No, not the village.
The author!! The amazing, beautiful story-teller that I willingly sold my soul to for every last book she has written.
She’s one of those authors you just circle back around to, no matter how far you’ve moved away from her. Her books are captivating and gut-wrenchingly real. There are scenes that feel so visceral that you may have to set the book aside for a moment…but you always pick it right back up because you just *have* to know what happens next.
I recently started the “Fallen Crest” series again. When I was wracking my brain, going through the massive catalogue of books I’d read in my brain, this series floated to the top. I remember the intensity but goofy Logan. The almost broodish behavior of Mason. But Samantha…I couldn’t pin her down for some reason. I remember she went through some shit. I remember I connected with her character on a lot of levels. I remember thinking she was weak, when she tried to project that she was tough. But I couldn’t remember where she ended up and whether she found her strength or not.
So, of course, I tracked it down in my iBooks library and began reading again.
This series starts off with “Fallen Crest High”. We meet our main character, Samantha. From the get-go, we know she is not the kind of girl to put up with a lot of shit. She tolerates a lot, but has a few internal lines that she doesn’t allow anyone to cross, even friends she’s had for years. There’s also a sense of enclosure. With in the thought process we can witness inside her mind, there’s a sense of being trapped. Every interaction is surrounded by walls Samantha sets up, refusing to budge for anyone or anything. The only time she seems to let any of her walls down is when she runs, sometimes for hours on end, and only then to let herself go numb.
We also meet Mason and Logan Kade, two of the town’s celebrities, known for going through women like water and brawls like breakfast cereal. The girls all want them and the boys just want close to them. Our first meeting of the brothers shows them almost getting jumped, and instead setting the other guy’s cars on fire. We also find out through Samantha….her mom just left her dad…for Big Daddy Kade. Which means those two hunkalicious, intense, probably really crazy juvenile delinquents, will soon be her step-brothers.
Once Samantha, or Sam as she prefers, and her mother Anelise move into the Kade mansion, the real intensity starts. There’s open hostility towards her mom (which she tries to care about, but just can’t), absolute disdain for her (when they even acknowledge she’s in the room), AND THEN…..
Sizzling, visceral attraction. Sam realizes Mason has set his eyes on her, which also means his protection reaches her, even from the walking mental illness that is her mother and the seemingly total abandonment that is her father.
There are more fights than one can count in one book, let alone the whole series. Some of them make you beam with pride for the strides these characters take for the sake of family. Other’s make you cringe and have your heart pounding for fear.
Though not to this degree, these books remind me exactly how high school really is. The dirty, seedy underbelly no one puts in the yearbooks, or talk about in the power point presentations.
Everyone has an agenda. Everyone has an angle. Your family will leave you blind sided and bleeding while the people you least expect are the ones to pick you up and hold you until you can mend back together. Your friends will be the ones to silently slip the knife in, and twist it as they smile, and your enemies are the ones giving you the noble heads up for the betrayal around the corner.
The absolute bones of this series is what the meaning of family really is.
Family is not always blood
Family does not betray you.
Family will always fight you when you are wrong.
Family will always back you up, even while telling you it’s the wrong choice.
Family is usually who you least expect it to be.
But more importantly, family does not keep secrets.
And secrets there are a-plenty in this series.
With so many strong characters and strong personalities showcased, it’s a given there will be tons of conflict and struggle for alpha. There are also a lot of side stories that Tijan later fleshes out. There is no stone unturned in this series, or any of her series that I’ve found so far. Every book she writes has an addictive intensity to it, keeping you constantly needing the next fix. Her characters are real, the situations are bizarre enough to make total sense in this fucked up world, and the fight for family gives it the feel good that makes you smile. If you have days on end to dedicate to the best ride of your life, Tijan is your girl.