ARC Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
Tumble & Fall
by: Alexandra Coutts
Publication Date: Sept. 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC copy provided by Books and Sensability ARC Tours
Page Count: 384 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars
After seeing so many low reviews and DNF's for this book, I went in with a lot of hesitation. The only other person who seemed to remotely enjoy this book was Dani from What Danielle Did Next and even she struggled a bit with it. I was even more nervous as, since I received this for an ARC tour, I only had a week to read it. When I read books that I'm not completely 100% into- I tend to take longer to read them- which makes sense, yeah? So, I was afraid with school and everything else in my week, I wouldn't be able to get through this book.
The first night I started it- I didn't get too far, seeing as it was a school night and it just wasn't grabbing me. I thought the idea of an asteroid coming to Earth and watching how the main characters would deal with that knowledge was a pretty cool one. Yet, the book just had a slower start for me. After seeing it was told in three perspectives, I was a little wary that I would get overwhelmed with the switching back and forth- trying to remember what was going on with the other characters' storylines. It turns out I didn't have as difficult of a time as I thought. I really liked Sienna and Zan's storylines, but Caden's really bothered me. I honestly think the book could have done fine without him. Their stories are all told in 3rd person, which threw me for a loop considering the nature of this story. A lot of reviewers said they had problems connecting with the characters and I wonder if this had something to do with that. I know I personally didn't feel overly connected to them, but I still enjoyed reading about them.
Let's start with Sienna. (Since she was my favorite) She is just getting out of a home (treatment center if you will) for depression. She lost her mother at a young age and is still dealing with the aftermath of that tragedy. Her father comes to pick her up and ends up bringing her to Martha's Vineyard, where they will spend their remaining time with her younger brother, Ryan, and her father's new fiancé, Denise (Denny). Sienna is less than thrilled at this development. Martha's Vineyard holds a lot of memories of Sienna's mother and not only is it difficult to be there and deal with her grief, she now has another woman infringing on her family time. Sienna ends up meeting up with an old childhood friend, Owen, and for the first time Sienna feels like she can breathe again while spending time with him. However, spending time with Owen comes at a cost- her father brought her to the Vineyard to spend time with her family and connect with one another. Having suffered under the weight of her depression and grief- sneaking out and spending time with Owen makes her feel alive, and she finds herself craving that sense of freedom more than anything. Even at the sacrifice of her own family. Sienna must make some pretty difficult decisions, but in the end I believe she chose the right one. I like that she didn't let Owen define her in those ultimate decisions, no matter how much they cared for each other. Sienna did what she had to do, all the while knowing she was risking her relationship and happiness with Owen.
Zan was my second favorite of the story. She is dealing with her own grief and tragedy- having lost her boyfriend, Leo, to a car accident. She is coping the best she can, but the day Leo's sister brings her a book of his and she finds a receipt inside with the name Vanessa scrawled on it sends her on a wild goose chase to discover who this girl really was and what she meant to Leo. I felt bad for Zan- she started questioning her relationship with Leo, and even though he's gone, she is determined to prove that their love was real. With the help of Leo's best friend, Nick, the two embark on their own journey to search for answers about Leo's final moments. What they find is what they least expected, but it does help Zan find the closure she needs. I really liked Nick's character too. He was there for Zan when he didn't have to be- but spending his remaining time with her is what makes the journey worth it. I did hate the disconnect between Zan and her parents. She didn't even refer to them as Mom and Dad! After her half sister, Joni, ran away- things between her mother (especially) were strained. Zan hates that her sister left her without a word- and I felt the void she did because of how much she cared for her and then poof! She was gone without a word.
Finally, there's Caden. I didn't care for his story much. I'm not really sure why, because it was quite interesting- it just didn't grip me. Caden has a really heartbreaking story to be honest. His mother is an alcoholic and his dad ran off when he was younger. He has a sister, Carly, who does her best to hold the three of them together. After being kidnapped by his father (what?), in a last ditch effort to connect, Caden finds that life with his drunken mother and sister maybe wasn't that bad after all. Caden's dad was seriously off. Who takes his son to Fenway Park to play catch, when both of them hate sports? Or gets him a prostitute? I just didn't understand the point behind his actions. Caden meets Sophie, his father's... (girlfriend?) Caden is drawn to her, but doesn't understand how someone like her could be with his father. Once he learns the truth and that his father is all about the power play and manipulating situations to fit his will, he realizes this man may have been one of the contributors in his birth, but that was it. He was not a father to Caden and he never would be. Instead, the people who cared about him the most were waiting for him right where he left them.
Overall, I honestly enjoyed this story. I didn't once feel like I wanted to DNF it and I was genuinely interested in how these characters would find their peace at the end of days. Some people were complaining this isn't how people would act amidst the end of days, but I disagree. The book starts AFTER they learn about the asteroid. They've had their time for blind panic and freak outs. Winding down to the last few days- they have achieved acceptance. And they are trying to find out how to solve their own puzzle and put the pieces back together before the end so they can be able to let go and be able to say they were where they should be (both physically and mentally). I know that I am one of those in the minority, but I didn't hate this book- on the contrary, I really like that it made me think about these characters and their journeys for forgiveness, peace, and acceptance.