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 sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams that she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infecting young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back.
Those still healthy must fight for the island’s 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.
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she's spent the last six years studying kung fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.
Megan's first novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her second, THE WAY WE FALL, was nominated for the White Pine Award and made the International Reading Association Young Adults' Choices List. Her Fallen World trilogy (THE WAY WE FALL, THE LIVES WE LOST, THE WORLDS WE MAKE) is now complete and she has a new trilogy forthcoming in October 2014, beginning with EARTH & SKY. Her books have been published in translation in several countries around the world. She has also published short stories in magazines such as On Spec and Brutarian Quarterly.
come play the the way we fall game - a constantly oscillating board game about as frustrating as chutes and ladders.
ready player one
first time reading a contemporary YA novel about the decimation of a population brought on by plague? inflate rating by one star.
fist time reading a novel? inflate rating by two stars. and welcome.
move ahead four squares for premise and setting on a small island off the coast of canada. contained environment is interesting, although somewhat reminiscent of plague 99 where an entire town is quarantined.
move back two squares for journal-conceit, which decreases potential for dramatic tension.
lose one turn for perfunctory YA romance - zzzzz
go forward three spaces for teen protagonists with specialized knowledge beyond their years: botanical grafting, animal behavior/biology, civic planning. go, positive teen role models!
lose same three spaces for far-fetchery as they succeed where adults have failed! are medical records less cryptic and impenetrable in canada? cuz i can't make sense of mine, much less set out to solve medical mysteries with a sheaf of 'em.
10 points for authorial balls it takes to kill off characters' loved ones. subtract 5 of those points when you realize it is 2012 and not 1995. we expect that now.
go forward until you reach the calculatingly unresolved ending, and the introduction of a potential complication which may or may not improve the second book's dynamic. woo-hoo sequels forever!you win! for now.
-the stuffed animal will still be there in the morning
-don't be a tease
-you will not need algebra if the world ends.
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I had this distinct thought at two points while reading it – the realisation that my expectations were entirely off the mark – for different reasons. One was positive, one not so much.
It seems strange to be writing this in my review, but it’s the “normalcy” of The Way We Fall that sets it apart and makes it unique. In a sea of flimsily constructed and/or highly speculative dystopian fiction and virulent zombie disease plotlines , this book is a raft of reality. Rather than shambling undead or unexplained global destruction, The Way We Fall is frightening due to the fact that it takes place in our world, and it’s not hard to imagine the events that take place in this fictional account actually occurring.
I think I was expecting yet another teen romance veiled with a thin dystopian premise. But it’s not. The Way We Fall is the story of a small island community struck by a lethal virus. Sixteen year old Kaelyn keeps a journal in the form of letters to her estranged best friend Leo, documenting the struggle to survive as the island is quarantined, people descend into desperation and panic, and the death toll rises. Stranded in the epicentre, Kaelyn’s story recounts the human side to the outbreak, following her through fear, grief, anger and hopelessness. At some points, it’s a fairly introspective story, tracking the mental and emotional ramifications of the seemingly inexplicable virus, and the swathe of destruction it cuts through a tightly knit community.
Once I adjusted to the unexpected tone of this story, I found myself intrigued. I really like the premise of The Way We Fall. It’s well constructed and thought out, while also frightening and relevant. The sense of isolation and abandonment Crewe creates by quarantining the island is very effective. It adds a disturbing layer to the story, to know that life goes on largely as normal not so far away.
Crewe’s diverse characters also feel refreshingly real and “normal” – in the sense that they speak and act and have family dynamics like actual people. Kaelyn herself is believable as a slightly awkward, introverted teen, without ever lapsing into “Special Snowflake Syndrome”. Her efforts to connect with others, navigate social situations and initiate friendships is well articulated. She is a character with distinct personality and interests, written like an actual teen, rather than a bland self-insert. Throughout the story, Kaelyn's growth is evident, and the development of her relationships are well-handled. In a similar manner, the rest of Kaelyn’s family and her friends are also written with authenticity. Crewe gives her characters depth and contrast, yet it never feels heavy-handed or resorts to clumsy tokens.
The downside was, once I had settled into the type of book The Way We Fall in fact is, I expected more from it.
While Kaelyn’s situation becomes increasingly dire, I’m not sure the book itself really delivered on the tension front. I think I read through the climax without really realising it was happening. I kept turning pages thinking that the shocking finale was just around the corner, and then it.. ended. Even considering it’s relatively realistic concept, I think the story could have carried more plot, more twists, more stakes. Otherwise, there were some points where I felt my attention slithering away from the narrative. Yes, shocking and horrible things happen, but I don’t think the story was as gripping as it could/should have been.
Also, if you’re the type of reader who wants an ending that answers all of the outstanding questions, that’s not really the case here. While I don’t think this is a bad thing (in fact, I generally think the opposite), I can understand why some may find the slightly ambiguous closure to this story dissatisfying and somewhat abrupt. I personally liked the untied ends of the various threads, but a few points niggled and I wish they’d been addressed in a larger way.
The Way We Fall is a solid story, firmly grounded in our reality, weaving strong characterisation throughout an interesting premise. It wasn’t what I was expecting, in more ways than one, but there’s a weight and resonance to this story that I often find lacking in others. I’m not as enamoured as I thought I would be, but I still feel is a worthwhile read.
If you are looking for an action-packed, tension-filled bloodbath then this is not the book for you...
THE WAY WE FALL is very quiet, slow moving and much less gruesome- compared to some of the other books in this genre.
