'The Fastest Way to Fall' Resonated With Readers Looking to Embrace Their Bodies

"There are some hard topics covered and I think Denise incorporated these into her novel with a lot of care and respect."

the fastest way to fall denise williams
(Image credit: Design by Morgan McMullen)

The #ReadWithMC community overwhelmingly agreed that everyone should pick up Denise Williams's The Fastest Way to Fall. The slow burn romance novel, told from dual point of views, centers on lifestyle writer Britta who sets out to write a story about a new body positive fitness app by testing it out herself. She ends up getting trained by the CEO, Wes, the two start catching feelings for each other and, well, we're not going to ruin the rest for you. (Let's just say there are a lot of broken "rules.")

As multiple readers noted, Williams does an excellent job at promoting body positivity throughout the novel and displaying trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. "I thought the author tackled the topics of body positivity, fat shaming, diet culture, and fitness well," wrote one reviewer. "I especially enjoyed the author’s note, which was lovely to read and mentioned a personal connection, and felt that it made the reading experience even more special."

Other readers saw themselves within the characters, especially Britta, and thought Williams beautifully displayed the chemistry between Britta and Wes through their witty banter. If this hasn't convinced you to order the book yet, find out what else readers loved about Marie Claire's December book club pick, below.

"How do I even begin to convey how much I loved this book, how much the main character Britta resonated with me, how much I related to this book? 

In short: This is a book about Britta and Wes. Britta is a plus size writer working on an article about her experience using the FitMi app, an app that focused on body confidence and health, not weight loss. Her coach is Wes, who also happens to be the CEO. See my thoughts on next slide ➡️ or see my full review linked in my stories.

What to expect: 
❤️Body Positivity
❤️Strong, confident, smart, & funny female character
❤️Slow burn, low steam romance but off the charts chemistry and banter

As I mentioned before, this book resonated with me SO much. I am a plus sized woman who doesn't know a time when I wasn't actively working on my health and fitness. A few years ago that journey shifted from focusing on weight loss to focusing on health and achieving fitness goals. I have never been happier with my body and what it can achieve. This book hit right at those heartstrings. I knew exactly how Britta felt when her crush wanted to be with her but not be seen with her. I knew how she felt when she crushed that first training run outside. I knew how she felt when she started to love yoga because she finally found an instructor who looked like her and helped make the class accessible for all.

Swipe ➡️ to see a picture of me after a 5k race this summer. Finishing it was a huge accomplishment for me. What was even better than finishing was my husband surprising me 4 different times on the course, cheering me on with signs. In essence he is my Wes." —@readingwithmrsleaf

"CW: fatphobia, addiction, drug abuse, mentions of eating disorder.

I really enjoyed How to Fail at Flirting so I was excited to pick up the next book by Denise Williams. I ended up loving this one even more!

I thought the author tackled the topics of body positivity, fat shaming, diet culture, and fitness well. I especially enjoyed the author’s note, which was lovely to read and mentioned a personal connection, and felt that it made the reading experience even more special.

I loved the protagonists Britta and Wes. They felt like very real and genuine characters. They had great chemistry from the beginning, even before meeting in person. The banter was just 😍😍 It was more of a slow burn because of the conflict of interest stemming from their relationship as fitness coach and client as well as Britta’s writing job, but it was a good build up in my opinion.

I savored this book from beginning to end and would definitely recommend it if you enjoyed How to Fail at Flirting or just want a book that’s equally inspiring and swoony." —@bookedbyelizabeth

"Y’all I usually take a few days to write reviews because I like to process the book and my feels, but I just finished this half an hour ago and I couldn’t wait to rave about it. This was AMAZING! And tbh I’m going out on a whim here and calling it my favorite romance of all time! Yep I said it favorite romance of all time and you know what I’m also gonna say @nicwillwrites you’ve been one of my favorite authors but now you ARE my #1favorite author. You killed this. 👏🏾⁣

As usual this review will be in the form of my many jumbled thoughts so yeah keep reading ☺️⁣

• If "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo was a book it would be this 💃🏾⁣

• The authors note had me screaming COME THROUGH 🥺⁣

• I loved reading more about Jake and Naya from HTFAF ❤️⁣

• The slow burn pining, tension, and steam had me blushing ☺️🤪🔥⁣

• This pulled me out of my nasty reading slump 🙌🏾⁣

• The romance was top tier but the self love journey was chefs kiss ❤️⁣

• I loved Britta she reminded me so much of my bff Emily but Wes that is my man, book husband for life. He was EVERYTHING 🥺❤️⁣

• Kelsey better watch her back. She was awful and so many times I was like COME AT ME BRO but I’m glad karma worked everything out 🤢🤬⁣

• Chapter 54 gave me the chills⁣

• The last few chapters choked me up because I related way too hard to Wes and his struggles 😭⁣

Fav quote - "Anyone who makes you feel you're not good enough isn't worth the breath it takes to tell them to go to hell."

