This is kind of a weird thing to feel guilty about, but in a tide of people who really strongly disliked, maybe even hated Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts, I feel so awkward admitting that hey I DID NOT HATE THIS BOOK. Like, what is wrong with me that I feel so different from the meh majority opinion. I do know that I have some pretty weird quirks or tendencies, so when something hits one of my quirks, I feel more of an affinity to it. For instance, Tumble & Fall opens with an epigraph that are song lyrics from ‘Stand By Me’ – specifically “if the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall all 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.” Guys, I love that song. I think we sang it in middle school chorus or something and so, when song lyrics like these trigger something in my memory, I know that I already feel that affinity connection and am going to look at the book more kindly. Also, the whole time while reading, I had the song stuck in my head which I would not consider to be a bad thing.
The asteroid Persephone is on a collision course with Earth and everyone knows it is the end. Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts explores how three separate teens take their last days on Earth and use them to wrap up loose ends within their lives. The book alternates chapters between the three teenagers and well, there is very little crossover between their stories. I think the one thing they all really have in common is that they live on the same island. Also, they are all experiencing the impending end of the world. Anyways, I guess I will break down the teens a little bit more, since at this point you get the gist of how the plot works.
Sienna is back on the island with her dad and his girlfriend. I think her mom died young, it’s been awhile. Anyways, Sienna is really resisting her dad’s impending nuptials, so much so that she ends up running away with this guy that she used to have a crush on. It’s kind of illogical I guess. Only, Sienna realizes in her heart that she needs to come back and be with her family. And that is her story in a nutshell.
Zan, or Suzanne, is mourning her boyfriend Leo who died in a car accident. Anyways, she finds something that he has left behind which leads her on this sort of hunt with her deaceased boyfriend’s best friend. Along the way she discovers some hard truths, and again the value of family and such. Hmmm, come to think of it, these stories really do explore the value of family in a neat way. OH and Zan’s parents are like these artists and kind of really ritzy. Her dad is busy making a machine that dispenses something cool in the midst of doom and all. Anyways. Her story takes us all the way from the island to Boston.
Caden is the sole male narrator. He lives in a pretty messy situation. His mom is a drunk. His sister works hard to support them all. Anyways, one day Caden’s dad shows up and well, he is rich and powerful. However, his dad is also super abusive. There might be a scene in his chapters with ladies of the night. All I will say is that honestly, I wasn’t that heated up about it because let’s be real, if the world is about to end, you might want to get laid if you are still a virgin. Whatever. Again, I’m not getting heated. This is another story where the value of family is celebrated as well.
Tumble & Fall is told in weird present tense and what I think is second person, but I don’t know exactly. The writing and pacing just felt off for most of the book. HOWEVER, I did get caught up in the stories of the three characters, even though I never felt all that connected to them. I also loved the mood, this book was so heavy and solemn and ya know made me think about what would happen if it truly was the end. Speaking of the ending, I thought it was absolutely beautiful – I loved the imagery and the idea of forgiveness and letting things go.
So, I am torn, I was blah about a lot of things, but I just really, genuinely liked how Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts ended.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Other reviews of Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts:
Alexa Loves Books – “lovely, thoughtful and simply told”
Writer Of Wrongs – “Blah characters, no plot, and wretched world-building”
What Danielle Did Next – “a book that echoes back to a simpler time in people’s lives”