16 year-old Kaelyn is a bit of a loner. She prefers the company of her two ferrets- Farley and Fossey, and spends most of her time studying the wildlife, on a small island off the Canadian coast- where she lives. Her estranged best friend Leo has moved away, and the two friends she has left- Rachel and MacKenzie- she really isn't that close to. In the new school year Kaelyn has vowed to be more out going. She is going to join the swim team, be friendlier to her classmates, and she has started writing in a journal- to jot down her efforts -to Leo in case they ever start speaking again.
Not long after the school year starts, a strange illness starts spreading through the community. At first no one seems to take it seriously, including Kaelyn...but when she visits her sick friend- Rachel- at home...she knows it is much more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.
As people start dying, ferries to the mainland stop, and panic starts to take over the island. Kaelyn knows she has to do more than just make small changes to her personality...she has to learn how to survive.
THE WAY WE FALL is the first in- what I assume to be a trilogy- it is not my favorite of its kind, but definitely worth a read if you enjoy the apocalyptic/post apocalyptic - outbreak/virus kind of thing- Which I doooooo!
An outbreak has started in Kaelyn's tiny community and the entire island is under quarantine. A true epidemic mind you!? Remember SARS? The virus has killed off almost everyone on the island and the people struggling to survive have very few resources and very little hope. It felt real. The lock-downs, the symptoms, the paranoia the characters go through. *shivers* I love the viewpoint of this novel which is in the eyes of teenager Kaelyn as she writes letters to her best friend Leo. I'm not a big fan of letter writing when reading a novel because it makes me that more curious to the person that the letter is addressed to. To wonder if they received it as well. But Megan Crewe pulled that off extremely well and I got into the flow of the story quickly.
How insanely creepy is this novel? It was just as bad as watching Contagion. My hope for a cure was what kept me reading. I just wanted them all to live happily and healthy and free again, but it wasn't so because this was not the end. I believe it's a trilogy so I am looking forward to what Megan has in store for Kaelyn. Being set in Canada is such a plus. There's always something creepy when a novel is as realistic as The Way We Fall because you never know when it can actually happen. It can happen, that's the scary part. Being out in that position you wonder if you would have the strength to be as strong as Kaelyn to survive? I sure hope so.
Paranoia at its finest, The Way We Fall is chock full of drama, action, mystery and science. Just make sure to wash your hands right after ;)
Gah! This was good but that was so not an ending! Almost knocked off a start for the lack of conclusion, then I eyed the sequel which is only a few weeks away, calming me down some. Lucky, duck, Mrs Crewe!
As far as post apocalyptic books go, I have read aplenty, and although I would not class this in with my top favorites, I found it compelling and appreciated that it offered something new. For one, it's not actually a post-apocalyptic book--at least not yet. This one stands out from the crowd simply by giving us something a lot more real than zombies or a futuristic dystopian society. In The Way We Fall, we have a flu epidemic--of which we are all familiar after the most recent (H1N1) scare--that has taken over an island, leading to a quarantine. This means no one comes on, and no one leaves. The other flair of uniqueness exists in the way it's written-- in journal form. This puts you into the shoes of the protagonist, letting you to understand how a situation like this affects a person's thoughts and mental processes. One drawback of this structure is that is does lessen the suspense; however this story is more about dealing and surviving, than thrills and scares. As expected with a teenage voice, we get angst and romance mixed in there as well. The latter introduces a love interest that, in my opinion, was a little too selfless, but otherwise enjoyable.
When we begin this book we're introduced to Kaelyn by her own hand. She's writing a journal to a friend she's on the outs with, and then it begins… People start getting sick with the flu which soon turns into delusions, and then they die. We see the island deteriorate in front of our eyes. With the population dwindling, gangs arising, and an all around feeling of malaise, the vibe of the book is kept very distressing--uncomfortable even--which I enjoyed immensely. There is the constant fear of catching this easily contracted disease everywhere you go. I kept wanting to hold my breath whenever Kaelyn ventured outside. Then we have the suspicious abandonment of the government on the mainland. As if they were waiting for the island to obliterate itself. The seclusion is nerve-wracking. They are at the mercy of a heartless, unsympathetic enigma.
This unsettling plot is joined by a rather large cast of characters--at least at the beginning--making it impossible for us to connect with all of them. I did care about them--little Meredith especially--but not in a particularly profound way. I'm sure a lot of you will have favorites you will come to care about more than others, this diminishes the emotional impact of some of the deaths that occur throughout this story. Deaths that I'm sure were meant to have a more powerful affect only becomes another unfortunate event.
This leads me to the ending. I was hoping for a gutting ending. One that puts the nail in the coffin. Instead we're left with a story that feels unfinished--even for a first book in a series. We get zero answers, no real development as far as the actual plot. Nonetheless, I can't say that I wasn't completely engaged in this book from the very start. Hence the complete 4 stars that I'm giving this novel despite what I just mentioned. It also helps that the sequel is just around the corner, I can pretend it's really one big book.
If you get a thrill out of seeing a secluded island and its inhabitants crumble at the hand of a deadly virus (who doesn't?) then this book is for you! ;)
Not sure this was quite the read for me. It took awhile to get use to the set up and I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. The story itself was good though, definitely interesting. For now I'm going to give this 2.5 to 3 stars because it wasn't bad and the writing was good.
This isn't the masterpiece I thought it was when I was thirteen, but you know what? It's still pretty damn good. I'm kind of embarrassed about how much I gushed about it when I was younger - in retrospect, I didn't sound like I knew what I was talking about. But this is still a very good book. Full review to come.
