I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”
Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.
None of it matters.
I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.
I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.
Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny.
He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.
Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.
But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.
Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.
Title: The Girl I Was Before (Falling #3)
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication date: June 23, 2015
I received The Girl I Was Before from Ginger Scott in exchange for an honest review.
As someone who grew up reading a steady stream of Sweet Valley books, I enjoy stories about twins. I’ve been waiting for Paige’s story ever since she was first introduced in This is Falling, the first book in the Falling series. Although Paige and Cass are not described as “perfect size sixes” with identical gold lavalieres that they received for their sixteenth birthdays, Houston does compare Paige to Barbie. It’s a sure bet that she, at least, would fit right in with Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.
The Barbie comparison ties in with one of my favorite scenes. When shopping for a Christmas gift, Houston reaches out to Paige, who at this time is little more than an acquaintance, for help.
“Hey, would Barbie rather have a bunch of plastic boots or a Corvette?”
“So…that’s a no on the Corvette?”
Paige huffs into the phone, and it makes me laugh. “Is there a horse?” she asks.
“No, it’s not those little pony things. Just Barbie,” I say, my eyes glazing over at the row of dolls. They all look exactly the same, just different dresses. It’s weird.
“Uhm, I know that. I meant Barbie’s horse. Barbie has a horse. Is there one of those?” She’s insistent.
“I don’t know. Hang on.” I say, kneeling and scanning down the row of pink and yellow and purple things, until I finally come across a horse and carriage. “Yeah! There is one!”
“That’s what you get,” she says.
“That’s the best gift she’ll get. Trust me on this,” she says, and I look at the other things in my hands and decide to believe her, putting them all back and tossing the horse and carriage set in the basket and moving on to clothes.
It’s the quieter scenes like that one, and like her tutoring him in Spanish and showing up to buy sandwiches at the deli counter where he works that made me fall in love with Paige and Houston. Paige wasn’t very likable in the first book and she did some shady things in the second, but I was always interested to see how she would turn out when the focus turned to her. At the beginning of The Girl I Was Before, she’s still not very nice. She’s impatient, she’s dating a jerk, and she’s dealing with stress from some things going on in her sorority and the choices she’s making. It’s only as she and Houston get to know each other that she shows her softer side and opens up. Even then, she remains strong and unfraid to stand up for herself and get things done. Softer Paige can be a bitch too. Sometimes, depending on who you’re dealing with, that can be a good thing.
There’s a huge part of the story that I can’t talk about because spoilers but Houston has a lot more going on in his life than the average college student. His character is a nice contrast to Nate from This is Falling and Ty from You and Everything After. They’re all great guys, of course, but Houston is a little more serious. Ty and Nate, along with Cass and Rowe, show up in The Girl I Was Before. One of the best parts of reading books in a series like this, one that stars different characters in each book, is catching up with the characters from earlier books. The Girl I Was Before is no exception, and I loved reading about how Paige related to them all, especially Rowe and Ty.
The Girl I Was Before is the final (for now?) book in the Falling series. I’m sorry to see it come to an end, but in the acknowledgements at the end, Ginger Scott hints about the possibility for revisiting these characters again in the future. I’d love a novella set a few years down the line to catch up with these characters yet again. Until then, I can’t wait to read her next book, whatever and whoever it is about!