The Way We Fall Featured
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?
The Way We Fall (A Room with Books review)
I'm almost glad I hadn't heard that much about The Way We Fall because it made for a really nice surprise.
First off I want to talk about the format. Sometimes journal entries can bring a book down and make it feel a little too young or silly, but that's certainly not the case here. The journal style made me feel more connected to Kaelyn and I liked the way I made everything feel more personal. I don't think I would've gotten as attached to the characters if it was third person POV. Kaelyn's entries were so vulnerable, I couldn't help feeling for her. She writes about the kind of things people don't want to admit: she thinks she's the reason for people around her getting sick, she wonders what the point of it all is, she's mad at ___ for dying, etc.
You know how sometimes romances that bloom in the middle of a disaster can be a little hard to swallow? Well, that wasn't the case with The Way We Fall. For one, the romance wasn't even hinted at until page 127 (unless I'm just really oblivious.) I love the fact that we got some time to just be with Kaelyn and her thoughts before love started to sprout. I hate when the love interest is immediately introduced so all we get to see is the version of the main character who likes This Guy. It's not my favorite romance ever, but I thought it was sweet and intense at the same time which, in my opinion, works pretty well in a disaster situation. I mean, how can you not fear for someone when everyone around you is dying.
The island setting made it much more interesting than it otherwise would have been. It gave the story a little mystery because they were completely cut off from the mainland. Nobody knew what was going on on the outside. So while Kaelyn (and I) was worried about everything happening on the island, there was a little part of her that wondered what could be going on in the rest of the world.
The Nutshell: If you love a good disaster scenario then The Way We Fall is a good choice. The journal-style format makes it easier to connect with the characters and really get immersed in the story, the romance isn't the main focus, and Crewe isn't afraid to kill of characters.
Suspenseful and Mysterious
The first novel in the Fallen World trilogy is an excellent beginning to the story of a truly frightening possibility faced by our world today. When a small island is infected with a mysterious illness, one of the residents, Kaelyn, begins to fear for the safety of those she loves. Megan Crewe has created a scenario that is scary because it is a completely plausible threat. It is one thing to read about aliens attacking Earth, but quite another to read about a killer virus that could just be a mutant strain of something out in the world right this moment.
Megan has written a fantastic story. It is told through a series of journal entries to Kaelyn's friend, Leo, who has moved off the island. The journal entry format was used well to express the deep fears of Kaelyn, which are likely reflected in all of the residents. It also serves to make the story much more personal. With viruses it is so easy for the story to become about symptoms and statistics, but this format makes it about the people stuck in this situation and their families. It really helped me to connect with Kaelyn, as well, because it felt so honest.
I thought the characters overall were well fleshed out and mostly likeable. Even the characters that didn't play as big a role, like Kaelyn's dad, were very realistic. His concern and his frustration felt genuine. Megan does really well at using the little things to make her characters come alive. There was a little romance included as well, which added a great element but didn't interfere with the real purpose of the story. I also loved the mystery that surrounded some of the characters, like Kaelyn's brother, Drew. There were many different aspects to the story which were meshed together extremely well.
The way the illness was written was gripping and mysterious. I loved how little things were revealed bit by bit. I had so many questions about what was going on and they were answered one by one, keeping me constantly intrigued and in suspense. It was very well thought out! The reaction to the illness was also interesting - not only that of the islanders but also of the people on the mainland and the government. Conflicting views, misunderstandings, knee-jerk reactions... there was so much realism to the scenario which only accentuated how entirely possible this whole idea is.
In all, this was a really great novel. Well written, suspenseful, and mysterious. There was great atmosphere and tension, and the feeling of alienation that takes over was great. In the end, I was left with many unanswered questions that I can't wait to see solved in the sequel, The Lives We Lost.
The end of the world, in journal form.
First off a praise. Megan Crewe has created a virus that is unlike any I have ever read about before, and therefore a hundred times more terrifying. Thinking back, every virus I've ever read about has done ungodly things to people. Skin falling off, limbs atrophying, things that make people run away from you. Crewe's disease? It causes people to be...friendly, albeit overly so. I thought this was brilliant. What better way to spread a virus than through friendly human contact? For that matter, what scarier way?