In the end I was completely enthralled with this one. It had a bit of a slower start, but it becomes "unputdownable" toward the middle. In the beginning I was iffy about the way the story is told (Kaelyn is writing letters to a former best friend/crush), but in the end I really loved it. It just felt so honest and straightforward.
I’m pretty fascinated with disease and the way epidemics spread, so it was really awesome (in a sad, horrible way) to read a whole book that revolves around this topic. The whole isolated island setting made the story even more interesting and also believable. There was almost this horror movie vibe going on because all these terrible things were happening, and there was no way to stop it. At times the story is absolutely heartbreaking. You can’t see how there could be a happy ending for this story, but you keep hoping that Kaelyn and those around her will be safe.
I just felt a deep connection to these characters, and I still find myself wondering about them and how everything ended up (because yes, there’s an abrupt ending -- but thankfully it is book one in a trilogy, so we get to read more and find out what happens).
Bonus: this book has a Canadian setting! You have no idea how psyched I was to read in a book about Thanksgiving happening in October! Gosh that sounds sad, doesn’t it? But really, it was nice to read a book set in my home country instead of the States for once.
This book is about family, about friendship, and it has a sweet romance to it as well. There are some lovely moments that make the deeply emotional scenes of loss a bit easier to take. At the heart of this book is the disease and what it does to those who are affected, either directly or indirectly, and it makes for an absolutely gripping story. Highly recommended.
When I requested The Way We Fall from NetGalley, I was under the assumption that this was another dystopian or post-apocalyptic read, this is not exactly the case. The Way We Fall is set on an island that is quarantined because of an outbreak of a dangerous flu-like virus that is killing people. It is never made clear whether this virus is world-wide or confined only to this island so I don't know that I would describe this as either dystopian or post-apocalyptic. However, this is just the first book in what I assume will be a series, perhaps this will change in subsequent books.
With that being said, I came to really enjoy The Way We Fall. The book starts off a bit slowish and it wasn't until almost halfway in that I really became engaged in the story. The story unfolds through a series of letters that are being written by the main character Kaelyn to a boy named Leo. It isn't explained until much further into the book exactly who Leo is and what his significance is in Kaelyn's life. Other than a few instances of Kaelyn mentioning Leo's name, The Way We Fall simply reads like any other first person narrative.
Kaelyn describes herself as a bit of a loner who has a difficult time making friends. Many people seem to view her as snobbish or stand offish and she makes a couple attempts to break out of her shyness a bit. During the upheaval caused by this virus, she finds herself thrown into the company of people who she had barely ever exchanged words with previously as the community tries to pull together to make sense out of the chaos. Her character learns and grows throughout the story, coming to some realizations about herself and others and changing the way she thinks and perceives the world because of it.
As far as the virus itself, there isn't any real scientific explanation about the nature of this virus or any real research into the cause and cure. It's just basically this teenage girls viewpoint of the outbreak.
The romance happens a little fast, but for me it was still pretty much believable. I think that it is realistic to expect that two teenagers who may not have crossed paths before, finding themselves thrown together in a situation like this might be drawn to each other in this way. I will say there are no declarations of undying love and inability to live, breathe or otherwise function without the other, which is refreshing. I liked all of the supporting characters, Kaelyn's mom, dad, brother, romantic interest, and friend; but I think that they were a bit one dimensional. I would have liked to have seen some more depth to them, although I recognize that this may have been difficult when I was only viewing the story via Kaelyn's perspective through letters to her friend.
I definitely did NOT like the way it ended. I was so frustrated by the many unanswered questions and the fact that absolutely nothing seemed to be resolved by that ending. I'm not a big fan of cliffhanger endings and I feel like a story has to have at least some resolution by the end even if the story will continue. Overall, I think that The Way We Fall is a solid and enjoyable read by Megan Crewe and I'll be interested in seeing where she goes with the story in the next installment. I would recommend The Way We Fall to any fans of YA, Realistic Fiction, or Medical related fiction.
I am afraid that I will be one of the lone voices saying that I didn't particularly care for The Way We Fall. The concept was very intriguing - a virus sweeps across a small Canadian island quickly taking lives before anyone can figure out what the cause is. However, I felt a little bored by it and I never developed a strong interest in the characters. Kaelyn begins writing in a journal that she hopes to give to her once-best-friend, Leo when she sees him next. The journal starts at the beginning of the schoolyear where she is determined to become more outgoing and make new friends. Merely a few days into the start of the year, her friend's father becomes sick. When Kaelyn sees him, he is raving in a way in which it seems as if he is incredibly drunk. However, this is just how the virus works when it reaches ones brain. Kaelyn's microbiologist father is called to the hospital to try to figure out not only what is causing the virus, but how to control it. He is not able to get far however when panic sets in and a quarantine is placed on the island. No one is allowed onto the island and the only way you leave is when you die. ****** SPOILERS AHEAD *******
While Kaelyn's family tries to take all the necessary percautions to remain safe, it isn't long before her mother contracts the virus and dies. Kaelyn herself contracts it but, miraculously, she has the right antibodies from an earlier string and that is what keeps her alive. Her and some of the other survivors in town seek to help the others by delivering food and bringing those who are ill to the hospital. However, there is another band of survivors who decide that looting and burning up everything on the island is the only way to kill this virus. The diary format, as well as the constant impending doom, reminded me so much of Life as We Knew It (which I enjoyed). However, as I mentioned, the characters never developed enough for me to really feel a strong interest in them. The relationship between Kaelyn and Gav lacked any sort of spark and felt as if the romance was only part of the story to fit into some kind of formula. I will still pass this along to teens who are fans of the dystopian genre. The content is appropriate enough to recommend to both younger and older YA readers and shows appeal for both boys and girls.
