Category Archives: books
by E.V. Legters
Angela Dunnewald’s sense of self, of direction, is fraying. She finds herself lost and alone despite a calendar full of society events, charity meetings, shopping dates, and dinners her aloof husband expects her to attend. Her best friend is a vivacious flirt, but Angela only strays when she discovers a young drifter haunting the grounds of her house. Desire to be intimate unlocks the need for achievement; Angela becomes unrecognizable to her peers and to herself. Legter’s new novel offers betrayal, passion, secrets, and truth, all from inside a world that threatens to suffocate to the vanishing point.
MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Vanishing Point by E.V. Legters
Angela Dunnewald is merely existing, fading really, into a life that she is a background player in. Fortysomething, married to a high strung attorney who barely acknowledges her, best friends with a woman who makes her be a part of social groups she doesn’t fit in, Angela knows something needs to change but she doesn’t know how to change it. Until one day Daniel walks into her back yard.
Daniel brings Angela to life and fills spaces she never realized were empty. Suddenly her world is turned upside down, and she’s striding a line she cannot balance on forever. This is the story of a woman who’s coming to the edge of something, but she can’t predict what it is.
This book was a very quick read for me. In my opinion it was just OK–I don’t think the characters are ones that will stick with me for a long time.
Angela is experiencing discontent with her life–as any person is allowed to do, no matter what their circumstances–but instead of reaching out to her husband, or her best friend, she turns in to herself for nearly 20 years before she connects with another person. And he’s a stranger at that. The way Daniel and Angela meet was a bit creepy and forced, to be honest.
I just felt like the book was always moving towards a conclusion that never really came. There’s an end, sure, and Angela gets the shake up she needed, but the journey there was not that notable, to me. This is a quiet story, save for a few moments towards the end. There are no huge outbursts or drama filled revelations; each character seems to take things in a most stoic way. There are also storylines that in the end don’t seem to contribute much to the overall plot of the novel.
I can’t say I truly disliked Vanishing Point, but there’s not one thing I can say I liked either.
About the Author
Vanishing Point is E.V. Legters’ second novel. Her first, Connected Underneath, published under her given name, Linda, instead of her chosen name, E.V., was released last year and is an INDIE Press Book of the Year finalist. Born in the far western reaches of New York State, and a long-time resident of Connecticut, E.V. is exploring new venues in which to finish her third. She is currently in Portugal.
Find out more at her website.
by James Preller
An innovative new perspective on the tragedy of teen suicide.
The summer before school starts, Sam’s friend and classmate Morgan Mallen kills herself. Morgan had been bullied. Maybe she kissed the wrong boy. Or said the wrong thing. What about that selfie that made the rounds? Morgan was this, and Morgan was that. But who really knows what happened?
As Sam explores the events leading up to the tragedy, he must face a difficult and life-changing question: Why did he keep his friendship with Morgan a secret? And could he have done something-anything-to prevent her final actions?
From James Preller, the author of Bystander, another unflinching book about bullying and its fallout.
NOT LIKE ME
Two weeks before Morgan Mallen threw herself off the water tower, I might have typed a message on her social media page that said, “Just die! Die! Die! No one cares about you anyway!”
(I’m just saying, it could have been me.)
And I say “could have” because the message was anonymous. Untraceable. Nobody knows who said that horrible thing. That was the beauty of the deal. Nobody knew exactly who said what, except for Athena, I guess. The rest of us sent messages from the shadow places and let them run loose like wolves in the forest.
No one was responsible.
I sure don’t know who typed what. Whose fingers punched the keys? Who said such cruel, unspeakable things? I wonder, Could it have been me?
No, that wasn’t like me at all.
I barely knew her. Not many people did. But I knew this: She was out there.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you: Am I not allowed to say even that? It doesn’t make me a bad person for stating the obvious. It was a fact-Morgan Mallen was different, but not in a good way. Like in a waaaaay way.
For example: The sky is gray, the grass is green, and Morgan Mallen became the saddest girl I’d ever seen. It even rhymes. Green, seen, mean, teen, sardine.
Some girls in school claimed she was this and alleged she was that. There was also a selfie that famously made the rounds. She maybe kissed the wrong boy. Who knows what really happened.
Once a message was spray-painted on the girls’ bathroom door, and another day it appeared on the side of the snack shack by the football field: “Morgan Mallen is a slut.”
Check that tense. Was, not is.
Was a tramp. A selfie-sharer. An outcast.
None of this makes me a bad person.
