September 16, 2013 • Cee • Reviews

Alexandra Coutts - Tumble & FallTumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
September 17, 2013
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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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.myreview

First sentence: “The day she gets out, it feels like the end.”

Oh, cover of Tumble & Fall, how you have misled me. You would think I wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, right? WRONG.

You might think this book is strictly about the apocalypse, but it’s not; it’s more contemporary with an apocalyptic backdrop, dealing with relatable issues like family, death, and absent parents. Tumble & Fall follows three characters – Sienna, Zan, and Caden – as they continue with their daily lives while they wait for the asteroid, Persephone, to hit Earth. Sienna has just been released from rehab due to her depression and has to adjust to life on the outside. Zan mourns the death of her boyfriend, Leo, and goes on a scavenger hunt to find out what he was doing in his last moments. Caden deals with his alcoholic mother and an absent father who kidnaps him, which I can only describe as a bizarre mess.

I wanted to like Tumble & Fall. I really did, but this book was sooo goddamn boring. Reading it was like waiting for the impending doom to arrive. I wanted the end to come, so I didn’t have to force myself to trudge through the nonsense (maybe that was the point of the book?). The story was very slow and dull because of the lack of plot. It was very much “a day in the life of these characters” with an added bonus of the world ending. Yes, “a day in the life” stories can be done well, but I struggled hard to connect with this book, especially why  the author decided to use an apocalypse as a backdrop since it didn’t really change the way any of the characters dealt with their issues.

Besides the plot, I didn’t connect with the story because I found the characters and their situations to be unlikeable and unrealistic. They felt one-dimensional. I didn’t feel like I knew them enough to understand their actions. Their stories lacked a connection to each other, which was fine, but I felt that it was too disjointed, especially when it came to Caden’s POV. I was extremely turned off by the instalove that occurred in Sienna’s POV. (I kept thinking, “Ummm, honey, I know the world is ending, but you have known this guy for FOUR DAYS. FOUR. FUCKING. DAYS. Just think about it for sec.” You can just imagine the look of disgust on my face when I read that part. Eww.) The only problem with Zan’s POV was that I didn’t care for her “epic love” with Leo. I didn’t understand why I should care. Caden’s POV was extremely different to Sienna’s and Zan’s POVs. Everything in his part was…how should I say…comical? (I’m sure it was unintended.) It was like a messed up circus. So many absurd things occurred during his POV that I was left with a big fat WTF??? over my head. His situation felt extremely exaggerated, so I was so close to dismissing the entirety of his POV.

I like that Tumble & Fall is very much an examination of what people do when they know the end is near. Do they run around the cities, stealing anything they can get their hands on? Or do they spend the rest of their time relaxing with their family? Or do they try to cross out things on their bucket list before the end finally arrives? It made me think of what I would do if an asteroid was to Earth in a few days.

I would advise against reading this book. I had to force myself to read it, which is one of the worst feelings on the world. If you want something apocalyptic, go watch “This Is The End” featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco or “The World’s End” featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Those were way more entertaining than Tumble & Fall.



One Response to “(ARC) REVIEW | Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts”

  1. We’re review twins! *high five*

    Yeah, I totally fell for the cover as well, but the synopsis fascinated me because usually I read books about what it’s like AFTER the end of the world. This one was set right before. So it was doubly disappointing when the book didn’t seem to revolve around the asteroid at all! I agree with you about the boring part. Whenever I wanted to fall asleep quickly, I’d take my e-reader and switch to this book and BAM – instant sleepiness (I’m serious). I mean, fine, write about a contemporary — I’m totally fine with that, but there are ways to make contemporaries fun, you know?

    Besides the plot, I didn’t connect with the story because I found the characters and their situations to be unlikeable and unrealistic. They felt one-dimensional.” — AGREED. Zan was probably the best, if I had to choose, but still she wasn’t the best character I’d read about. Caden? The worst. I couldn’t connect with him at all, and his story was especially crappy and unrealistic (what kind of father brings his son a PROSTITUTE? Or better yet, even KIDNAPS him in the first place?!). You summed it up nicely: “His situation felt extremely exaggerated, so I was so close to dismissing the entirety of his POV.

    Apart from the beautiful prose, TUMBLE & FALL was definitely a disappointing and incredibly frustrating read (THAT ENDING). Great review, Cee. :)

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