If I had read this book prior to the start of the COVID Pandemic of 2020, my feelings about this book and my review would be completely different, but there were times I actually cried while reading this story. Maybe because I have been working from home for almost 2 years, or maybe because during the peak of the pandemic lockdown precautions I was living alone and would not see another flesh and blood person for weeks at a time. Whatever the reason, I was very emotional reading this story.
I am just going to post my notes as my review because I’m not sure I have the heart to give this story a proper review.
“ We printed up informational booklets, how to stay safe during a potential epidemic. I’m in charge of going over them with all the kids here.” She tipped her head toward the school. It’s probably the same sort of advice I’ve already looked up on the internet. Wash your hands lots. Stay home if you feel unwell. Avoid crowded public places. “ The Way We Fall 15% “Sounds very familiar. I will be interested to see how close to reality this gets. There is obvious differences, the book virus seems to be much more fatal then COVID, but they both seem to be equally virulent.”
” Dad brought home a box of face masks yesterday. “If you absolutely have to go out,” he said, “make sure you’re wearing one of these. The transmission is almost definitely respiratory.” The Way We Fall 17% “yep.”
“How can they do that?” I said. “All because a few people died? What about the rest of us?” The Way We Fall 20% “How many times did I hear ‘Less than 1% (or whatever % they wanted to use) of the people who get COVID die”
” I just want this to be over. I want the stores to be open and people to be able to talk to each other without masks over their faces and no one to ever die again. The Way We Fall 35% “COVID Burnout”
” That gang Quentin got in with, well, they’re pretty rough. The last couple helicopter drops, they grabbed all the supplies, and I heard they shot at the people from the hospital who came to collect it.” The Way We Fall 57% “The extreme hoarding. It makes me think of that guy who bought every case of hand sanitizer in the town and then tried to gouge people for it. Then there was the toilet paper situation. I saw people pushing and shoving as Sam’s Club to get the cases of toilet paper.”
”All it takes is one microscopic virus, and even the people who aren’t sick start acting like mass murderers. The Way We Fall 61% “This is the most true statement I have read in the last two years. I can't help but think of all we have been through in the last two years with COVID. I want to remember the cheering of healthcare workers and making masks and helping our neighbors get items they needed, but there was so much hate, anger, and doubt. I fear that history will look back at America and the past two years and this is what will be remembered.”
” Everyone who’s left at the hospital looks up to him as the boss, and he’s pretty much living there. Which in a way is safer for everyone, because he doesn’t risk bringing the virus here to Meredith or Tessa.” The Way We Fall 65% “I know an ER doctor who when COVID first hit Tennessee, bought an RV which she parked in her driveway and lived in it until she was able to be vaccinated. My other friend who is a nurse had a shower installed in her garage so she could change clothes and shower before coming into her home to be with her family. Accidental transmission to family members by healthcare workers was/is a real concern with COVID. Very few people will ever realize what our nation’s Healthcare workers sacrificed to care for our complaining asses”
I’m doing everything I can to keep her safe, but I never feel like it’s enough. Sometimes I wonder where the breaking point is. When she’ll have gone through so much that, even after the epidemic is over, she won’t ever be herself again. The Way We Fall 71% “Children born during the first year of the pandemic have a slightly higher than normal developmental delays at 6 months. I worry about this because I have a niece who was born in March 2020. She is a true Pandemic Baby.”
” So they’re burning down their own town to try to take the virus with it. The Way We Fall 73% “Is this really so different from eating fish tank tablets, or drinking bleach because someone on the internet said it would kill COVID?”
” Nature doesn’t have feelings or morals; it’s just a bunch of random chances that sometimes work in the favor of this pack or that herd, and sometimes wipe one out. The Way We Fall 74% “No comment”
Edit and Update July 7, 2022 After having about 6 months gap between when I read this book and now, I am lowering my number of stars for this book. I admit, at the time of my reading it, I was very moved by the book, but I think it was COVID burnout. I lost many people close to me during the pandemic, and this is probably the reason I had such a visceral reaction to the book. I am downgrading this book from five stars to three stars to reflect the books quality and not my fragile state at the time of reading it.
“Most people think the scariest thing is knowing that you’re going to die. It’s not. It’s knowing you might have to watch every single person you’ve ever loved – or even liked – waste away while you just stand there.”
There was something extremely enjoyable about this novel that I loved from the very start but unfortunately resulted in a mediocre overall opinion. The writing pace was very slow and detailed which reminded me a lot of The Age of Miracles (which I loved). I enjoy a slow build-up every now and then just as long as the climax is well worth it (which... hmm... what climax?). The writing style was at times difficult to grasp as it's written in the form of journal entries/letters to a friend that Kaelyn no longer speaks to; a friend left the island before the virus came to be.
I loved the storyline for one reason alone: the possibility that something like this could truly happen was terrifying. The symptoms of the virus were described so well that when one of the infected had an itch that just wouldn't go away I found myself feeling it too (at which point I had to take an immediate break and go walk outside). Something happened though around 60% when I came to the realization that the slow-paced and lack of build-up didn't appear to actually be leading to anything. And then there was the 'big revelation' as to why some people were surviving and some weren't... I was hoping for a bit more interesting of a reason. So I started losing interest. Life slowly kept getting worse but life went on, there was a predictable group of people that began doing anything they could to make others lives miserable... it was definitely lacking.
