Book Reviews

[review] The Way We Fall – Megan Crewe

way we
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC received from Hachette Book Group Canada

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.

Discovery: I hadn’t heard too much about this book before October last year, but I loved the premise and was looking forward to the Canadian setting.

+    Science (!) A confession: between the ages of seven and 14, I was obsessed with diseases. You name it, I read about it: ebola, AIDS, scarlet fever, smallpox, sleeping sickness, the list goes on. So imagine how thrilled I was to have a YA novel that dealt with the fallout of an epidemic. Megan Crewe doesn’t overwhelm the reader with scientific jargon, but that almost makes it worse. No one knows what’s really going on, and human nature doesn’t do well when it’s kept in the dark. While I thought it was a little contrived that Kaelyn’s father was a doctor and a scientist, I was glad to have a front-row seat to the work he was doing and the effects on his family. As terrifying as diseases are by themselves, what they do to society is just as scary.

+     Structure. I unabashedly love epistolary (read: written as letters) stories. There’s not a lot you can hide in a letter, and Kaelyn’s own mental and emotional state are out for display in each one that she writes to her best friend Leo. It was easy to trust Kaelyn, to understand everything she’s going through, and even the fears she won’t name. I also like that her letters represented hope: she’s writing to someone, unconsciously willing him to know about her life. The letters help her keep her sanity and fight for survival. This kind of organic unity (hello, creative writing terms) makes the story even better.

Bonus points:

  • O Canada! I’ve never been anywhere except Toronto and Ottawa, so reading about the maritimes was lovely.
  • Mysterious boys! Who says nice guys finish last? I’m sold on the specimens we have in this novel.

The final say: Granted, you won’t be able to look at chatty people the same way again, but The Way We Fall is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated with epidemics and the myriad ways they change our lives.

Rating: Excellent.

Be sure to visit Megan Crewe at her website and follow her on Twitter @megancrewe.

You can check out The Way We Fall on Goodreads and order it over on The Book Depository.

Are you in Toronto? Come to the official The Way We Fall book launch on February 4! Bakka-Phoenix Bookstore will be hosting Megan from 3-5 p.m., and there’ll be fun swag to pick up too. RSVP on the Facebook event page.

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19 replies »

  1. HAHA! I started cracking up!

    “You name it, I read about it: ebola, AIDS, scarlet fever, smallpox, sleeping sickness, the list goes on.”

    *rolls on floor* Oh this review . . this review made my day 🙂 Definitely getting The Way We Fall this weekend 😀

  2. I like that it’s a Canadian setting to. That alone just makes me want to read it. I am also liking the whole taken away from society and fight for your life.

  3. You know, I had what everyone around me called a ‘virus-crush’ when I was in high school. I was the same way…would read everything and anything I could about the world’s most terrifying viruses. (speaking of, have you read Hot Zone? You should if you haven’t…) I love that The Way We Fall deals with them, because truthfully, I don’t know if I’ve outgrown my crush…

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