How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozzo follows high school student Nikki Baylor after her fall from popularity caused by a cyber-bullying incident that almost resulted in a classmate’s suicide. Then, Nikki meets Pax, who will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair after an accident who changes her perspective.
I was definitely hesitant to read this book, which I explained in yesterday’s Blogmas post. On the cover, there’s a chalkboard looking wheelchair illustration with a heart around the title which is a little cringeworthy. I feared that this book wouldn’t accurately depict the life of person who uses a wheelchair. Additionally, from the description, Nikki sounded like a very dramatic and unlikable narrator. That being said, I’m always interested in reading more books that feature characters with disabilities as well as books that feature unlikable protagonists.
On a positive note, this book did attempt to accurately portray a character who uses a wheelchair. Karole Cozzo, the author, is a school psychologist. As a result, she frequently works with young people who have disabilities. Her background knowledge on challenges that people with disabilities face is clearly evident with this book. I really appreciated this aspect of this book.
That being said, I can see many people not liking the main character of this book. Although the author tries to diminish her role in the cyberbullying incident, I can see a lot of people have a large problem with her actions that place before this book begins. In some ways, I wish that the author would have made Nikki more responsible for the incident. Although she takes responsibility for the incident, how this aspect of the novel unfolds makes her seem more like a victim to her popular friends. I think the author needed to fully commit to Nikki’s involvement in the incident or not make it something different entirely to make this aspect not fall as flat.
Overall, How to Keep Rolling After a Fall was an average read for me. While I liked some aspects of the novel, others fell flat for me. I prefer the second book I read by Karole Cozzo this year, How to Say I Love You Out Loud to this one. I give this book three out of five stars.