Other Random Issues *I can't remember a YA I've read, ever, that didn't include a romance. (I'm sure I have but I really can't think of one off the top of my head). But in this particular case I felt it was completely unnecessary and really should have been left out for the better. *So Kaelyn was able to review all of these medical records and determine the correlation between all the survivors. Maybe she's a genius (although considering she's 16 and only taking high school Algebra I'd have to say no). It was all incredibly far-fetched that she could figure out a way to save the human race but in moments of crisis is constantly forgetting to WEAR THE DAMN FACE MASK. *And uh... birds? *All this talk about self-defense training and I don't see a single kimora or choke hold. Lame.
The Way We Fall, Megan Crewe's second novel, takes all the potential I saw in Give Up the Ghost and capitalizes on it. She's switched genres and found somewhere where I think she can really thrive. It's a good small-scale dystopian (but I think the scale will grow in the next book). Recently I said to myself "Maybe I should give the dystopians a rest." But I'm glad I didn't. This book proves that dystopian isn't quite over yet. It's a worthwhile book--not too futuristic and grounded enough in the reality to be a little bit scary.
The novel is written completely in letters to Leo, the main character's former best friend. It's one of the few novels where letters work. Keeping the perspective in close first-person POV also works, letting the reader piece together the puzzle with Kaelyn, not before or after her. The story maintains a perfect balance between what's known and what's unknown.
The story starts with a lot foreshadowing. A dead bird here, someone with a strange cough there, before building into the island completely shutting down with the deadly virus. Because as the reader you know it's a book about a virus, the foreshadowing builds an atmosphere of foreboding and you're looking at everything as a possible clue.
Kaelyn is a likable main character. She feels isolated and alone. Rather than whining, moping and feeling sorry for herself, she deals with it. She's in the process of trying to be the "new Kaelyn" and actively trying to improve her life. Like any teenager she occasionally falls into self-pity, but she keeps on trying to live her life. She's a little introverted, thinks too much and misses her former best-friend Leo who is currently off-island. Without being in the book, Leo's a constant presence because of Kaelyn's letter. You feel like you know him without ever meeting him.
The book moves at just the right pace--not so fast that it forgets to leave clues, but not so slow that you feel like it's dragging it's feet. Kaelyn wants to figure out what's causing the virus, why some people survive and wants to protect her family. Over the course of the novel she becomes a strong heroine, helping the community survive rather than curling up in a shell-shocked ball and avoiding the world. (Which is what most people would do).
Kaelyn wants to be a scientist so she's always observing what's going on around her. She's a teenager, but she's a smart teenager. Kaelyn doesn't hold back in the letters. They're her confessions and she records everything that she sees happening on the island.
"You know, for all the talk you hear about "Mother Nature" and the harmony of the natural world, the truth is, nature doesn't give a crap about anything or anyone.
Below is another quotation I love. To me, it just rings true. It's teenage angst but who hasn't felt like this? It's one of the reasons I find Kaelyn completely believable.
"If there is a God I would punch him in the face ten times harder than I ever kicked Quentin."
This book is a dystopian virus-sweeping-the-world done right. It keeps its scope small--focusing on the impact in one community following one girl's perspective. You see the government panic, the people panic and how when everyone starts dying the world just falls apart. But you also see the strength of the people who try to put it back together again. I kept expecting Kaelyn to give into the mope, and she did for about 2 pages before regaining her grip on reality. She's a heroine forced to become strong for those she loves. She doesn't want to save the world, she just wants to save the people she loves and protect the people around her.
The characters are what makes this novel work and stand out in the sea of fast-paced, unrealistic dystopians. The novel doesn't look down on teenagers, but allows them to be human, make mistakes and grow up over the course of the story.
I think the main reason I liked this story so much is that I found it believable. It didn't seem so far-fetched, Kaelyn felt like a real teenager and her motivations weren't grand, they were grounded. Somehow that's refreshing.
I was unsure whether to go ahead and post a review of this since it doesn't come out until January, but saw that everyone else seemed to, so here goes.
Again, people call this a dystopian book, but to me this isn't what I consider dystopian. It is science fiction to me. There is a disease that starts to take out a whole island population, I think in Canada. Of course the government decides on a quarantine to keep it contained. This virus starts by making you feel like you have the flu, then you become really friendly and gossipy and will say whatever is on your mind. The main character is Kaelyn, and she first is introduced to this virus when her friend's father who has been sick says some really kind of prejudiced things to her when she is at their house one day. The story is told through her letters that she is writing to a boy who used to be her best friend. She is writing him because she was not nice to him right before he left the island. So we get to see the whole thing through her eyes. We get to hear about the people of the island panicking when they feel that the government has left them to die. Her father is actually a doctor who deals with this type of issue and so he is at the hosptital constantly and Kaelyn and her mother and brother must make it without him. She also has an uncle and cousin on the island, who it ends up they must take care of them as well at a point. I like the science details, not too detailed for just anyone to read, like a teen, but enough that as someone who would have been really into the science at that age would be sucked in. Maybe it is the fact that I just saw the movie Contagion recently as well, but it was a good book, and I was hooked. Like another review on Goodreads said, it started a bit slow, but once the disease started taking over, I was at a point I didn't want to put it down. Can't wait to put it on my recommendation table at the bookstore where I work!
So there is a disease spreading in a geographically isolated community, an island. The setting is perfect for an apocalyptic event. Kind of like how an abandoned summer camp is perfect for a horror movie -- all alone, set away from society. Gradually the island is cut off from the rest of the world and as the title suggests, not so gradually society unravels. This had all the makings to be a great read. But something kept it from being great; it was, however, more than just an average read. The Way We Fall has an interesting story line and well written characters. These two things make the book somewhat worth it.
Okay, back to the story and back to the island. Society is coming apart, people are dying, but there are some people who step forward and want to help take care of others and there are some people who decide to take advantage of the unprotected. There is never any true starving in this story – definitely going without; but, because of the disease, there is sadness and death. The author weaves in issues of race and sexuality but she does this so covertly that it is not too preachy. Perfect for a young adult book. Just the facts and the readers can make up their own minds. I am guessing if a reader is not interested in these issues or perhaps, comes down on the other side of the political coin than me – that reader would still enjoy the story, that is how subtly it is written. One of the characters is gay and his parents are disappointed in him; when the boy’s sexuality is discovered there are consequences for the entire family. Several of the characters are mixed-race or a race that is not common to island; very subtly the issue of “difference” is addressed. I am mixed on whether this issue was a throw in to appeal to a broader audience and whether it was to subtly addressed. On one hand, subtle is better and the book is marketed to teenagers. On the other hand, it is so subtly done that readers who want to miss these issues, can miss them.
The story begins very slowly, so slowly that I initially put this book down and decided not to finish it. But eventually I wondered what happened with the characters and well, I felt guilty for not following through, so I returned. The first 80-90 pages (up through about the first 30%) are slow, not badly written just incredibly slow with no action. Crewe sets the atmosphere and introduces the readers to the characters. I strongly suggest that if you plan to read this book, you just accept that the beginning will be slow going. The lack of action is compounded by the method of storytelling. The main character is writing a letter to a friend, but the letter turns into a journal.
I love survivalist themed books and movies. I don’t care if the enemy is a virus, the weather, zombies, corporations, a government or another country – I love this sub-genre. And this book fits directly into what I love. So why could I not get into the first 80 pages of this book and why did I ultimately rate this book with just three stars? The beginning of the book has no action, nothing is happening and the journal format is a dry and removed way to experience the story. I kept thinking – haven’t I read this story before? Then I realized in a way I had read this story before when I read Life as We Knew It which is young adult apocalyptic themed book told by journal. Each book has very similar stuff. Teen-aged girl, has issues with both her parents, witnesses an event that leads to society’s breakdown, we are treated to the before the event and the slow unraveling of society. The young girl likes to go scavenging in empty and abandoned homes. She takes on the responsibility of helping and caring for people. Where the books differ, is the event and the perspective. The Way We Fall involves more characters outside of the main character’s home and so the reader is able to see more of what is happening in the community. So is it worth reading The Way We Fall if you have already read Life as We Knew It? I don’t know, if you are a fan of the genre than yeah and I do think Crewe wrote a better story than Pfeffer. The main character in the Way We Fall is much more likeable and less whiny. The plot is less depressing in the Way We Fall compared with Life as We Knew It.
The story ends with hope, but it is not resolved and there is room for a sequel. Will I read it? Probably, will I rush to buy the sequel the day or month of release? Probably not.
There are slight references to sex and sexual activity, but nothing explicit. There is some kissing scenes. I can see this book being appropriate for kids aged fourteen and older.
Well, that was a study in how not to end a novel. I feel shortchanged and frustrated - swapping one plotline for another without any resolution? Uuuugh. This was sadly a novel that didn't live up to its hype - it felt shallow, with fairly bland characters. I was mildly invested but there's a dearth of detail/background/solid footing that leaves this novel feeling wanting, especially science-wise. It also takes itself perhaps a tad too seriously. Anyway: now to wait for the inevitable and forthcoming sequel(s). Full review to follow but I'm sadly disappointed by this read.
Also: this is not really a dystopia. More like martial law after an emergency... like an epidemic of an unknown virus.
Věřte mi, že destinace, kde knihu čtete, hodně ovlivní váš názor. I když jste na pláži, kde šumí vlnky a svítí slunko, nepomáhá to. Ne u knihy, jako je tahle. Možná za to může fakt, že se děj odehrává na ostrově a část knihy je umístěna i do přístavu. Na ostrově vypukl virus, který se šíří a většinu lidí pomalu zabíjé. Hrozná smrt. Celá kniha je psaná ve formě dopisů kamarádovi hlavní hrdinky, která se pomalu ocitá v chaosu. O těhlech věcech s virusem jsem viděla pouze filmy. Teprve teď jsem měla možnost číst i knihu s touto tematikou. A bylo to přesně to pravé ořechové pro mé buňky. Knihu jsem měla přečtenou doopravdy rychle. Tu beznaděj jsem si užívala. Přesně to pravé pro mě.
Si te gusta la aventura y algo de romance este es tu libro. Es muy fácil de leer y bastante entretenido, quizás sería adecuado si quieres salir de un bloqueo lector.
Sin duda se lo recomendaría a cualquier tipo de lector ya que está narrado de forma que te atrapa en la historia haciéndote sentir parte de ella algo que muchos buscan en una historia. Es por eso que le doy unas 5 estrellas bien merecidas.
No es un libro complejo de entender al igual que los dos más que comprenden la trilogía, diría que está más bien orientado a un público joven/adulto.
Sixteen-year-old Kaelyn is living on a Canadian island when a viral epidemic occurs. People she’s known for her whole life start to get sick: 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.
Kaelyn has faith in the government, believes that they’ll do everything they can to discover a cure for the virus, but then the island is quarantined—no one is allowed leave or enter. The community begins to feel abandoned. They must do everything they can to protect themselves, because no one else is going to.
I enjoyed The Way We Fall, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted (and expected) to. It made me think about what I would do if an epidemic occurred in Britain. If a virus started spreading through England, Wales and Scotland, would they quarantine us and then leave to protect the rest of the world Would we have to fend for ourselves?
However, I did have two main issues with the book. The first issue, and this is by no fault of the author or the book, is that I constantly felt like I reading something I’d already read before. I’ve read a few similar novels recently like Life as We Knew It, Dark Inside, and Ashfall, and so the events that occurred did not elicit any emotion in me. I wasn’t shocked by the way people behaved. I also suppose I like post-apocalyptic-type novels to be quite dramatic (i.e. zombies!) whereas The Way We Fall is much more understated and realistic. This is something I probably would have enjoyed more if I read it a year ago.
The other, and most important, issue I had was with the narrative. The events are described to us through Kaelyn’s letters to her (ex-)best friend Leo. We know at the very start of the book that the two friends had an argument before Leo left the island to go to school. I felt that this was slightly forced and was only created as an excuse to have the narrative written the way it is. (However, this book is part of a series and it is hinted that Leo will have a role in the sequels.) The narrative didn’t really work for me because it meant that Kaelyn’s letters were brief, with only the bare minimum described. I thought that her voice came across as monotone and bland. I didn’t get to see real emotion, I think: the characters were odd in the sense that there’d be a death and everyone would just accept it and move on straight away. Because of this, I didn’t feel that the novel was as “poignant”, “powerful” or “gripping” as the book trailer and synopsis suggests. Nonetheless, this is just personal preference and I can see why others absolutely loved the novel and thought it was chilling and emotional.
This book was obtained as an e-Galley from Disney-Hyperion.
The Way We Fell is written in diary form from the perspective of a teenage girl called Kaelyn. Kaelyn lives on a remote island in Canada, she decides to write a journal for her childhood best friend and crush Leo, who she has not spoken to in 2 years. Leo has left the island to attend school in New York and Kaelyn plans to use the journal to straighten things out with him when he comes back from school. Kaelyn's entries start of that of a typical teenager, with her trying to make more an effort to fit in at school and make friends. She regrets losing her friendship with Leo and not making it up to him before he left for school, so she promises to try harder with people. When there is an outbreak of a deadly virus on the island, Kaelyn continues to write in her journal and records the hysteria that follows so when Leo comes back he will know what happened to Kaelyn, his family and his home. Kaelyn's account portray the bleakness and hopelessness of the situation very well; The Island is cut off from the mainland, supplies start running out, people start looting and hurting one another and the virus rampages through the island. The narrative style took a while to get used to but once the story got going it added to the isolated tense situation of the island. Kaelyn was hard to relate to especially at first when she makes assumptions about her fellow classmates and judges those around her. She is quiet and can be awkward around people and she doesn't help herself or her goal to be more friendly and outgoing, thankfully as the story progresses Kaelyn comes out of her shell and connects with the people around her. Because everything is told in Kaelyn's perspective and what she assumes/thinks, everything has to be taken with a grain of salt as Kaelyn is not always a trustworthy narrater. Kaelyn's relationship with her parents don't show her in a good light, she's childish, unreasonable and whiny around them but her relationship with her cousin and new friends Gav and Tessa bring out the best in Tessa. She is protective, kind and grateful for the new people in her life. Tessa is Leo's girlfriend and I was prepared to not like her for dating Kaelyn's crush but she was a brilliant character. She was a survivor and it was easy to see why Leo was with her, there were a few times when I wanted Tessa to be the narrater as I thought she was more interesting and relatable. Kaelyn's relationship with Gav was cute and they suited each other quite well. It'll definitely be interesting to see the dynamics between Kaelyn, Gav and Leo when Leo makes an appearance in the next book. Kaelyn, Tessa and Gav are now connected through their experience with the virus so it'll be good to see how Leo will fit in with all the changes that have happened.
This just didn't work for me for a few reasons. I was intrigued by the premise (island community is plagued by a mysterious deadly virus and quarantined) and so expecting a lot more action and suspense then there actually was. There were points when I was just totally bored. It seemed like the plot was very repetitive--it's basically Kaeyln going back and forth between the hospital, her home, and various projects that she creates/signs up for to try to help. I also didn't buy the epistolary format. The story is told through Kaelyn's letters to her estranged best friend, but the way they were written just seemed like a regular old novel from first-person point of view. I couldn't believe that it was truly her voice, which stopped me from connecting with her. In fact, I found her quite annoying, along with most of the other main teenage characters. They all seemed to have one defining, prodigious talent--Kaelyn with her knowledge of animal behavior, Tessa and her plants, Gav and his leadership, Warren and his organization/planning, Drew and his computer skills, Leo and his dancing. And then they were all just so noble, only wanting to help and protect each other. Really? You're not going to have even one iota of worry for your own safety, ever? I also got annoyed with Kaelyn's belief that she would be able to find a solution/cure by going through the medical records. Is she a prodigy at reading medical records, also? So much so that she would be able to determine a reason for the virus by looking at them when her father, a microbiologist couldn't?
Contributing to my boredom, I think, was the fact that I listened to the audiobook version. Kaelyn's letters were relatively short, and if I had read it myself I probably would have felt that it was paced much quicker (helped by the fact that I would skim through the boring parts). Listening to it, however, made me feel like she was just blathering on and on.