Also brilliant in the Way We Fall is the way that the story is told, or so I thought. We see the outbreak through the eyes of Kaelyn, a young girl who lives on the island. However instead of her speaking to us as a reader, she is writing a journal to her friend who left the island to go to school. For me, this was a perfect way to see into the world that Kaelyn was living in. All her fears, all her worries, are penned into that journal beautifully. After all, who better to share the deepest parts of yourself with than a friend?
This book dives into the darkest part of human kind, and what happens when we have to fight to survive. Kaelyn learns early on that there are two types of people when the world fires back at you. There are those who band together, and those who take for themselves. Those who create, and those who destroy. Crewe offers us a look at what happens to a community when disaster hits and, while beautifully executed in the story line, it definitely isn't always an easy read.
Although The Way We Fall didn't grab my attention at page one, it was one of those books that was a slow burn for me. By the time that I was a few chapters in, I was scrambling to read more. What Megan Crewe has created here is a new type of dystopian terror. Isolation, greed, survival. It is all played out here in gritty harmony, and it makes The Way We Fall an overall fantastic read. In the world of dystopian fiction, this is something new. I honestly have to say that I loved it.
Different type of journal writing...
The Way We Fall is written in the eyes of a young girl called Kaelyn. She starts her journal just before the outbreak of a deadly virus, and continues it throughout the epidemic. She writes her journal to her ex-friend Leo, who she had a fight with a few years back. She writes this to prepares herself for when Leo comes back, to make up for she had said and done, or for him to find her journal and read about the hell she went through if she did not survive.
I think I like how Kaelyn wrote her journal. It was written in a simple way, and it was not for herself, but for her friend she lost a few years back.
Kaelyn was a great character, and maybe at first you thought she was annoying, you came to understand her from the inside out, and realize how amazing she is. She wrote in her journal how she was not smart or pretty, but just an average person, and she kept comparing herself to other people, like Shauna. By the end of the book though, I thought she was all those things, as it did not matter anymore, as all those people who were, are dead and gone. She is a strong character, that does not rely on anyone to do all the work. She took it upon herself to organize the reports, and compare results.
I like how the author did not make the virus as anything that dramatic in the cause of what happened to the victims. It was a simple cold that ended up so powerful that it killed the person who had it. There was no pus, or blood, but it was similar to your average cold.
I also love how the author, as far as the reader knows, was that the epidemic was limited to the island. It did not destroy the world as we know it, but was only upon the island, cutting off the inhabitants from the rest of the world.
I reckon this book was pretty good, in the sense that it was not over dramatic, with the whole of mankind dying, and the survivors fighting it out. I reckon this book is worth a try for those who love dystopian literature.
In a lot of ways this book reminded me of Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, which I hated. Thankfully, I did not hate this one. The similarities are in the narrator and the scope of the story. Kaelyn and Miranda, at least at the outset are pretty similar characters, although Miranda is much more social. Both are whiny and a bit selfish at the beginning though.
Both stories are also written in a diary format, although Miranda writes hers to herself and Kaelyn writes to her friend Leo, in preparation for making up with him when he comes home or, once things start going to hell, for him to find once she's dead. Their tales focus on the way their lives are affected and have no real view to the world at large.
However, the big difference here is that The Way We Fall is, in my opinion, much better written, although employing a similar simple style. Kaelyn is not an outstanding girl; she's not extraordinarily smart or beautiful, and she's socially awkward. At the beginning, I found Kaelyn pretty annoying, although I did think it was really cool that Kaelyn wants to study animals. She was awesome in her passion, if nothing else. As the book went along, though, she really develops into a much stronger character.
So far as the reader knows, this disease outbreak is primarily limited to the island, meaning that the scale is much reduced from that of most dystopias. However, not too far into the outbreak, the government stops helping like they should be. Left to their own devices, people seem to do one of three things: try to save everyone, hide from everyone and everything, or descend into anarchy and violence. Mankind is, as is often the case in dystopian literature, as, or perhaps more, terrifying than the disease.
The Way We Fall also had a couple of awesome quotes, which I would like to include, although the reader should keep in mind that they could have been changed before publication (although I hope not).
In reference to the disease which is starting to become a problem: "It's like we're trying to fill up every second of silence with meaningless talk so we don't have to say anything real or scary."
This is why I come to like Kaelyn: "If I need to be saved, I'll do it myself. I think I can handle that."
Crewe should also be given credit for resisting the urge to make the disease turn people into zombies, which has already been done quite a bit. I think what she did is so much cooler.