Overall I highly recommend y’all reading this.

TW ❗️- eating disorder, alcohol/drugs abuse" —@bookswithsyd

"CW: body shaming, bullying, eating disorders, mention of drug and alcohol.

Okay I’ll tell you the short version of this review: just go buy the book. If you read and loved her first book, How to Fail at Flirting, then you definitely need this book. This book again deals with love whilst also tackling difficult topics that Denise just writes so well.

Now the long review:

This book was emotional, it was an amazing love story, and it was deeply impactful. As someone who critiques her body way too hard, this was a gift. Yes, I have struggled to be “okay” with my body. I used to look at my weight on a scale and think being overweight is bad. I used other’s sizes and weights as a benchmark for how I wanted to weigh. I can go on and on about me and my struggles with self confidence. When I read this book, it was a truly beautiful sight to see a character like Britta (also name twins kind of! That added a nice little layer to reasons I loved this book) work on bettering herself from a fitness standpoint while also embracing her weight and body shape, thinking to herself she is just as worthy of finding a soulmate as anyone else was a true delight. I’m really making myself just sob thinking about it.

Anyway, go read this book. It’s not only a beautiful love story between two characters, it’s a beautiful story of discovering your worth and your ability to love yourself. A truly remarkable read to sum it all up." —@brittmariereadshere

"In The Fastest Way to Fall, Britta is trying to get a writing position at the magazine she works at by reviewing her experience with a fitness app. Wes, the app's CEO, becomes her trainer, not realizing she is the journalist writing on his company. The two form an instant connection and quickly start tweaking, and then breaking, the rules to be with each other more.

Miscommunication issues are one of my least favorite type of rom-coms. 😬 It is always a bit crazy to me when all issues could be resolved with a couple minutes of honesty. However, I will say I loved all the body positivity messages in this book! It was very encouraging and taught the importance of being active and making good lifestyle choices, but also loving the skin you're in. ❤ I actually found myself thinking about it and being genuinely encouraged during my workouts 👟 and didn't feel guilty when I followed it up with some pizza. 😉" —@booksmithqueen

"Synopsis: Britta works at a lifestyle website and is doing an article on a new body positivity app that has personal coaching. Wes is the owner of this app, and when Britta’s profile comes across his desk he decides to be her coach. He doesn’t know she’s writing an article about his site and she doesn’t know he is the owner of the app. Things get juicy my friends.

Denise Williams just has a way with words that will capture your heart.

I want to start off by saying that I loved how the author incorporated content warnings at the very beginning of the book and resources for help at the end of the book. This book talks about alcoholism, substance abuse, parental neglect, disordered eating, eating disorders, fat shaming/body shaming.

Wes and Britta were special. Their easy and funny banter will have you swooning for these two. Denise Williams writes banter in a way that feels so natural and she truly has a talent for writing funny banter which will have you cracking up. This is kind of a slow burn and reading it from both POVs makes it even slower I think because you’re going through both of their emotions. I wouldn’t have it any other way though cause to really fall in love with Britta and Wes you need to read both their POVs.

As I mentioned above, there are some hard topics covered and I think Denise incorporated these into her novel with a lot of care and respect. Britta is so many of us who have been made feel less than because of our bodies and her character truly hit home for me. Britta is the kind of strong female protagonist I love.

This book will capture your whole heart! I hope you’re ready!

For my steamy readers—there’s a ton of sexual and emotional tension and a bit of steam. I did think the steam was written very well there just wasn’t a ton of it, but the scenes that were steamy were open door.

For those who have read...Kelsey?! Ugh!!!" —@bookrecsbymel

"5/5 ✰ Another favorite adult rom-com added to my list!

The Fastest Way To Fall by Denise Williams was such an adorable book! I loved Williams’ previous novel, How To Fail At Flirting, when I read it earlier this year and was beyond excited to read Wes and Britta’s story next. One of the aspects of Williams’ storytelling that I love is how she is able to balance a beautiful romance between her two main characters with discussions of important topics. In this book, there were discussions of substance abuse, addiction, emotional abuse, sexual harassment, and body shaming, which were thoughtfully handled. I LOVED the body positivity in this book! Seeing Britta on the cover and being able to resonate with her journey to feel good in her body was so incredible. Denise Williams has always been amazing with her representation in the past and I was glad to see it portrayed so well in this book too!

