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The Last Leaves Falling

by
3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,400 Ratings  ·  361 Reviews
And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . .

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet h
...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Fox It depends on the individual reader I think, and your own personal criteria for it being appropriate, but I'd say yes: there's no graphic sexual…moreIt depends on the individual reader I think, and your own personal criteria for it being appropriate, but I'd say yes: there's no graphic sexual content or violence. The f word does appear a couple of times (with reason); the rest of the book is pretty clean.
That said, it does broach some pretty hard topics - mortality, illness and disability, end of life choices, assisted suicide (and the UK edition also depicts suicide).(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Clair
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, reviewed, fiction
(Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC!)

During the summer of 2014, the condition ALS was brought to the forefront of public awareness, thanks to celebrities taking on the ice bucket challenge. This, of course, drove people to participate, and this culminated in over 100 million US dollars being donated to the ALS Association in the USA.

ALS itself is a horrible condition to be diagnosed with. Any kind of cerebellar or neurodegenerative disorder is, really. Especially when you're so young and fu
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Ashley Brooks
Jun 07, 2015 rated it liked it
First off, I am hugely supportive of the Death with Dignity Act. I was glad to see it mentioned in this book and I hope this book can bring some awareness to younger people who may not be familiar with it.
That being said, there was just something about this book that didn't sit entirely well with me.

We follow 17 year old Sora through his daily struggles with ALS, navigating the difficulties of staying social while being relatively isolated from your peers, and coming to terms with the fact that
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Luna
If you don't read this book you're missing out on something truly special. Beautiful. ♥

*** EDIT **
The I-love-this-book-so-much-there-aren’t-the-words-review:
Very occasionally I read a book that I so utterly and completely fall in love with that when it comes to writing my review all I have is a long list of words such as; beautiful, stunning, magnificent, breath-taking, amazing, fantastic, marvellous and perfect. This is one of those books.

The second thing I did after finishing The Last Leaves
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Marjolein
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

If you hadn't heard about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) before last summer, you'll probably know it now thanks to all the attention that went into the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was of course only a matter of time before there would be books about it as well. And I thoroughly believe it's a good thing that awareness is created for this terrible disease (as there should be awareness for many more terrible diseases).

I really liked th
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Kirsty (overflowing library)
This is a really beautiful book.

I love the diversity of it in two ways. Firstly it gives the reader insight into the typical life of someone outside of the UK. The main character is Japanese and just seeing those little differences in his daily life is much needed to give insight into someone living in a completely different part of the world

The main character is suffering from ALS which is getting progressively worse and seeing the impact that has on his life and mental state is incredibly ha
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Aurélie (Exploring Pages)
More reviews on my blog, Exploring Pages.
"And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this..."
-- Sarah Branwell, The Last Leaves Falling

Thank you Definitions (Youg Adult) for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.

Actual rating: 2.5 stars

The Last Leaves Falling is a very unique novel. It stands out and because of that, caught my eye almost immediately. Reading a story about the life of a
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Lucy Powrie
I feel like The Last Leaves Falling is a friend I’ve watched grow up. I’m so incredibly excited for Sarah and the release of it because I loved it and I know so many of you will too!

The Last Leaves Falling tells the story of Sora, a boy with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that means he is going to die. The novel is so much more than that though – it’s a tale of friendship and discovery, as well as acceptance.

Whilst I loved The Last Leaves Falling, I found some scenes very painful for me to rea
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Beth Bonini
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The neurodegenerative disease ALS got plenty of awareness-raising last year what with the Icebucket Challenge -- and its rather obvious appeal to social media users. I wish that at least some of those teenagers who posted pictures of themselves on Facebook would read this sensitive, poignant book about what it means to get a diagnosis of a disease like ALS. As the book begins, 17 year-old Abe Sora has experienced enough deterioration that he has had to leave school. Feeling isolated and alone, A ...more
Amanda
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was such a sad book dealing with the devastating disease ALS. Sora was only seventeen years old when he gets this diagnosis that changes his life forever. With each day that goes by Sora loses more control over his body. Feeling sad all the time and with no friends to turn to, Sora joins a chat room in hopes of finding people that he can connect to.

