the way we fall

Thursday, March 8, 2012 |

I didn’t grow up watching horror films or thrillers or anything too realistic, actually. I mean, I don’t count the original Planet of the Apes, because that might have been a little freaky, but it was also totally hokey. My parents were vigilant about what we saw on TV, too (read: I was totally sheltered. I’m okay with that).

This may not be completely accurate, but I think my first brush with anything really scary was in sophomore biology class when we watched the film Outbreak. Today’s equivalent is the movie Contagion. And I KNOW that on a sliding scale it’s not that freaky, but I was totally creeped out. I hadn’t thought about infectious disease’s power in that way before. I might have had nightmares and been a mini-hypochondriac for a while. Trust me, I know I’m a wimp.

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival.

As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

The Way We Fall is a classic outbreak story meshed with a believable young adult survival epic. Kaelyn is a high school junior interested in animals, and she’s mostly a loner (and lonely). At the beginning of the book she’s started writing in a notebook to her former best friend, Leo, to chronicle life on her isolated island in Canada for him, and as an apology for ending their friendship.

When friends, neighbors and classmates start succumbing to the virus, though, she begins to use the notebook as a ‘last testament.’ What follows is a gripping account of breakdown, sickness, grief and survival – and making your life a bit better by bringing those around you close. The plot is both eerily plausible and riveting – in a way it’s like the film Outbreak – you can’t look away, and you hope dearly for the characters’ survival.

I didn’t realize this as I was reading it, but The Way We Fall is the first of a series, and that makes sense. While it had an ending (obviously – the pages don’t go on forever!), full resolution is saved for further down the road. What the reader gets is a mesmerizing tale of a virus and the changes it wreaks on a community, and especially on one girl, Kaelyn. I liked it, and I’ll be checking out the next in the series.

Also, just a note: LOVE the cover for this book. It's reminiscent of yellow caution tape and warning signs, and the girl in the words? Perfect and slightly chilling.

Recommended for: those who like infectious disease films (a la Outbreak), fans of YA apocalyptic and catastrophic tales, anyone with an interest in young adult literature and biology and the possibilities surrounding island quarantines (think: Virals by Kathy Reichs). May it keep you up at night!

Fine print: I received an e-ARC of this novel for review via NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion.


Alyce said...

I loved this book, but then I do love tales of infectious disease and YA. :) My parents raised me on 70s post-apocalyptic movies like Logan's Run, Planet of the Apes, and Soylent Green. Because really, what seven-year-old wouldn't want to watch these? Oddly enough I loved them at the time, even all of the Apes sequels - because I was too young to know poor quality when I saw it.

I remember the first time I saw Outbreak - I had the seasonal flu and had to stay home from school for a week. My parents happened to have rented the movie at the time. Again, I don't know what they were thinking renting that for a sick person, but it was much more effective as a viewing experience.

Evie said...

OK, now, this is what I call a thorough, detailed and thoughtful review! I'm so glad I stopped by your blog today, cause I will definitely be coming back to read more of your great reviews!

I got myself a signed copy of this book while attending the book launch for it. I, too, love the yellow color - I think it's so great that it's not yet another girl-in-a-pretty-dress kind of thing. It really stands out.

And although I am yet to crack the spine on this book, I am definitely excited for it. I too, am a minor hypochondriac, and I am well aware of the fact that this book will most likely creep the shi* out of me, but yeah, call me a masochist, I am actually looking forward to this experience!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really enjoyed reading them!

Liviania said...

I have never watch Outbreak because infectious diseases freak me out so much.

My friends all think I'm the best person to watch horror with because I'm never scared. It's because I know to avoid the medical horror.

(I can't take it in book form any better. This is a long way of saying I am staying as far away from this book as I can lest I break out in a sympathetic rash or something.)

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