Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Way We Fall: A Chilling Speculative Read

When a deadly virus strikes sixteen-year-old Kaelyn's small island community, the government quarantines the island and posts military to make sure that nobody can get in or out. As the doctors race to find a cure, those who are left fight for dwindling supplies. Kaelyn clings to the belief that there is a way to save her friends and family, but how far will she go to save them, and what will she do if she can't?

This book completely creeped me out, but in a good way because it felt so real and so possible.. From SARS to H1N1, there have been no shortage of epidemic scares, but I think what particularly amplifies the terror of this one is that it takes place on an island.

Imagine living in a place where the only way you got supplies was by shipping them in from the mainland. Now imagine what happens when those supplies stop coming. When the people around you are sick and dying. When stores don't open, when schools are closed, and people point guns at you if you cough or sneeze in front of them. This is the world that Megan Crewe creates in the first book of her new series.

Written in letter/journal format, Kaelyn does her best to accurately record everything that happens so that Leo (the boy who was her best friend until their falling out a year ago) will know the truth in case nobody on the island makes it. As the disease claims more and more people, Kaelyn's fear is palpable. Her father, a scientist is working around the clock to try and figure out a way to treat the disease, but they are working against a clock that is rapidly running out. Kaelyn's entries also reveal the absolute terror of isolation as weather knocks out most of their communications systems, and completely cuts them off from the mainland.

Also chilling are the episodes of cruelty and anarchy that occur when the community is at its most vulnerable. Not only do some people start breaking into stores and stealing, but they also start burning homes and killing people who seem to be infected with the virus. It's horrible to imagine, but not unlikely that this would and could happen.

What I liked most about the book is how the author manages to make it an extremely human story. In the midst of everything that's happening, Kaelyn finds a friend in the girl who she thought was her rival and romance with a boy she thought was an enemy. When I read this on the jacket copy I rolled my eyes thinking it would be really corny, but it wasn't. I think circumstances have a way of drawing people together who in any other time might not have connected, and Kaelyn is totally aware of this. Would either of these relationships have happened if not for the virus? Probably not, but does it really matter? No.

My only criticism of the book is that it left me with some nagging questions. Who was patient zero? How did it get to the island, and how did it spread? Most likely it is airborn, but that's really just a guess. Hopefully they will be better answered in book 2.

Overall, I thought that this was a fantastic and thrilling read, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for something thrilling yet not dystopian or post-apocalyptic.