Hello readers! Welcome to another book review, this one about the…rushed story that was Life Happens On The Stairs by Amy J. Markstahler. I had started this book during my 24 hour readathon, and it took me a while to actually pick it up and finish it. Thank you Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Elsie Richardson’s world crumbles when her dad drops from a seizure at the 4th of July festival. The reality that his brain tumor is back with a vengeance slams the 17-year-old aspiring artist and her family into intense hardship. Her mom needs help to make ends meet, forcing Elsie into adulting overnight. On top of that, Elsie’s caustic, grudge-holding brother is on his way home, and Elsie fears he will only make matters worse.
Feeling alone and hopeless, Elsie does as she’s told and goes to work with her mom. That’s when she meets Tyler Vaughn, the grandson of her mom’s wealthiest client.
After he invites her to go jogging at the historical Shiloh National Military Park, Elsie is warned by her mom to stay away from the wealthy, young man. Elsie gets the notice a bit too late, and so she lies about who she’s meeting each morning.
Over the next few weeks, Tyler becomes her secret solace amidst all the uncertainty she’s facing. But when reality strikes and her private world crashes, she’s forced to find her inner strength on her own.
First off it was a good start, Elsie’s story starts out rough, her father has a seizure, and she gets help from a few people at the fair they were attending. And if I’m being honest, I truly only cared about the dad’s story line. I couldn’t connect at all with the romance that started to grow between Elsie and Tyler. It felt rushed and fairy-tale like.
Here’s the thing, throughout a good portion of the book I thought Tyler was around 22, but turns out he’s about 19. Doesn’t really help the cause that he’s chasing Elsie who is about 17. Either way, it felt as if they met and by the second time they saw each other they had already decided they would spend the rest of their lives together. Although they had some great scenes together, I don’t think they made a true connection to consider each other the love of their life.
It was as if Elsie fell for him because he helped her at the fair, and from then on had a sudden connection to him because of this. And a good chunk of their talks were only about her Dad. This lead to the relationship feeling bland, I wished we had been able to see more of them doing things the other liked. To at least build them a stronger personality.
Here’s how I felt with the relationship:
Next thing up is how things were described. I found myself uncomfortable or thinking what an odd choice of words was for describing people. You see Elsie saying things like “he built a wall as thick as East Berlin” when explaining how closed off someone was, or even saying that one character was a “stubborn German”. But the one thing that bothered me so much was when two characters are describing an ex, they use the term”pretty french girl, might’ve been anorexic though”, and all the characters kind of shoved the comment to the side? No, no, no, it’s harmful to use these terms towards people who are overall thinner than most. Oh also just a side not SHE WAS 15, and this character says that “she didn’t look like it” *facepalm*
I had no choice but consider DNFing but because it was a review copy and I was almost done, I pushed through it, thinking the story would get better. It certainly didn’t though.
The second half of the book turns more fairy like, people coming together to help a family that from what I could tell didn’t really have many friends. The whole town from one second to the other pitched in to help. But at no point of the story did they come by the house and offer condolences, or even check on the family.
The only thing that saved this book was the connection Elsie has with her father, their bond was strong and carried this book to a 3 star rating. If it wasn’t for this main plot point, I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. Read at your own risk, give it a chance if you’d like it may not have been for me but it may be for you! Final rating: