What would you do differently if the world was about to end?
Alexandra Coutts' debut novel TUMBLE & FALL follows the lives of three teens named Sienna, Zan, and Caden in the week leading up to an imminent asteroid strike. It has been predicted that no one will survive. The government has sent missiles into space to break up the asteroid, but it may or may not help. All anyone can do is wait and see. All they can do is live.
Sienna has just gotten out of a wellness center after trying to kill herself in order to spend her final days with her family. Everything has changed, though. Her dad is about to get remarried and he wants Sienna to be happy about it. When Sienna reconnects with a childhood friend, Owen, she finds her distraction...and love.
Zan is still suffering almost a year after the car accident that took her boyfriend Leo's life. When his sister gives her a book that had been in the car that day, she finds a receipt that changes everything. Was everything she knew about Leo false? Desperate to piece together his final actions, she goes on a car trip to discover the truth with Leo's best friend Nick...and discovers more than she ever anticipated.
Caden is living day to day. He loves his sister, but wishes his mother wasn't always off in a drunken stupor. When strange men kidnap him, his world is shaken up...especially when he finds out that they're his father's men. The father he hasn't seen since he was a small child is now feeling paternalistic and trying to make amends. But is that all he wants? And can Caden leave his sister and mother during their final moments?
TUMBLE & FALL is about the end, but it's also about beginnings. When all you can do is live, you find yourself in all sorts of new scenarios. What would you do if you knew you likely had one more week to live? One more day? What becomes important? Family, friendship, love. Human interactions are what connect us, and they're what unite characters together in this interconnecting story of uncertainty.
I loved some characters more than others. The chapters go in threes: First Sienna, than Zan, then Caden. Repeat. They're each living their own lives; this isn't the same story from three POVs. Sometimes, I would come to the end of a chapter and want to continue with that character, but it was always easy to keep the characters and situations separate from one another because their stories are all so unique. The novel is full-on contemporary. I dragged my feet on reading it at first because I was expecting it to be sci-fi and End of Days and dark and raw like so much of the books and movies out there about the world's end, and I hadn't been in the mood to read that sort of thing. But it isn't. At all. It's contemporary. It's about life, about living, about surviving one day at a time. It's not about getting hysterical, but about making your last days count. The focus isn't on the disaster itself, so TUMBLE AND FALL will have more mass appeal than it may initially seem to. Everyone will be able to identify with these characters, and they'll likely think upon what's most important to them.
One more note? At the beginning of the book, Coutts includes song lyrics:
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, No I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
This certainly gives a new twist to Ben E. King's classic song "Stand By Me." It also brings new light to the book's title, TUMBLE AND FALL! I'll definitely never hear it in quite the same way again. Will you?
Needless to say, the song was stuck in my head on repeat as I read this book. Thanks for that....and you're welcome if you have this in your head now for the rest of the day! ^.~