➯ The romance in this book was also SO CUTE. I loved the dual POV from both Britta and Wes, as it allowed readers to really see both Britta and Wes’s feelings develop over time. The slow burn and tension between the two were drawn out really well and made the climax and resolution so much more satisfying. Not to mention how amazing Wes is as a character. He’s so incredibly sweet and supportive of Britta every step of her journey, which was amazing to see. The romance has so many tropes that I adore too, including the one-bed trope and the guy-falls-first trope!" —@bookwormbullet

"I like the concept here of an insecure girl learning to love herself, reach her goals, and live her best life.

The storyline though was not the most exciting for me. I do like how the coach and client relationship bloomed into a friendship and later...something more. Some of Wes Lawson’s inner thoughts and what he said were too cheesy for me at times.

I did enjoy Britta Colby’s perspective and her fitness journey, along with her voice on the social media platform. I think Wes’s family drama was not entirely necessary in this plot. As for the character that stirs up drama between Britta and Wes...that was incredibly predictable.

Overall, this is not a bad audiobook and the narrations made it easy for me to get through the book. This is just not one of my faves this year." —@mae.rox.wanders

"📚 Britta works for a popular lifestyle website, Best Life, and she is looking for her big break and promotion to staff writer. At her staff meeting, she pitches an idea to document her journey with the fitness app, FitMi, which is less about numbers and weight, and more about living a healthy life and feeling good. Britta gets matched with a FitMi coach, Wes, who also happens to be the attractive CEO of the company. Despite the rules, Britta and Wes begin meeting in person as trainer and client and eventually as friends. Over time their relationship becomes something more, but are they willing to put their careers at risk for love?

💜 What I love about this book is the frankness and realness of Britta's journey with loving her body. So many of us have been conditioned to believe in an unrealistic ideal of what our body should look like and there is often not enough representation of real bodies in books, film, and movies. If you read this book I recommend reading Denise Williams's author note as well.

In terms of the romance, this book is a slow build, but it is worth it. The story takes place over a period of months, which allows the tension and romance and to feel authentic as it grows over time.

Denise Williams has solidified herself as an author who's future works I will automatically buy. If you are into Jasmine Guillory then I especially recommend reading The Fastest Way to Fall and also make sure you read Denise Williams' other 5 star romance How to Fail at Flirting." —@book.to.bowl

"📖 Hot Takes

- I love romance that deals with heavy topics and Denise Williams has given us another perfect read that makes you feel everything but wraps it up with you crying happy tears at the end. Check those content warnings please!

- Britta was such a well-written character! This book was such a beautiful portrayal of fat rep and Britta's feelings about her body and the journey she went on to love her body were so well done. This book was very fitness heavy, but in a way where Britta worked to love herself as she is while showing the world she can run a 10k if she wants!

- I loved Wes. And I loved the way Wes never judged Britta throughout the book and thought she was special before meeting her in person. And when that meeting happened, there was absolutely no indication that she, as a fat Black woman, was anything less than what he pictured in her mind. I also loved that Wes never fetishized Britta in any way.

- Fuck Kelsey.

📚 Read If you like

- Talia Hibbert type characters, who can banter with the best of them.

- A workplace situation where each character has a secret that you're dying for them to tell each other!

CW: Fatphobia, addiction, eating disorder." —@kikiareyoureading

"Review: 4.5/5 stars

The Fastest Way To Fall is a contemporary romance.

The book takes place in Chicago and features both the female and male first--person POVs.

Britta is a plus-sized editorial assistant at a lifestyle website who wants to be a writer.

Wes has co-founded Fitmi Fitness, an app with a body positive message.

This book is fun and funny. But it also deals with some serious issues.

I absolutely loved Britta. And I loved seeing her use the Fitmi app. I love the idea of body positivity being such a big focus of the book. And Britta was such an amazing character! The author did a really good job of making her super relatable.

There is a lot of fun banter in this book. And lots of emails and texts (part of this story is told in an epistolary style). This really helped showcase the friendship between Wes and Britta.

Overall this was an enjoyable romance!

