How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis: After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance in this swoonworthy new novel from the author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud.
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.
I bat angrily at my eyes. “It’s not even worth thinking about anymore,” I lie. “So everyone hates me now. I’m the Mean Girl poster child. The whole town hates me.” My voice quavers. “My parents hate me. They’re so disappointed,” I whisper. “My mom’s a principal, and her reputation took a huge hit … because a party happened at her house and her daughter was involved in this. When, obviously, she knew nothing about it. And my dad … He was on the chamber of commerce with Taylor’s dad. They even used to golf together. I embarrassed everyone so badly.”
“Then that guy at the center. Turns out he was Taylor’s brother. He went to a private high school, and I had no idea she even had a brother. And because I was a minor when it happened, my picture wasn’t in the paper or anything, so he didn’t have a face to go with the name.”
I look at Pax. His eyebrows shoot up. “Really? That guy was her brother?”
He actually manages a small smile. “Wow. Whoops.”
I study the sand. “Yeah. Whoops.”
Then I look at Pax because I can’t believe he’s laughing it off. Actually, I kind of can’t believe he’s still here. “That’s all you’ve got for me? Whoops?”
Just like that, his expression turns serious. “I’m not in a position to throw stones. And I don’t get the sense that you’re a cruel person, Nikki Baylor.”
I crumble at his words. I start crying. “I don’t think I am, either,” I choke out. “I never—” But I can’t even finish, because my sobs are drowning out my words.
“Whoa. Hey.” With effort, he pushes himself forward and wraps an arm around my shoulders. He draws me a little bit closer. “Stop. Shh. Stop.”
Pax’s lips end up near my temple as he tries to comfort me, and his hair tickles my forehead. “You’ve got a fresh start here,” he promises me. He holds me until I stop quaking, until I manage to fight back the latest onslaught of tears over the monster I’ve been turned into. His lips are soft and comforting against my skin as he whispers, and his arms feel strong as he holds me up. “Fresh starts, okay? Maybe you’re not ready to take it, but at least know one’s here.”
About the Author
KAROLE COZZO is a school psychologist by day, a wife and mother of two by night, and a writer of YA romance in the wee hours of the morning. She loves camping out at Starbucks, breakfast cereal at all hours, and watching every movie made from her favorite YA books. How to Say I Love You Out Loud is her debut novel.
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