Fall is the third novel in VIP, a rock star romance series by Kristen Callihan. Having had the story of two previous members in this band (well, #2 was about their Manager but..) we already know Jax Blackwood’s history. He was the catalyst to Killian’s escape from reality in VIP. Jax is the best friend who tried to kill himself and sent the band whirling into despair and confusion. Knowing this, I wondered how Ms. Callihan was going to inject a lightness into this troubled man’s story. That injection came in the form of Stella, a funny “free spirit” who dares to knock down Jax’s mental blockade and make him feel again. She does this through humor, but also provides Jax with someone who needs him emotionally. That is a truly scary thing for a mentally depressed individual, but he is willing to take that chance and be that person for Stella.
We knew all about Jax (or thought we did), but we, the reader, knew nothing about Stella until she meets him over Mint Chip ice cream at the grocery store. A scene that sets the stage for some pretty funny shanigans between these two characters. Stella doesn’t have a clue who Jax is, and Jax loves the independence of being himself instead of being the rock star. When they meet again, she is living next door to him in Killian and Liberty’s apartment, pet sitting for them while they are on vacation overseas. This closeness provides many opportunities for Jax and Stella to interact and get to know each other. Both of them are truly surprised by what they find out.
I loved that Kristen Callihan took on mental illness in this novel. It would be so easy to make Jax the tortured misunderstood hero and Stella be the light that brings him back from the dark. They both are those things, but they are also so much more. After having viewed the effects of Jax’s attempted suicide on his band members, it was really eye opening to hear his viewpoint on what is and was going on in his head. The way this is portrayed is very true to life and only the romance in this novel is lighthearted. The characters have depth that scratches despair, and only by being together, loving each other do they have the strength to face the future. Stella needs this love just as much as Jax, maybe even more.
This was not a lighthearted novel. Yes, I did laugh, but I also cried a bit and stopped to think about how this portrayal could parallel a lot of people’s lives that read it. Not that we’re all rock stars, well at least outside my own head, but the fact that we all have moments of darkness and that dream that being needed and loved can help us overcome despair.
Am I reading too much into this novel? I mean it is a rock star romance and is meant to be fun. I know other people haven’t loved this novel as much as the other two in the series, but I’m going to say this is my favorite so far. Fall had a perfect balance of light and dark, love and hate, despair and hope. To me, that balance made it pretty much perfect. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I’d say Fall was a great romance that also managed to handle the important topic of mental health and depression with such realism and grace. I would highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the other books of the VIP series.” A Lovely Book Affair
“Fall is an intense, emotional, funny, and sexy slow burn. Kristen Callihan created and developed flawed but endearing characters in John and Stella who will keep you engaged throughout their rollercoaster of a relationship.” Harlequin Junkie
Click this link to purchase!* Fall (VIP Book 3)
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