Copyright © 2015 by James Preller
About the Author
PURCHASE THE BOOK
– 3 Winners will receive a Copy of The Fall by James Preller
I am so excited that PERFECT by Cecelia Ahern is available now and that I get to share the news!
check out all the details below.
courtesy of Fierce Reads and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and flaws are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
They stay there for three hours.My muscles burn, my feet ache, but I’m afraid to move.When the fire has reduced to a smolder, Granddad and Dahy are ordered to place the bundles of food onto the coals. The farmworkers watch from their orderly line, their F brand armbands all visible on their right arms, just above their elbow.This was supposed to be a celebration, a coming together to show that the Guild couldn’t beat them down. Now the Whistleblowers themselves are here. Hiding behind the tree, huddled on the ground, hugging my legs, shivering from the damp forest, I can’t
say that I feel empowered. This feels like a defeat.Granddad and Dahy cover the food with the soil so it will cook under the ground in the heat. Granddad looks at the ground, his work finished, as though he’s buried me alive. Again I want to call out to him that I’m okay, I made it out, but I can’t.A phone rings and the female Whistleblower takes it. She steps aside, walks away from the others, so she can talk in private. She moves closer to me in the woods. I tense up again.“Judge Crevan, hello. It’s Kate. No, Judge, Celestine isn’t here. We’ve checked everywhere.”Silence as she listens and I hear Crevan’s voice from where I stand. Kate walks farther and stops by my tree.I press my back to the tree, squeeze my eyes shut, and hold my breath.“With all due respect, Judge, this is the Guild’s sixth visit to the property and I believe Mary May was meticulous in her search. We’ve checked everywhere you can imagine. I don’t believe she’s here. I think the grandfather is telling the truth.”I can hear the frustration in her voice. They’re all under pressure to find me, pressure placed on them by Judge Crevan. Kate takes a few more steps, right into my
eyeline.She slowly scans the forest, her eyes searching the distance.Then she looks right at me.
At twenty-one, Cecelia wrote her first novel PS, I Love You, which was sold to forty-seven countries. The film of the same title, directed by Richard LaGravenese and produced by Wendy Finerman productions, starred Hilary Swank, Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Bates, Gerry Butler, Harry Connick Jr, Gina Gershon and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. PS, I Love You was one of the biggest-selling debut novels of 2004, reaching number 1 in Ireland and in the UK Sunday Times bestseller
list. It was also a bestseller throughout Europe and the USA, staying on the best-seller list in Germany for 52 weeks.
Her third book If You Could See Me Now was published in November 2005 and also
became an international bestseller. It has been optioned by producer Simon Brooks, producer of Love, Rosie.
Cecelia’s fourth novel A Place Called Here (published under the title There’s No Place Like Here in the US) also became an international number one bestseller.
Thanks For The Memories, her fifth novel, was also a huge bestseller and is now being adapted for a TV Drama Series by Gate Productions.
The Gift was published in October 2008 and became an International bestseller. It is optioned by Oscar winning producer Andreas Bareiss, and it is going into production later this year.
Her seventh novel The Book Of Tomorrow was released in October 2009 and eOne
Television are developing it for a TV series in the US.
In March of 2011 her two short stories, Girl in the Mirror were published.
In November by Cecelia’s eighth novel The Time Of My Life was published and
also became a bestseller.
Her ninth novel One Hundred Names was published in October 2012 and became a
number one bestseller.
Her tenth novel How To Fall In Love was published last November and also became
To date Cecelia has sold over 22 million copies of her books worldwide.
by Chris Miles
Middle Grade Fiction
Jack Sprigley isn’t just a late-bloomer. He’s a no bloomer: an eighth grader, and puberty is still a total no-show. Worse yet, he hasn’t heard from his friends all winter vacation. He assumes they’ve finally dumped him and his child-like body—until he finds out it’s much worse than that. His friends are now so far ahead of him that they’ve started dating. Jack is out of luck. But then he comes up with a plan to catch up and win his friends back. And his plan is perfect: he just has to fake puberty.
MY THOUGHTS: 3 OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Fourteen year old Jack Sprigley believes he doesn’t have much going on for him at this point in his eighth grade life. He’s the only boy he knows who hasn’t started puberty–not even one single hair down there! His friends haven’t spoken to him in weeks. He’s bullied by his hulking classmate. But when he gets the chance to stand out again in a way he did a couple year prior, he takes it–though things are not what he expects them to be.
I guess I thought, based on the description of this book, that it would be more about a boy trying to ACTUALLY fake puberty, and that would have been hilarious. That’s not really what happens here though. Jack is supremely bothered that he’s still so young seeming compared to his friends, but he’s more concerned about standing out and being special than the changes not happening to his body. In his defense, his friends did treat him pretty crappy, but maybe at 13/14 kids are just that way to each other.
