How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo is contemporary young adult fiction at its best. Cozzo’s writing is beautiful and her characters are engaging. This coming-of-age story pretty much gave me all the FEELS. Nikki Baylor used to be part of the popular group at her former school until she found herself caught in the middle of an incident involving cyber bullying. Completely shunned by her so called friends and even her family, Nikki struggles to find her place in her new school. While doing community service at a rehabilitation center Nikki meets Pax, a wheelchair rugby player. Piece by piece Nikki’s story is revealed and the outlook for the new start Nikki is trying to get seems to get dimmer and dimmer.
I was completely surprised by how much I connected with Nikki. When I read the summary I was certain I was not going to like her at all. I admit, I totally judged her based on what she was accused of doing. As things were disclosed about what led to the incident Nikki found herself involved in, I found myself empathizing with her. Nikki is desperate for a chance to redeem herself, especially with her family. I found their handling of the situation a bit extreme. It didn’t seem like they were really interested in hearing Nikki’s side of things.
The relationship between Nikki and Pax is sincere and heartwarming. They start off by building an unlikely friendship, given the circumstances, and things develop from there. Together they are both sweet and fun. Things are not completely perfect though, both Nikki and Pax have their own issues to resolve which creates some conflict between the two. I think this made their relationship more natural and authentic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Cozzo’s writing is emotional and had my FEELS pretty much all over the place. This was my first experience with Cozzo’s work and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future. If you are looking for a great YA contemporary with a lot of depth, then you want to give this one a try.