Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

August 31, 2013

Title: Tumble & Fall
Author: Alexandra Coutts
Publication date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: YA
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Rating:
A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings

The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.

Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world.
Let me get this out of the way first, before going into the review part.

THE COVER THE COVER THE COVER!!! Would you just look at that gorgeous thing?! It honestly just makes me want to fall headlong into the book... tumble and fall, right into it ;) I love the little sparkly things and her dress is so freaking fantastic, all lace and cut outs and all! Sigh. I want it!

Okay, now that that's out of the way...

Tumble and Fall tells the story of three teenagers - Sienna, Zan, and Caleb. Sienna has just returned home from rehab (why exactly was she there isn't very clear), and her father brings them to their summer home at the island, where he's going to get married at the end of the week (also the end of the world). Caleb's home life is not so great, with a perpetually drunk mother and an absentee father, but things take an interesting turn when on a walk on the beach, he's kidnapped. Zan (Suzanne) still grieves for her dead boyfriend, Leo, and has remained faithful to him till today, but suddenly, her trust in him is out to the test when she finds out a secret he kept from her.

The three POVs in the book are all well written, each distinct from the others. It was interesting to see the three characters react differently to the situation, but at the end of the day, they all have the same priority: family. But the three stories did not intersect at all except at the very end, so it was a bit of a task to follow three different storylines, especially when I was more invested in one that the others. Also, it took me sometime to get a hold on the characters and stories, since we jump right into the thick of things from the start, and the back stories are revealed gradually.

Zan's story was the one I liked best, and a huge reason why this book has got 3 stars. She felt so much more real than the other two characters and easier to get. Her story had a very contemporary YA romance feel to it. Nick is my favourite character from Tumble & Fall, despite him being a supporting character. He's a lot more mature than all the other characters in the book, and the relationship between Zan and Nick is written so beautifully. And usually, I never truly believe that two people can go back to how they were after an apology, but Coutts made me believe it between Zan and Nick.

Caden's story was seriously my least favourite, and so bizarre, and also a reason why Tumble & Fall was a three stars book for me. The kidnapping angle was so weird, because, c'mon, what father would kidnap his own kid?! And the little romance introduced into his story seemed completely unnecessary and inappropriate considering who the love interest was, and the short amount of time they'd known each other, among other things. But Caleb's story redeems itself in the last third, after he gets away from his father and returns to the island. His changed outlook, and new grown responsibility and gentleness shows him in a new light that made me like him more in those last few chapters than in the entire book.

The premise of Tumble & Fall, and how Coutts writes it is what I found really interesting. Thanks to Hollywood (The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon), when we think of a doomsday scenario, all we think of is chaos and panic. Coutts handles it in an entirely different way in Tumble & Fall. After doing all that they can do, the people of Earth has accepted that this is the end. There's no panic, but instead they all gather together, and wait for the end to come. That was what I found interesting. The suggestion that man has learnt to accept his fate and face it bravely, instead of looking for futile solutions. And that in the time left, he pursues happiness.

On the flipside, it would make no difference if the entire doomsday thing were not there. Why am I saying this? Well, if it weren't there, the book would still be pretty much the same. So it doesn't really add much to the plot. It does contribute to an ending that is on a whole different level from the rest of the story, though.

Bottomline: Tumble & Fall is a work of fiction that shows man in a whole new light in the face of destruction. I wont say it's a must read, but it's certainly interesting, and a few characters have a way of creeping into your heart and settling.

Realm of Fiction: There is a slight atmospheric touch to the writing at the end, making it a fraction more stirring than rest of book. It isn’t quite enough to be redeeming though, unfortunately.

Lovin' los libros: I didn't hate this book - on the contrary, I really like that it made me think about these characters and their journeys for forgiveness, peace, and acceptance.

Danielle from What Danielle Did Next: The Beatles sang "I want to hold your hand" - A simple, pure, elegant statement - this book is its literary equivalent.

1 comment :

  1. Hey! Good review- thanks for sharing! :)

    Guess what? I've nominated your blog for the Liebster Award!! :D See my post here (http://desertrosereviews.blogspot.com/2013/09/liebster-award.html) to find out more about it, and get your set of questions! Hope you accept it! :) Have a good day!

    ~Rose
    @Desert Rose Reviews

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