Title and author: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Date: January 24, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Crewe takes readers on a rollercoaster ride that feels so real that the reader might need to hold on to his/her stomach as it takes a sudden leap into the air and holds for roughly two hundred pages. The strength in this novel comes from the plot – this is not a character-driven novel. It is a virus-driven novel. It will be the virus that keeps readers glued to their seats, flipping page after page waiting to see if they themselves suffer from similar symptoms. (Not that I did this at all while reading.)
Readers are given the story from Kaleyn’s point-of-view, a high school junior whose father could be the key to saving everyone on the island. Through the pages, readers will discover just how much this virus is costing not only the islanders but also Kaleyn herself. Sacrifices must be made – but who will be willing to make them?
Crewe weaves a tale of how quickly a society can breakdown in times of distress, especially in the case of illness. She brings out the best in characters as well as the worst. The worst will leave an impression on the readers long after the pages are through, making readers question, “What would happen in our own society and how could we survive such a tragedy?”
Crewe spends those first hundred pages preparing readers for what is to come. This is not a story that can be hastily started – it needs to build, just as the virus builds and destroys the island. In this, the author is masterful. In this, the author might be in danger of losing her target audience.
In my twelve years in the classroom with high school juniors, one thing is certain about their reading: grab them fast or you will lose them. Since the author needs to build the suspense in readers, I feel that this is more of an adult read than a teen read.
I am not saying teens will not enjoy this novel – I think they will absolutely love it - but because the plot needs time to build, teens might be hesitant to wait. But then again, I could be wrong. These teens might devour every single page without blinking a single time.
Either way, I enjoyed Crewe's novel and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA dystopia.