Even Angels Fall by F. L. Darbyshire

 

After suffering an unthinkable loss, Abbey Miller and her family move to Leeds to rebuild their lives and start again, but the pain and grief that Abbey carries with her is impossible to escape. As she finds herself becoming increasingly isolated from her family, she develops a firm friendship with Lucy, Nathan and Liam, who introduce her to a brand new and exciting world, far removed from all of her problems. But will her new friends bring her the light hearted relief she has longed for? Or will she find herself getting drawn deep into their dangerous and intoxicating world?

I was asked by the author of this book if I would be willing to provide an honest review in exchange for a free copy. After reading the description, I thought it sounded intriguing so I agreed.


 

Synopsis

Abbey has moved to Leeds with her mother, Janet, and older brother, Peter, to escape the painful memories in their old home. Her twin brother, Ryan, committed suicide a year earlier. Everyone in the family has been struggling since, and Janet decides that they need a fresh start somewhere far away.

Abbey is reluctant about the move – leaving her friends behind and having to start halfway through sixth form at a new school where she doesn’t know anyone is daunting, especially without her twin brother by her side. Her first couple of weeks at the new school are isolating. She just tries to keep her head down and get on with things, until she has a run in with the school bully and is rescued by a quirky girl named Lucy.

Lucy is a wild child who doesn’t like to follow the rules and stands out from the crowd. She invites Abbey to hang out with her and her friends – Liam and Nathan (her boyfriend). They are welcoming and friendly and soon convince Abbey to skip school with them. Although it is out of character Abbey is so pleased to finally fit in and find some people who genuinely care that she is happy to go along with them.

When the school realises Abbey is skipping classes they contact her mother. Janet is shocked to hear that Abbey has lost interest in school and grounds her, banning her from seeing her new friends. However, Abbey ignores the rule, and sneaks out to meet Lucy, Liam and Nathan, for a party with their wider group of friends, who Abbey is yet to meet.

When she meets the rest of the group, Abbey soon realises how different they are to the life she is used to. They are into alcohol, parties and drugs. The leader of the group, a dark, brooding, Northern Irish drug dealer named Alex, immediately catches her attention. Despite his cold reception she is desperate to find out more about him.

*** SPOILERS ***

As Abbey becomes one of the ‘family’ she begins to get to know Alex better, and he finally starts letting his guard down.  They become closer and soon take their relationship to the next level. As Abbey is led further and further astray by her new friends, her family no longer recognise her.

After being involved in a violent fight with another pupil at school Abbey is suspended. Janet and Peter are extremely disappointed in her and what she has become. Abbey is desperate to get away, and turns to Alex for help. He is more than happy for her to move in and she severs all ties with her family.

Abbey begins to open up more to her friends, realising she finally has people to talk to about what she has been through. She has bottled up all her feelings about Ryan for so long because Janet and Peter refuse to talk about him at home. Alex and Lucy are happen to listen to her worries and comfort her, and Abbey starts to enjoy her new-found freedom. She falls in with the drug-taking and partying and is proud to be known as Alex’s girl.

However, the groups worry-free lifestyle is soon turned upside down by Marcus, one of Alex’s previous employers. He is not happy with Alex, claiming he has stolen some of his clientèle, and demands that Alex pays up, or faces getting hurt. Alex does not have the sort of money Marcus is asking for, but he is determined to find it. When he confides in the group they come up with the idea of an armed robbery. Surprisingly, the plan goes runs smoothly and Alex manages to pay Marcus off.

But that is not the last they will hear from Marcus. He is soon back demanding more money. This time the group is split on what they should do. Eventually they decide to attempt another robbery, because they can find no other options. This time, it doesn’t go to plan.

Alex has no other option but to call on his current employer for help with the Marcus situation. The group split up and leave the centre of Leeds while the situation is dealt with. Alex takes Abbey back to his home town, Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. They rent an idyllic cottage, and Abbey gets a glimpse of what life could be like if Alex wasn’t so caught up in drug dealing. Alex promises Abbey that he is going to try and make an effort to quit dealing, so they will be able to live a more ‘normal’life. However, all good things must come to an end, and when they receive the call that it is safe to go back to Leeds, it is a bitter-sweet moment.

Despite his promises when they were away, Alex quickly falls back into his old routine and Abbey is disappointed, because she really did believe that things would change. While the group were apart, Lucy really struggled and has come back much more dependent on drugs. At their first party after returning, Lucy isolates herself from the rest of the group, and an extra strong ecstasy pill has disastrous consequences.

Soon after this Abbey makes the decision that it is time for her to return to her family. She doesn’t belong here any more and wants to start fixing herself. She arrives home to a warm reception – her family have been worried about her for months and are relieved to finally have her back home. She attends rehab and after a few months of therapy is allowed home. She returns to school under close supervision and completes her A Levels. She is back to the person she once was.

However, a final meeting with Alex and the rest of her friends will  have tragic consequences.

*** END OF SPOILERS ***


 

What I Thought

Even Angels Fall was an interesting read. It had quite a lot of heavy story lines, and even though the characters were doing things I don’t agree with, the way it was written still made me care about what was going to happen to them.

The story started with a prologue, which pulls you in, and makes you eager to find out what has led to that point. Abbey is a very interesting, multi-dimensional character. It was interesting to see how quickly your life could change depending on the people who surround you.

There were some grammatical errors dotted throughout the book – but not so many that it was distracting to read. I’m just quite particular about things like that!

Even Angels Fall is a hard-hitting story, highlighting the importance of your relationships with other people, and the huge impact they can have on your life.

3.5/5

It really doesn’t matter how high they soar because they aren’t untouchable, despite what they believe. Even angels fall.

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