Falls Boys by Penelope Douglas

jenna_manning's review against another edition

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adventurous dark reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


rebeccaamorim's review

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enjoyed it but also super confused?

feichtersgirl's review against another edition

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emotional funny sad tense medium-paced


tanya_boston's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional mysterious tense fast-paced


jeweldotson's review

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Extreme dislike of this book

brittanica_bold's review

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I' upset right now.

I had 2022 lined up to be the best year in books for me. All my favorite authors were publishing and all of the books seemed right up my alley. I thought the damn stars were aligning....but alas, life is cruel.

As of now, I am 3 for 3. The first three books to have been released from my 2022 anticipated book list have all been solid 3 star ratings for me and I am downright distraught!...ugh, anyways, let's continue.

What I liked about the book:
1. I actually really liked both of the main characters, which makes this book so much worse for me because I feel they were robbed of a good storyline.

Aro is an 18-year-old from the bad part of town who has aged out of the foster care system and is running drugs/stolen merch/ "collections" as part of a gang to attempt to support her younger siblings. She has been abused and neglected her whole life, and is currently at the weird age of still being young, but being "legal" enough for her gang to want to pimp her out. Lovely, right?

Aro has a hard edge to her and doesn't think long-term, even though she proves herself to be very smart and ahead of her peers intellectually. As someone who is constantly wondering where her next meal is, it makes total sense that she wouldn't have a habit for thinking long-term. This new viewpoint was one of the things I really appreciated about Penelope's writing, given I have never been in a situation like this and couldn't fathom why she wouldn't slow down to just think things through.

Hawke is an eighteen-year-old typical Falls kid: class president, football player, entitled and rich. However, Hawke is searching for more meaning in his life as he's getting ready for college.

I found Hawke to have a leader personality for sure. I didn't think he was a d*ck, but I did find that he was often the one in control. Whether through his technology or his possessiveness, he is definitely the right person to be on the lam with.

While Aro doesn't think things through, Hawke overthinks things, sometimes even to the point of his thoughts paralyzing him. He provides her balance while she provides him creativity and freedom to be himself. So you can see why they would be perfect for each other and why I'm pissed this story wasn't better.

2. As someone who read the Fall Away series, I LOVED all the tie ins into this series. HOWEVER, Penelope Douglas prefaced this book with it could be read as a standalone. I completely disagree. There were waaaay too many references and throwbacks to the Fall Aways series that I could only imagine didn't make sense to readers new to this story. I could see if there were only a couple references, or there were sufficient detail around the references, but that is not what happened in this book. There were specific things mentioned but glazed over that were pivotal IMO....

3. Penelope comes up with the best lines. Here are a few I enjoyed:

"I don’t know how I’ll die, but God, I hope it’s with a view." - I like this a lot. I think this makes me less scared of the inevitable curtain closure. Thanks, P <3

"a night of crime is kind of like riding a motorcycle. It’s best to cover as much of you as possible." - I also loved the references to the masks and the pandemic. Very in the now.

"The reminder that every action justifies a reaction, and this might be the day." - I don't know why, but this is very Newton meets Poe for me and I dig it.

"I grew up being underestimated, because I’m not a man."- Preach, baby!

"They run around like they own the whole world, but I guess wolves born on a leash never know they shouldn’t be wearing one." - Damn!

"The women in my family are incredible. Not one of them waits for an invitation. Some peoples’ ceiling is Dylan’s floor." - The fact that Hawke said this makes me love him. The fact that Dylan (female) is referred to like this, makes me like her a little more.

"Morals are for people with second bathrooms." - Wow

"'Why can a woman be picky, but a man’s sexuality is questioned if he’s not diving into every short skirt like an animal who can’t control himself?'” - LOVE THIS!

“'It happens every time. A thought and then a thought and then a doubt and then a worry, a concern, a dread, until my head is swimming, and I want to scream.' He closes his eyes, and I can tell he’s trying to control himself. 'It’s so loud, and then I’ve lost it. The moment.'” - P gets me!

“'Sex is a big deal,' I say. 'Especially for women. It’s easy to feel degraded. Abandoned. Forgotten. Worthless if you’re a virgin. Worthless if you sleep with ‘too many’ people.'” - Those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind, honey.

“'Leave your door unlocked tonight,' he says quietly. 'In case I want to taste what my fingers touched.'” - It's always the quiet ones ;)

What I didn't like about the book:
1. I felt like the author tried to cram too many plots into this storyline. I'm fine with multiple plots, if it's done well. This felt really disjointed and like I was getting whiplash every couple of paragraphs.

2. I'm definitely not a dumbass, but I was very confused at certain points in the book.

3. I did not like Dylan! She was either a jerk or vapid. I kind of hope the next book, which I'm assuming is hers, really paints her in a different light.

TLDR: Reading this was like being served soup with only a knife: all the yummy goodness was there, but we just couldn't get to it.

anagv's review against another edition

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It’s just her. I’ve never felt anything more right. I’m supposed to be here.

“I used to have to look up all the time. I didn’t want to see most of what was around me. I like my view right now.” 

“Only you’re allowed to touch me.”

koistyfishy's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


1 Carnival Tower Star ⭐️
Spicy Level 🌶️🌶️/5

What an absolute clusterfuck. Why book! WHY!!!! My God I don't even know where to start...

I suppose let me focus on the good...
Yeah...there is none - at least nothing that is contained in these pages. There was a definite good in that I could bitch and moan to my Twinsie about what the fuck was going on...

I am seriously asking if anyone has read this if you could help me find the plot...because I tried looking for it and I couldn't find it. I tried really really hard to piece the information together with what we were given in a mess of words and still cannot wrap my mind around what the fuck was going on. The plot was either so light it was a feather that it just floated away, or it was so convoluted that it was akin to trying to decipher hieroglyphics without the Rosetta Stone.

It felt like something jumbled together with half-strung ideas just floating around. The annoying part is it had a glimmer that it could have been amazing. It had so much potential and then in the end it was just a bunch of stupid teenagers running around thinking that they were invincible and completely untouchable.

Lia finished this before I did and I DRAGGEGD ON THE STRUGGLE BUS... I only did it because I felt bad she did and I figured given how much I had already given to the book and because I had the hope that it would be able to redeem itself, I should carry on... didn't.

Aro and Hawke are the most complex, convoluted characters but with no substance, they are basically surface-level. I have no idea who or what they are. It feels like they are pretending to be these badass characters based on generalized stereotypes that you can take from dark romances and put on teenagers who then think because they have a little bit of an ego and popularity they're so "hardcore" when they're children! All I wanted was for them both to talk to ADULTS or the authorities to solve their problems instead of trying to solve them themselves because they clearly couldn't think like adults.

One of the biggest things I didn't like about Hawke and Aro's relationship was the fact that they were constantly challenging each other. Like constantly putting each other up to the test to see if the other would fuck up and prove them wrong or essentially prove they "were right" that the other person isn't what they think they are. Trust is an essential foundation in a relationship and if you're constantly trying to catch the other person out for lying to you, cheating on you or stabbing you in the back... it doesn't promote a very safe and healthy relationship.

Then there was the fact that it was so chaotic. I cannot understand how these two who were supposed to be hiding from the police and hiding from a drug lord; essentially went to every social event, pool party, and car race WHEN they should have been lying low. It was like these characters were doing nothing but running from point A to point B to point C back to point A to point D, then to point E and then from E back to B to actually end at C. I have no idea what was going on and my brain hurts trying to put it together.

Things just moved around. Things were thrown in. Things were never resolved. Things were just strewn about. And you just have to be like, Yeah, I'm along for the ride and I'm enjoying this! WHAT THE FUCK.... NO!

I thought I would escape my pet peeve with Penelope Douglas's writing, but low and behold, did she bring it! That is that she has this amazing ability of storytelling where she has one character do something off page, even though we have a dual pov we don't see this happen. Then the other character is told about what the character did off page and the STORY JUST MOVES ON WITHOUT MOTIVATION. You are never given the character's motivations for why they chose to do that thing. You are expected to accept that this is now part of the story.

Basically, this is a shit show and I would like an award for finishing it.

Trope Summary:
▶ Slow Burn
▶ Forced Proximity
▶ Enemies to Lovers
▶ Forbidden Romance
▶ Touch Her and Die
▶ Small Town Romance
▶ One Bed
▶ Virgin MMC

I honestly don't know if Penelope Douglas is the author for me. I have read three of her books now, and loved one and despised two of them. I am giving her one more chance with Damon's book before I decide to stay away from her for good. 

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looksandbooks1's review against another edition

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I TRIED I tried to like this book. Penelope Douglas and I have a weird relationship. Sometimes, I am all in, and other times, I'm confused and not understanding the hype, and this one is confused. I did listen to this book and the narrators I did not jive with at all. It was to the point I was like  I am not even listening because I was tuning put during to thr narration." This was the first time I listened to either of these narrators. I felt there was also a huge back story that I was missing. But I tried. I got to 45% and was like I can't. The male mmc I was  feeling at all and felt like the fmc problems were so big, but everyone was like, "Don't worry, be happy." Lol I hope others loved it because I like her as an author. Just wasn't my vibe 

555quin's review against another edition

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes