Title: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Release Date: January 24, 2012
I was so excited to find this book on Netgalley because it combines two of my favorite genres- YA fiction and deadly viruses. The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe, is told through the eyes of 16-yar-old Kaelyn in a series of letters that she is writing to her best friend. A few years before the story began, a minor argument between the two drove Kaelyn to cut him out of her life without so much as a “see you later.” Now, he’s in New York and she’s back in her tiny Canadian island hometown. The story begins with Kaelyn explaining how she’s trying to be different- braver, bolder, more outgoing, anything but the old her.
In the beginning, there are mentions of a viral outbreak that her father (a brilliant epidemiologist) is trying to contain. At first, it only affects a few people, and Kaelyn isn’t really all that concerned. But then she watches as it takes down one of her friends, and panic slowly starts building. The virus starts as an insatiable itch that no amount of scratching can cure. It progresses into a fever and other nasty systems before it completely obliterates any sense of inhibition in the afflicted. Finally, it causes hallucinations and paranoia before killing the host. Worst of all, it’s spreading fast, and no one seems to be coming to help the people of the island town survive.
While the virus takes center stage (just the way I like it), The Way We Fall is really about Kaelyn’s bravery in the face of a horrifying situation. She’s only 16, but she puts the health and welfare of her young cousin ahead of everything else and joins forces with a girl that she pretty much hated (a girl that happens to be dating her former best friend) to help ensure their survival.
I have to be honest, it took me a few tries to get into the story, not because of the story itself, but because of the method used in telling it through the letters. I kept putting it down and reading something else. But the plot sounded so intriguing, that I finally decided to plow onward and see where it led. I’m glad I did, because after the first couple of chapters, the story really starts moving and becomes quite spectacular. Kaelyn is such a likable character, and it is heartbreaking at times to see what she goes through when the virus starts claiming the lives of the people she cares about.
The Way We Fall is more than just Kaelyn’s story though, it’s a commentary on both the breakdown and strength of society when faced with a nightmare like an epidemic. While some townspeople allow their paranoia and prejudice to get the better of them and use it as an excuse pillage and plunder, others hang on to their hope and humanity by stepping up and helping those in need. While it’s not a happy story, it is a moving one in many ways. I am really happy to hear that there will be a second book because although this one provided some closure to the plot, it did leave quite a few unanswered questions.
Note- I read The Way We Fall for free through Netgalley.