September 12, 2013

Tumble & Fall - Alexandra Coutts

Tumble & Fall - Alexandra Coutts
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
Publisher: Farrar, Strous & Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks Ksenia!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

I really liked Tumble & Fall, which is possible because I went into it knowing nothing much about it and having no expectations. Honestly, I thought it was sci-fi/post-apocalyptic and so, it was quite the revelation to discover is was purely contemporary. This, however, is one of its strong points, so I can't really complain about it. Weaving together three very different but slightly intersecting stories, Coutts has managed to craft a novel that's lovely, thoughtful and simply told.

The novel really explores the concept of what people would do if the end of the world was definitely coming. How would one act? Or think about things? What would one say and who would one say it to? Who would they want to spend their last few, precious moments on earth with? These are questions that have vaguely crossed my mind every now and then, but it lingered as I finished Tumble & Fall.

Coutts answered this question in three different ways, by using three characters - Sienna, Caden & Zan - as her vehicles. Each characters has their own set of experiences, their own feelings and values and personalities, and this affected their choices as they discovered the end was near. It was really very good of the author to tackle different dynamics - friendships, families, romance. Sienna's story was heavily focused on family and romance, and how she had to choose between what she wanted and what she felt was right. Caden's story, on the other hand, heavily focused on family, particularly the family you grow up with and the family that you're related to by blood but do not know. Zan, on the other hand, had to deal with her epic romance and the aftereffects of losing her boyfriend. Each teen also has a personal issue - Sienna's "condition", Zan's grief, and Caden's father issues.

While each story is certainly different from the others, they're sort of connected as well, in the way that people are connected in their day to day lives as passers by. I liked the subtlety of the connections, as it really felt realistic to me. My life is touched by bunches of people each day and this story showcases that beautifully.

I'm also a fan of the ambivalence of the ending. The author could have gone a different way entirely with a cheesy sort of ending or a harsh one, but the ambivalence felt perfect. I adored the fact that I could guess at what happened to the characters (or at least what I wanted). It was a smart decision to do this.

Tumble & Fall was very different from anything I've read lately, but in a good way. I enjoyed seeing how Coutts told this story, how she handled her multiple perspectives and how it all came to a head. While this book might not work for everyone, it certainly worked for me.


  1. I love reading a review of this book that differs so much from my own opinions. Honestly, I hated this book, and DNFed somewhere around the 200 page mark. But I love hearing you explain why you DID like it. Lovely, thoughtful review, Alexa :)

  2. Unfortunately, this one was a complete miss for me. I didn't like the way it was written and the characters and their stories, esp Caden, really didn't do anything for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. Great review!

    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  3. It's refreshing to see a positive review of this book, I have been seeing a lot of negative ones that have been bringing me down. A unique story is exactly what I need!

  4. Ok, so this book's premise is SO interesting. However, I honestly cannot read this book. It will cause me such a massive anxiety attack thinking about the end of the world likes this. Honestly. I'm crazy. A scenario like this would induce panic. It freaks me out because a natural disaster or asteroid could so totally happen that reading about people's choices because the world is legit ending would freak me out...Welp, and now I sound insance. Great review, a part of me wants to read it but can't for my mental well-being haha

  5. I was one of those who was less enthusiastic about this book-I wished the three stories had had more of a connection to explain why these were the three told.

  6. I adore the cover and the concept, but I've been nervous because I've seen so many bad reviews of it. However, I'm really happy to hear what you liked about it! It gave me a good idea of what to expect if I decide to read this one. While it may not be a new favorite, I think I'd keep my eye out for it at the library!


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