I loved this book and all the characters. Sora was a strong, brave character. Despite the overwhelming emotions Sora deals with he handles thin
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Lisa
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I've been living in Japan for nearly 6 years now, I'm always curious about new YA fiction that takes place in Japan. The story has an interesting focus on friendships and communication through the online world, which I can connect with, as well as the controversial topic of taking one's own life. Overall, the story was quite well written and flowed along smoothly. I enjoyed the short, simply-ended chapters. The relationship between Sora and his mother was well-portrayed and realistic. But ...more
Marina Zala
** Books 178 - 2016 **

2,8 of 5 stars!

Buddy Read with Mia Prasetya,Alvina Vanilla, and Ayu Yudha


Seriously, i am overhelming into this gorgeous books cover when the first time i saw it. When my goodreads friends wanna have buddy read okay i can't wait for reading this pieces. one thing that i uncertain with is when i saw an short quotes "...another The Fault is Our Stars..". I have a bad omen but i don't wanna judging first.

This is a story about a young man named Sora Abe that being diagnosed as
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Teresa
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diverse
It's well known among my friends that I don't shed a tear easily. I may feel sad, but to actually cry, well, that requires a colossal amount of pain. To this day, fewer than five books have made me weep. The Last Leaves Falling got me curled up in bed, nearly sobbing myself to sleep. I had a feeling that might be the case early on in the book, but, since I wasn't reading it all in one go, I was fairly certain I wouldn't cry. Clearly, I was very wrong.

What I also did not expect was the feeling at
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Elizabeth
link to review on my blog

Sora has ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - and he will die. At first, I didn't think I'd be able to finish the book knowing that, but I don't regret it at all. I got very attached to him and his story, despite knowing I would have my heartbroken somewhere along the line. I loved his family, especially his grandparents, Ojiisan and Bah-Ba. The love he is surrounded by as he deteriorates is overwhelming - and the friends he meets of the chatroom KyoToTeenz, Kaito and M
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Linda Lipko
Four Stars for this well written, poignant tale of Abe Sora, a seventeen year old young man who is dying from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also know as Lou Gehrig's disease. Intelligent, loved by his family, he seeks answers to life's questions, primarily, he longs to know what will happen when he dies. Is there another life? Does he have the right to choose when this one should end?

Throughout his journey, rarely, if ever, does he sink to the depths of why me, why not someone else. Rath
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Laurie
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abe Sora is seventeen years old, and he’s got an older person’s degenerative and fatal disease: ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s progressing extremely fast. His school has been unwilling to allow him to continue since he’s now using a wheelchair, so he stays home, surfing the web, with his mother for company in the evenings. That is the extent of his life.

Then he meets some kids in a teen chat room, and friendship blossoms. Their first physical meeting is awkward, but the relationships evolve
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Jess
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book is something so different, so amazing, I feel like everyone should read it. It definitely messed with my emotions. I'm smiling, I'm crying, I'm laughing, and those emotions were repeated throughout the entirety of the novel. At first, I wasn't to keen on the main character. After I read more of the book, I grew more attached to him. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Katie (Kitkatscanread)
Really enjoyed this one.
Bittersweet in all ways.
Edward Sullivan
With the support of friends, a Japanese teen diagnosed with ALS chooses to end his life. Subtle, unsentimental, and dignified.
Catherine Doyle
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautiful, unique book.
Rich in Color
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Review copy: Final copy provided by publisher

After reading the summary, I wondered if this was one of those crying books. There are many people who seek out the books that require tissues, but I am not one of them. Puffy eyes and a stuffy nose after reading sessions is not the result I am usually seeking. The unique plot seemed worth the risk though.