*This book can be read as a standalone. But it is connected to How to Fail At Flirting. The main characters from that book have minor roles in this book." —@jenniferk_reads

"'You’re better than easy fixes, Britta. You don’t need fixing at all. You’re making changes, but not because you were broken to begin with. Please promise me you won’t let this guy, or any guy make you question yourself again. Anyone who make you feel you’re not good enough, isn’t worth the breath it takes to tell them to go to hell.'

I wish someone told me this years ago. That I had a book like this years ago…through the years of self-doubt and a horrible relationship with food that took me years to get out of my head. I wish I had read these words back then.

I loved this book and the fat representation and body positivity.

I loved the emphasis that life changes and working out and changing habits to feel good? That the good does not need to and should not need to equate to losing weight. That skinniness isn’t happiness or attractiveness or anything else. I wish someone was there to tell me that the media and everything everyone told me was bullshit.

This book was as much of a gem as her first book. There were all the swoon worthy moments, cute flirty times, steam, a lot of character growth, and two main characters I couldn’t get enough of. If I had one complaint is that I wish I just had more Britta and Wes together…but I think I’m just greedy. 

TW: Substance abuse, fat phobia, mentions of past eating disorders." —@biblio.jordyn

"Fictional romance book that also talks about body positivity, self esteem, and diet culture WITH relatable characters? Oh besties…sign. Me. Up.

I absolutely loved this book and Britta and Wes…an absolute *chefs kiss* when it comes to characters. Speaking of characters…Kelsey is everything wrong with the world. I hated that girl so much. Anyways back to 🤍 Britta and Wes 🤍 AHHHH I absolutely loved them so much I didn’t feel there relationship was too fast paced like how it sometimes can feel. I really enjoyed the talks about how being healthy and working out doesn’t mean dropping numbers on a scale. That was something i struggled with a lot growing up, along with overall self esteem and body positivity. i can’t wait to read more of Denise Williams’s books because this one I absolutely ADORED!

Ww: drug abuse, eating disorders." —@hotgirlbookshelf

"I couldn’t let the last week of 2021 pass me by without highlighting one of my top favorite books of the year. 

Do I wish I had a book/story like this while I was in HS? Yes

Do I wish I had this book in my 20s? Absolutely

Am I grateful to have a story like this now in my 30s? You bet!

I’ve been recommending this book to all of my friends and everyone is loving it. For someone who has always struggled with body image and considered plus size it was so easy to relate to the main character, Britta. Britta works for a lifestyle website and takes an assignment to write about a new body-positive fitness app. Through their messaging system she meets her personal trainer, Wes (who happens to be the CEO of the fitness company). There’s some subtle flirting via text and eventually they start training in person. But Britta doesn’t tell Wes she joined the app because she’s reviewing it for work and Wes doesn’t tell her he’s the CEO. You immediately root for these characters to get together and get a happily ever after.

For anyone who’s struggled with dieting I do encourage you to read Denise’s note at the beginning of the book to determine if this story is right for you. I for one am so happy to see characters like Britta being written more often!" —@mrs.zreads_23

"So, Denise Williams’s debut from earlier this year (How to Fail At Flirting) has been one of my absolute favorite romances and books of 2021. So it was no question that I was going to pick up her second book as soon as it released! And It’s safe to say that Denise Williams knocked this one out of the park too!

There is just so much packed in these pages to love:

Body positivity (SO MUCH!!) ✅

Britta’s badass-ness, sarcastic self ✅

Wes’s sweet, selfless self (can I have him as a fitness coach?) ✅

Cutest of meet cutes ✅

Slow burn friends to lovers romance ✅

Tension + cute flirty banter ✅

Self love!!! ✅

I appreciated and loved this book so much because of the unique plot and how it tackled some serious themes, but handled them in such a wonderfully positive way! Britta was seriously inspirational and I absolutely loved the messages surrounding health and fitness, especially the one breaking the stigma of “the only reason to exercise more and eat healthy is to lose weight”. Instead, this story showed there is SO much more to it than just numbers on a scale, but how self fulfilling it is to do something for yourself because it makes YOU feel good.

And Wes. *Sigh.* He was the perfect coach and it’s almost like I could feel his pep talks and advice coming out of the pages to directly speak to me and now I am as motivated as ever to get off my butt more and do stuff for myself.

Lastly, this book does also touch on some other heavy subjects, which added some great backstory to our already lovable characters, and was just a nice element to add further depth to the story. Also, Denise Williams’s author note at the start of the book was fantastic and really made this reading journey feel more special.

Rating: 4.5/5" —@a_pucking_bibliophile

Missed out on our December book club pick? In January, we're reading Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho. Read an excerpt from the book here.