to go back and re-read every single scene that this particular character has been in, to discover the anxiety and the guilt and the horror that they must be feeling, and for them to admit it to a close friend, no matter how hard, is the basis of redemption and getting back on the right track.
I didn’t exactly love the character at first, but I now understand why Estelle has written them in this particular light, which just proves how incredible a writer she is.
Danielle is probably my favourite character because she is the one who goes on the biggest journey; I personally think. I would have loved to see more of her, or even a whole novel dedicated to her because she is hit the hardest about the death of her parents. She is the one that changes the most dramatically, in a way that affects both her appearance and her personality. Sometimes, it feels like she has a split-personality, and other times it is as if she is simply trying to find herself again.
She flits through the emotions, and her character is written really, really well. A lot of people will be able to relate to her, even more so than Kenzie in some cases.
If you are a fan of the international sensation that is DIMILY, I ask that you do not compare this book to it. It is completely different. I’ve already seen reviews on Goodreads of readers saying that it’s not as good, or they didn’t love it as much as DIMILY. That is because it is an entirely different story with entirely different characters. I am a fan of DIMILY, but I would never base my review on Estelle Maskame’s previous work; both are written in a very compelling way, with the American high school twist. Dare To Fall deserves to shine and get its own recognition as it is a love story amassed with very different themes, which I feel Estelle has concentrated more on in order to create a story that will touch the hearts of many, in a contrasting way.
Now, for the most exciting part for you guys! If you think you love the sound of Dare To Fall, you can win your own copy!
All you have to do is head to my PINNED TWEET on Twitter and follow the instructions there. Sound like a plan? Fab!
Have you read Dare To Fall? Have you read DIMILY? What are your thoughts, and what were your favourite parts?
P.S. What is it with guys with crooked smiles?
Love, Faye xo
Go and see what else is happening on the #DareToFall blog tour this week!