Before his illness, Sora enjoyed playing baseball and dreamed of being a professor. After his diagnosis though, he doesn’t know who he is and how to
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Avery (ThePagemaster)
4.5

What first drew me to this book was that this book centers around ALS(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Quick Lesson: ALS is a nervous system disease that weakens muscles, slowly killing the neurons in your voluntary muscles. In simplest terms, its a slow and painful paralysis of your entire body. The most notable people that Have ALS is Lou Gehrig, the baseball player that was the first, mainstream diagnosis and what the disease is named after and theoretic
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Amy
The Last Leaves Falling is a striking novel that demands careful consideration of serious issues by its reader. Sora, a Japanese teenager with huge dreams, struggles to find friendship and courage in his struggle with ALS. Unfortunately, there are elements that did not sit well with me, and I constantly found myself questioning what exactly the author was trying to convey to her readers.

Although Benwell’s writing style and simplistic plot are far more suited to readers in their early teens, Sora
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Trisha
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
"The last thing I want for you is to wear a dream that doesn't fit."

What a tough book. One that is misleading with the red cover. I like the brown one with birds and a boy so much better. It's a little sad, a little lonely and perfect encompasses Sora's life. At least, in the beginning.

This is the story of Sora, a boy who was diagnosed with an "old man's disease". ALS. It's not something I knew a lot about before reading this. And one that I know a lot more about and it breaks my heart.

This book
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Chrissi
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. It seriously blew me away. It’s an emotional, moving read which I’m pretty sure has made its way to my all time favourites list.

I immediately felt compassion for Sora our main character. Sora is diagnoses with ALS at a young age. It’s heart breaking. ALS is an awful disease. Sora’s outlook on the life he had left was, at times, really painful to read. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like for anyone, let alone a teenager. Sarah Benwell’s writing really tore
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Lori
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this a 3.5. this is a pretty quick read. Sora is 17 years old and was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. this horrible disease is progressing fast. His one way of coping is joining an online chat room with other teenagers. At first they have no idea what Sora is dealing with. but as the disease progresses and it is getting more difficult for him to type online. his friends learn about what Sora is going through. soon they meet in person. ALS is a sinister disease it is one ...more
Melissapalmer404
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Book #77 Read in 2015
the last leaves falling by Sarah Benwell (YA)

This is an exceptional read. Abe Sora is a teenager diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and he knows that the outcome is death. He feels like a burden on his mother. Sora feels as if he cannot go out because of the pitying stares. He connects with two local teens online via a forum and the trio end up meeting in person. Sora feels as if his life has more meaning but the progression of his disease is quick moving and he wants
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Libriar
2.5 stars. Not quite sure what the author was trying to do with this book. I was hoping for an explanation at the end of the book that stated her connection to ALS and to Japan so I could then say "Oh, I get why she wrote this." But there was no explanation. So why was the book set in Japan? Why did she choose to portray a 17-year-old with ALS instead of someone older (perhaps as a parent of a teen to keep it a YA book)? And who exactly is the audience for this book? The theme is for older teens ...more
Natasha
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautiful- and I'm not just talking about the cover but also how it was written. It follows the story of Sora who is seventeen and has ALS- who wants more from his life, more that he can't achieve.

This book made me cry. But I do believe that everyone should have a choice- maybe not with everything, we can't choose everything- but at least there should be one thing we should be able to choose in life, or death.

Ronald
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book from a new writer on the literary scene. Sarah Benwell's entirely captivating and beautifully written yarn chronicles the story of a young and smart Japanese 17-year-old boy who discovers that he has ALS and will eventually die. Excellent and fresh prose, superb haiku, and a smooth storyline which is finely punctuated with friendship, adventure, and love all kept me immersed in Sarah Benwell's first novel. Well done.
Sydney
"the last leaf falls
but look close and you see
the hidden buds of spring"

one of the best books i have read in a long time. it is also the first book that has made me cry, but not just because of sadness.

i read this in a day -- it was so easy to soak up and connect to sora, kaito, and mai.

i don't think i could ever forget this book. i would recommend to anyone.
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Fox Benwell (formerly known as Sarah Benwell) is a perpetual student of the world, a writer, adventurer and wannabe-knight, who holds degrees in international education and writing for young people, and believes in the power of both to change the world.
More about Fox Benwell...

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“The sky is different here. I can count the stars we see upon my fingers. And as I sit beside my friends, I know I'll not be cast aside unseen.” 0 likes
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