Thursday, March 1, 2012

Yay for YA: The Way We Fall review

What makes a great read on a snow day, when you're stuck at home due to treacherous road conditions?  An isolationist dystopia!  This is a review of The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe.
Checkouts: Not owned by library
Typical reader: Teens
Source: I found an Advance Reader's Copy (ARC) at Snowbound Books.  The ARC was free and I am not paid for this review.

Synopsis: As the new school year starts, Kaelyn vows to change for the better, so that when her childhood best friend comes back to visit, she can feel good talking to him.  But then a mysterious, deadly virus strikes her remote Canadian island hometown, she must take it upon herself to be strong enough just to survive.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Most dystopian stories take place in the future, it seems.  The Way We Fall is contemporary, which really helps to make everything believable and relatable.  This sort of thing could happen in the here-and-now.  An island could be stricken by a virus and easily quarantined by the government.  The way society can crumble when people have to worry most about survival is realistically shown in this book.  That's the most powerful thing about this book: It can happen, and it can happen now.

Also contributing to the realism are the characters.  The protagonist, who tells the story through her journal, is a very typical teen, having complex relationships with her parents and brother, being passionate about her interests, and trying to fit in with her peers.  She responds to all that is happening around her in ways that seemed very natural.

I had two small issues with the book.  The first is that I felt there could have been more description.  What does Kaelyn and her family look like?  We do find out that she's of mixed race, but it's never clear which parent her "darker" skin comes from.  It could have stayed subtle, with just something like, "My mother placed her light-skinned hand over my caramel-colored one," or some such thing.  Why was it ignored when we know that Tessa was a redhead and Leo was adopted from Korea?  Details like that could have enhanced the reading experience.

The other issue could be a fault of the editor's, or perhaps the market.  This is the first book in a trilogy.  Of course.  Everything has to be a trilogy now.  I felt like the story could have been wrapped up in another 20 pages or so.  Tie up some loose ends and call it good.  I understand that authors need to eat, and book deals are more lucrative when there are multiple books involved, but I'm a little frustrated.

The author replied to this review on Twitter.  She said that she felt the story needed sequels.  You can read her longer explanation, a "tale of a trilogy," on her blog site.  Thanks for the explanation, Ms. Crewe!

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