Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

Book:  The Way We Fall
Author:  Megan Crewe
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Date:  January 24, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A

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.

My Review
This may be one of the scariest books I’ve ever read.  Not scary in the Stephen King horror sort of way.  Or a Freddy’s coming to get you sort of way.  No, it’s scary in the “Oh my goodness, this could really happen in the world!” sort of way.  

This book is about a mutated virus that starts infecting people on an island.  As more people become infected, they start overwhelming the local hospital and then people start dying.  The government decides to quarantine the island to stop the spreading of the virus.  Then soldiers contract the virus and die.  Suddenly, the people sent in by the government abandon the island. 

After this, anarchy breaks out on the island.  Gangs are killing infected people and stealing food and supplies.  It becomes very much like Lord of the Flies.  But amidst all the chaos, there are also people doing good things and trying to make the situation better.  And somehow, in the middle of this horrible situation, the author manages to also find a wonderfully human story about a girl and her family, a girl and a former enemy turned friend and a girl and a boy.  And amazingly, the whole thing is very believable.

What made this book so compelling is the fact that I could see this very situation playing out in real life.  With threats of avian flu and the scares with SARS and Swine Flu, I think this plot is quite plausible.  And knowing human nature, many of the things that happen in this book, both good and bad, would probably happen in the real life.  After all, we’ve witnessed some of these very things when natural disasters strike, like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

I loved the characters in this book.  I became so close to them as I read it.  I could feel myself worrying about them and stressing over who might become infected.  I had a really hard time putting this book down.  Kaelyn and Gav were both fabulous characters, showing how humans can rise above the situation to become everyday heroes.  I loved Meredith, the little girl and her situation just ripped at my heart.  I also found myself growing to love Tessa as Kaelyn learned to love and appreciate her.  Of course, there were also people who showed how low humans can sink in a crisis situation and it was difficult to read about that, especially since it seemed so real.

I liked the way the book was written.  Kaelyn had a falling out with a friend who is no longer on the island and she started a journal addressed to him before the epidemic began and then she simply keeps writing to him.  It makes for an interesting narrative.

This is an incredible book.  I think this is the type of YA book that we should be bringing into our classrooms.  It is a book that makes one really stop and think about how we cope with crisis situations and it is a book that examines the best and the worst of the human spirit.

My grade for this book is an A.  It was a compelling read, but it was not necessarily an easy read.  This is definitely a book for people who want to read something that will make them think.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.  I did not receive any sort of compensation for this review.

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