"THE WAY WE FALL," by Megan Crewe, Hyperion Book, 320 pages, $16.99 (f)(ages 12 and up)
The assault by the virus on Kaelyn's neighborhood begins as an itch that you just can't satisfy. Then comes the coughing, the hysteria and eventually death. And no one is safe, but as the population and Kaelyn soon learn, there isn't anywhere to run to either. Which results in chaos and havoc that threaten to destroy everything and everyone she knows.
Using a diary-syle narrative, the reader is given an inside look into Kaelyn's most private thoughts and fears as she deals with this infection that is sweeping her small island. Kaelyn begins a journal to her former friend, Leo, who has moved away before Kaelyn has a chance to make amends.
The journal begins slowly with the more mundane aspects of Kaelyn's life, but soon picks up as the infection starts to have a fatal effect on people that she knows. However, the story never reaches the fever pitch that is common to the genre. Because of this slow build in tension, "The Way We Fall" lacks a little bit of oomph while reading, but seems to get better upon reflection.
"The Way We Fall" also has a very diverse set of characters. Kaelyn is mixed race, and her friend Leo was adopted from Korea. Kaelyn's brother, Drew, is homosexual and has recently come out to his family. His father, in particular, shows several signs of having a hard time with the transition. Each of the unique qualities of these characters blend together so their differences don't seem contrived.
Not only are the characters diverse, but they are also very likeable. Kaelyn's father is a microbiologist and finds himself at the hospital nearly every hour of the day working frantically to find a cure; even during the times when his family is suffering. Readers will also enjoy a very satisfying romance that is a bright spot in a dismal situation.
It is apparent throughout the book that a great deal of research went in to the development of this virus. Much of what happens in relation to the virus and how it spreads is absolutely believable, as is the reaction of the residents of the island.
"The Way We Fall" does contain some violence, though it is mild and infrequent. This book would be suitable for teens ages 12 and up.
Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, emilysreadingroom.com, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction.