Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: The Way We Fall

AUTHOR: Megan Crewe
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Disney-Hyperion
PUBLICATION DATE: January 24, 2012
ISBN: 9781423146162
PAGES: 304
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS
OVERALL RATING: Recommended
SUMMARY: A highly-communicable virus attacks a small island community, killing many of the island inhabitants. Quarantined on the island, seventeen-year old Kaelyn and her family must learn to survive and avoid getting sick while her father and other doctors work to find a cure.
   
WHAT I LIKED: Eventually, The Way We Fall is a page-turner. By the middle of the book, I enjoyed telling my husband about the storyline and thought about it when I was not reading. The concept of a virus that wipes out almost everyone is frighteningly believable and could certainly happen any place, any time. I really did want to find out if they found a cure, and who manages to survive the deadly virus.

I love the growth of Kaelyn's character. For about the first half of the book, Kaelyn is annoyingly whiny, self-absorbed, and scared of other people and what they think of her. She automatically thinks people don't like her, just because they don't talk to her at school. She is so obsessed with Leo that the entire story is told in lengthy, detailed letters to Leo that she knows she will never mail. The Kaelyn in the first half of the book never goes out on a limb or takes a chance. By the end of the book, Kaelyn has been through so much on the island that she is actually somewhat likeable. I like how slowly her growth occurs because it is realistic--people don't change overnight, and it takes a catastrophic situation to make Kaelyn grow up and become a better person.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:  Whew, a slow start. I had to force myself to read for about the first 100 pages, partly because I had no clue what had happened with Kaelyn's fight with Leo or who had moved where or when or why. The book definitely picks up, but Kaelyn's pining over her lost best friend Leo (and trying to piece together what had happened to separate the two) really gets old.

For me, the journal/letter format of The Way We Fall is its biggest downfall. I think if the book were just partly Kaelyn writing in her own journal or if it were told from alternating character perspectives, The Way We Fall would have been much stronger. I kept thinking that Leo would come back somehow and become a major character, but Leo remains insignificant to the reader, an unnecessary character who never really appears in the action. Further, the journal format is by definition a retelling of the action, which removes some of the tension and suspense from the story. The reader knows Kaelyn stays safe in the dangerous situations she encounters because she at least lives long enough to tell us about it afterwards. It also seems unrealistic that anyone would quote that much dialogue, that precisely, in a journal.

UPDATE: According to author, Megan Crewe, there will be two sequels to The Way We Fall, and Leo will play a bigger role in the sequels. That is so great to hear, and I look forward to reading the next installments!

CONTENT:
  • Language: moderate; language especially increases in latter half of the book
  • Sexuality: mild; some kissing
  • Violence: mild-moderate; some medical gore, two murders
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

READALIKES: The Dead and the Gone (Pfeffer)

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: The Way We Fall does not come out for a few more months, but I do plan to purchase it for the library. My students love post-apocalyptic stories, and I think there is definitely an audience for this one at my school.

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