{Review} TUMBLE & FALL by Alexandra Coutts

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

   It’s funny to think about endings now. Now that all there is to do is wait. Now that the real end is coming, all of the other endings feel like something else completely. All of the goodbyes, and leaving the people she loved. The people she loved leaving her. They felt like endings at the time. But the next day, she had gotten out of bed, and maybe there was a hollow pit where her stomach used to be, maybe she didn't feel like eating or talking or seeing people for a while, but mostly, things stayed the same.
   Sienna’s last day at the House is like that. From the second Valerie knocks on the door, business as usual and passing out morning meds, Sienna is already feeling dramatic. The two plastic cups Val holds out like presents, one half-full of lukewarm water and the other rattling with tiny pink pills—-these are the last plastic cups. The congealed, microwave-flavored scrambled eggs Sienna shovels down with a plastic spork, alone in the empty House kitchen—-these are the last scrambled eggs. 
   And when Val walks her out to the porch, and they sit with the sides of their knees pressed together on the slats of the rickety swing, listening to the kind of quiet Val taught her to notice, 4 the kind of quiet that feels full and on purpose and like every-thing’s going to be okay—-
   This is the very last quiet. 
   She knows that there might be other endings, bigger endings,soon. The end of everything. The end of time. But it doesn't matter. All that matters now is that things are changing again, just when she’d started to hope that they wouldn't.

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! ^.~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:


I sort of really love the way the ampersand hovers over the faces of the two models and connects them together.

Let's take a look at just that part:

Ah! The way it all interconnects! I just love staring at this piece of the cover. That ampersand is placed in just the right way. It frames both faces, and his hands are on either side of it as he touches her. They are connected in more ways than one.

Brilliant, brilliant font placement. I just can't get over that!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Alexandra Coutts
Release Date: Sept. 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan
Received: For Review

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.


  1. This one really missed the mark for me. I was bored the whole time and disgusted with Caden's part of the story. His dad is crazy! I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this though. Great review!

    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island


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