Released: January 24, 2012
Hardcover: 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult... dystopian?
Series: Fallen World
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?
I'm going about writing my review a bit differently this time around because I feel this book needs a few different ratings... Here we go!
1) Readability: 5/5
The formatting of the book is somewhat unique in the sense that it is written as a journal. I haven't encountered many books written this way, so I thought it was somewhat refreshing that Crewe decided to go in this direction. The journal format truly made the virus plaguing this island more unique and haunting when we get to the end of the quarantine section of the story (the book is divided into three sections: symptoms, quarantine, and mortality). Creepy when you see some of the things written.
If you can suspend enough belief, it's almost possible to view THE WAY WE FALL as a true story, and we're reading a young woman's experience. I didn't quite feel that way, but I'm sure some people will.
The only thing that I did not enjoy about the journal format was the fact that, well, it's written (literally) in Kaelyn's POV, and so we miss out on some details because it's not like an actual first person POV story. But eh, it's not that huge a deal for me.
They weren't bad, but they also weren't good, either. I wanted more character development because these characters, who could have left such a huge impression, fell flat for me. Gav was too heroic, Tessa was a phantom, Meredith was... well, frankly, I don't know what she was, but it was clear she was dumped onto Tessa because Kaelyn and her dad were too busy to take care of their cousin/niece.
The weirdest part about this story--and maybe I could chalk it up to the author's attempt at establishing some sort of positive teenage image--was the fact that the teenagers seemed way smarter and more resourceful than the adults. I could buy this if we were in some sort of dystopian society where kids had to grow up and sacrifice their childhood, but Kaelyn and the others didn't. They were normal teens with lofty aspirations. Hell, Kaelyn has a microbiologist for a father. Where are all the competent adults in this story who should lay down the law and beat the kids who are toting guns around? Why are the teens suddenly more proficient and responsible than all the adult figures when shit hits the fan?
It was an interesting approach to take, and I enjoyed the fact that Crewe did not hesitate to kill people. This wasn't some happy little love story, and there was some tragedy. The deaths that affected Kaelyn did get a bit excessive, and I felt like it was kind of a cop-out to kill all those adult figures off by the end of the book... probably to make the second book easier to write. But what do I know?
Two words: OMGWTFBBQ CLIFFHANGER.
I'm pissed that we get the typical BS-drag-the-story-out-into-a-series....series. I think THE WAY WE FALL would have been incredibly stronger as a stand-alone, and not because I hate cliffhangers. Because seriously? Sometimes I love them and I think they're done exceptionally well and totally reel me in to crave the next book in the series. Oftentimes, however, they piss me off because it's an obvious attempt by either the author or publisher to get readers to buy the next book in the series.
And this, seriously, felt like one of those attempts. Of course I want to read the next book, but a part of me doesn't because I don't want this series to have all that filler usually thrown into a YA series to make it longer. I enjoyed the book, I read it fast, and I was spooked enough, but I could tell by a certain point that things started to drag on. And then I can't help but think about books like BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver where the narrative was precise and that less is so much more.
I liked Gav well enough, but I wish he played more of a role earlier on. The romance felt kind of forced. I'm rooting for the two, but I wish the couple was developed way more than they were.
I thought the quarantine section was the strongest of the story. Mortality (part 3) felt like it contained the most filler, and symptoms (part 1) had a few boring parts as well--primarily the attempt at Crewe's part to establish some sort of normalcy. I wish Gav played a role in this part so his character could have developed further. As it is, he seemed like way too much of a hero, and came off as 2D because of it.
Suggested reading? Only if you have night-goggles (read more about this phenomenon here) like I do. But seriously, if you can overlook my complaints, I think you'll love this book. Crewe definitely knows how to pull you in and keep you reading. If you, however, are highly critical of YAs, then I would say borrow a copy somehow, otherwise your head may implode.
1. The Way We Fall
2. The Lives We Lost