This is the sequel to Falling From The Sky and features Hank's aforementioned sister Stella and his best friend Bear. It takes place essentially before and after that book, with the first half of the book starting out on the weekend before Hank's accident* and then picking up months later after Hank has gotten together with Callie. While it's not bad and the characters are nice, the way the book was set up is kind of...well, it felt like it was missing a middle, I guess.
* In the previous book review, I made a comment thinking that something bad had happened to Hank in this book. No, it's just referring to Hank's original snowboarding accident.
In the first half of the book, we find out that Stella is also a professional snowboarder--something I pretty much had zero idea about from reading the previous book. Meanwhile, Hank's best friend Bear finds out that weekend that his competition career is essentially over- he's losing his sponsor and getting cut from the team because he's just not quite spectacular enough, especially during an Olympic year. He's feeling down and not wanting to be pitied and he has no idea what he's going to do with his life. Meanwhile, Stella has had a whopping crush/been secretly in love with him since about age eight when he was good to her as she was going through a bout of leukemia. She made a move at age sixteen and was brutally rebuffed since she was a kid/best friend's sister/boss's daughter.
You might guess-and you'd be right--that this all leads up to Stella finally getting her bear for the night, and then the next morning is ruined by the phone call notifying her of Hank's accident and Bear backing the hell outta there emotionally. Then the story cuts ahead to when Hank is enjoying life again, Bear has become a sports filmmaker trying to put together a video on a shoestring budget, and Stella is going back to competitions again. The cast and their other snowboarding buddies all go along on a film shoot to Alaska, where Stella very seriously debates whether or not to risk it all on tackling a super dangerous cliff and Bear angsts the hell out about it.
You know what? Stella and Bear are nice people--Stella's especially fun--but this plot literally feels half baked. The major emotional drama of why they can't be together is pretty much Bear's own angst about not being good enough to date a rich girl/boss's daughter, thinking she pity fucked him, blah de blahcakes. And well, duh, eventually he's gonna get over his shit. Stella has slightly less angst about it--the only angst she's got is that after cancer she's infertile and Bear might want kids someday. (Bear's reaction to this boils down to "hey, we're not planners, let's worry about it later and adoption exists, so no big." I have more commentary about this below the spoiler cut though.*) In short: the conflicts are pretty much everyone's inner drama that would all be resolved easily if folks just spit it out a bit, which eventually happens.
And I gotta say, I really hate that we are missing the middle of this story for these two. I really wondered what the heck was with Stella during the previous book, since she's not snowboarding or doing much of anything besides being cranky and doing business stuff she is not so much into. I thought this book might explain it, but NOPE. Did Stella quit snowboarding because of Hank's injury? Does his injury ever make her afraid to go snowboarding again? Did her parents demand that she quit after he got hurt? I have no idea how this affected her own career at all. And while I did like hearing Stella's very reasonable thought process on whether or not to attempt that slope in Alaska**, she never even thinks about what happened to Hank and how that could happen to her if she fucked up here. Really? Because I'm not even a winter sports person and daredevil or not, I can't imagine that wouldn't be up front in her brain on some level. Likewise, we don't really see Bear's professional transition so much. I just felt like we were missing a lot of story and character development by skipping ahead to "now that Hank has a happy ending, let's get these two back together!"
So...I'm going to give it three stars. It's a good read, but this isn't quite as developed as the author's other stories and it could have had a lot more potential, which made it feel like a slighter book to me.