There also wasn't much by way of ending. There's a kind-of climax, but then everything pretty much peters out in preparation for the next novel. I knew this was part of a series, but I expected SOME resolution. I kind of want to know what happens, but not enough to slog through Kaeyln's boring nobility. Maybe I'll just read a summary instead.
Kaelyn and her family have recently moved back to “the island” where she grew up before moving to Toronto five years earlier. The story is told in first-person POV through Kaelyn’s eyes, in the form of journal entries to her friend Leo. The actual story behind Kaelyn and Leo’s relationship is revealed pretty gradually, most coming in the second half of the book.
The first 1/3 of the book moves quite slowly. Ms. Crewe works hard at building the character of Kaelyn and her attempts to re-integrate into her former friendships and explains her relationships with her parents, brother, uncle and niece. The disease also starts slowly, infecting a few people at a time and kept pretty much on the down-low by her father (who is also the chief doctor and an infectious diseases specialist at the island hospital). As the disease starts to spread, the government imposes quarantine and effectively leaves the island to its own devices.
After reading through this first part of the book, I was firmly sitting on four stars – initially Kaelyn’s voice was a little immature and idealistic for a 16 year old, and I anticipated that the rest of the story would continue in those dumbed-down teenage niceties and all the important, loveable characters surviving to fight another day.
And then I got to the 1/3 mark, and all of my opinions changed. Kaelyn developed into a more mature, emotional and involved character – and the story started to get gritty and dark. Without giving too much away (if I haven’t already, sorry!), there’s no happy ending to this story – characters that you fully expect to be alive and kickin’ well into the next book are suddenly no longer there (through a variety of causes), and Kaelyn is literally defending her life and the lives of those she loves. The origins and causes of the disease are further expanded upon and the story continues to get darker and darker, right up to the very last pages.
The writing IS simplistic, but it fits perfectly with the pace and tone of the story – over-describing details would have stopped the heart-attack-edge-of-your-seat-I-may-just-cry tension and made the story far less believable. Although I understand journal-style books can be off-putting to some readers, it does fit perfectly with the book.
In conclusion, I’ve struggled to rate this book. As I said earlier the first 1/3 was heading for a 4-star review, but the remaining 2/3 was solidly in 5-star territory and I’ll be looking forward to the next book in the series.
(Source: I own a copy of this book.) 16-year-old Kaelyn lives on an island off the shore of Canada. When a mysterious illness starts sweeping through the community, she assumes that her father who is a microbiologist will soon help the hospital staff to treat the virus; until people start dying from it. Suddenly the island is under quarantine, people are starting to act like vigilantes, and even more people are dying. What is this mysterious illness? Is there a cure? Can they find it in time? And how long will the quarantine last?
This was an interesting story, but I did find it a little odd in places.
Kae was an okay character, but at times I felt like she lacked emotion. Several things that happened in this book were bad, really bad, and yet I didn’t feel like she was upset enough. If my close family members died the way hers did, I would be a basket case, yet she just seemed to take it all in her stride. She did show a little emotion when she found out that one of her friends had died, but it didn’t last long.
The storyline in this was pretty good. I liked guessing who would get sick next, and watching out for little indicators as to who was about to go nuts. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the way the story was written – as Kae writing a letter/journal to her friend Leo who she hadn’t spoken to in 2 years, and I also thought that we weren’t really given much of an explanation as to why she hadn’t been speaking to him other than the fact that she was jealous! The pace in this was quite leisurely, and at times I felt like there should have been a bit more excitement. People were dropping dead left, right, and centre, and yet the story didn’t really scare me at all. Maybe if we’d had some zombies it would have been a bit more interesting.
The ending was okay, but it was a bit lack-lustre really. We didn’t get much of an explanation as to what had happened, where the virus had come from, or even how to treat it. I will read the sequel, because I’ve already got a copy, but I’m not really sure where the story is going to go from here. Overall; an okay story about a new and deadly virus, but lacking emotion and explanation. 6.75 out of 10.
“Most people think the scariest thing is knowing that you’re going to die. It’s not. It’s knowing you might have to watch every single person you’ve ever loved – or even liked – waste away while you just stand there.”
Which is worse: something deadly you can see, or an invisible killer. If you chose the latter, then get ready for one scary ride.
The Way We Fall is by no means a scary book. It's not one of those books where you sleep with the lights on, checking to make sure you have a weapon by your bedside table. It's scary in the sense that something like a deadly epidemic could happen. And as we know throughout history, it had. The Black Plague, the Spanish Influenza, and many others that have killed hundreds of thousands of people. And it could happen soon. That alone is what makes this book scary.
“Our virus is a lot smarter than the ones you see in zombie movies. It doesn't make its victims stagger around slobbering and moaning so anyone in their right minds would run the other way. It gets you cozying up to people so you cough and sneeze it right into their faces. We just need the vaccine. Then we'll be okay.”
I am a huge fan of anything apocalyptic. Virus outbreak, nuclear holocaust, natural disasters that cause massive damage. Those are my type of books.
Through out reading this, I was legit worried for Kaelyn and the other people. This book is no walk in the park. People die. Young and old. And it's not pretty.
“This is what we do. We make tea and read books and watch people die.”
One thing I liked was how it all took place on an island. Just imagine an island of people cut off from the outside world. People trying to survive on the limited resources. Chaos is bound to happen.
“You learn a lot when you know no one else is going to do things for you.”
The Way We Fall shows first hand of humanity slowly slipping away. It was scary but so damn good. I would definitely recommend this one!