Title: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Genre: YA contemporary fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: E-galley from Netgalley
First line: Leo, It’s about six hours since you left the island.
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 strange virus starts infecting people in her community, sixteen-year-old Kaelyn finds herself facing a situation most adults would find harrowing. Her island is quarantined, leaving the people stranded with dwindling supplies, little or no communication, and no hope of a cure. Kaelyn’s father is a doctor at the hospital, and as he spends all his time caring for patients and searching for a cure, Kaelyn is left at home to care for her sick mother. As her community falls apart, people begin to experience fear and paranoia. Some people will surprise her by becoming their best selves, while others will descend into brutality. Kaelyn writes her experiences down in an ongoing letter to her best friend, Theo, who recently left the island.
The Way We Fall is compelling YA fiction. I was reading it during a time when I had very little time to read, and it was so hard not to just sit down and read until I finished it and discovered how things turned out for Kaelyn, Gav, Tess, and Meredith.
Crewe increases the sense of menace and impending doom by placing Kaelyn in an island community that is virtually cut off from the rest of the world. As some of the townspeople go “Lord of the Flies,” others find the best of their nature. Kaelyn becomes friends with Tessa, a girl who she had previously been jealous of. She finds it in herself to be a mother-slash-sister figure to young Meredith. And when she finds herself in the midst of a romance, she wonders how to go about the normal rituals and stages of teenage life when nothing about life is normal anymore.
The outbreak and its aftermath are believable and realistic, which was one of the scariest things about this book. Kaelyn’s response was an authentic one. Strength, weakness, hope, defeat – Kaelyn’s experiences make for a page-turner of a book.