There were a whole lot of misunderstandings and non communicative scenarios going on, so much so that they kind of make up the basis of the book. There were conversations that were hilarious, sure, but there were just as many that were kind of mean spirited and frustrating. If these kids would have just talked to each other so many problems could have been solved!
There is definitely some risque subject matter in the novel, so although it’s a middle grade book, parents might want to give it a quick read first. But always remember, if they don’t learn it from you, they will learn it from somewhere else! The book has plenty of laugh out loud moments but some readers might find characterization to be lacking. I might recommend this book for older middle grade/young YA readers.
About the Author
Chris Miles has written several books for young readers in Australia. His short fiction and other writings have appeared in publications throughout Australia. He works as a website designer and developer, and in his spare time he indulges his love of Doctor Who, LEGO®, Dungeons & Dragons, and anchovies. He is a dog person (though not literally).
—Giveaway is open Internationally. | Must be 13+ to Enter
Today Kara Swanson and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE GIRL WHO COULD SEE, which releases June 1, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the eBook!
all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
deliberate two steps toward me. “We’ve had everyone on the disaster—CIA, local police, firemen…heck, we even called NASA. No one can find a plausible reason why a skyscraper, in excellent repair, would collapse like that. No one, that is, except you.”
his dark suit. “You warned us of an attack in that area two weeks ago. How did you know?”
a terrorist organization?”
save everyone. And I don’t have much time—none of us do. If I can’t gain this man’s trust, a shattered building is nothing compared to what will come next.
shoulder. They shouldn’t be there—and I know not to stare. But those eyes that only I can see are the reason I warned the FBI in the first place. Their owner the reason I’m even sitting in this room.
Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she
quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away! If you are looking for a sweet read to gift your little one or budding reader, check out these offerings out recently from Macmillan Children’s Publishing.
XO, OX: A Love Story
by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell
The hilarious tale of love between a hapless ox and a fabulous gazelle, told in correspondence.
For some time now I have wanted to write a letter to say how much I admire you. You are so graceful and fine. Even when you are running from tigers you are like a ballerina who is running away from tigers.
I think that what I’m trying to say is that I love you.
And so begins an epic, if initially unrequited, love affair between a graceful gazelle and a clumsy, hapless ox. Romance will never be the same.
Adam Rex’s hilarious, sweet, and at times heartbreaking letters between a hopelessly romantic ox and a conceited, beautiful gazelle is paired perfectly with Scott Campbell’s joyful illustrations to bring you a romance for the ages.
MY THOUGHTS: A lovingly oblivious Ox has fallen for a rather conceited Gazelle who at first insists she wants nothing to do with him. Cute, but depending on the reader could be taken in a negative light. As for myself, I found it light hearted and kind of funny that the Ox was really in a world of his own and found every thing the Gazelle said and did a sign of her devotion.
Hug it Out!
by Louis Thomas
A fresh, funny take on sibling rivalry and conflict resolution, as two sparring siblings are forced to “hug it out.”
Mom has had enough of Woody and Annie’s incessant fighting. When her pleas for sharing and apologizing are ignored, she demands they “hug it out.” At first, the warring siblings are confused. Hugging? But after a long afternoon of forced embraces, the brother and sister decide to call a truce to avoid yet another icky hug. However it doesn’t take long for them to miss that newfound closeness. And soon they’re looking for something to fight about so they can hug it out once more!
Adults will delight in a new solution to conflict, while kids will enjoy yelling “HUG IT OUT!” at each familiar situation. With subversive humor and smart, eye-catching illustrations, Louis Thomas’s debut is a cheeky tribute to sibling rivalry and (cuddly) compromise.
MY THOUGHTS: A brother and sister who constantly fight are forced to find a way to get along when their mom decides to force them to–yuck!–HUG!! I do have two boys but the youngest isn’t old enough to be fighting with his older brother yet. I will keep this for of discipline in mind though! This book is perfect for kids who are close in age or those who argue and pick. Lessons learned include that time on your own can be OK, and that fighting with your sibling isn’t nice.
All Kinds of Kisses
by Heather Swain, illustrated by Steven Henry
A grasshopper mouth opens east-west but not south. They’re like scissors for chopping up leaves.
“Don’t try to hide from a kiss on its side,” says grandpa grasshopper to nymphs.
How would a grasshopper kiss?
Whichever it is, this much is true. When we say goodnight, I love all kinds of kisses from you!
We humans smooch with our lips. But how do giraffes, whales, hummingbirds, tree frogs, and other creatures kiss? It’s fun to wonder about and to see in the pages of this charming book, which includes facts about each animal at the end.
MY THOUGHTS: This book is perfect for a bedtime story! It gives a look into how different animals, such as giraffes, piranhas, and even humpback whales, might give kisses to their young. Older kids will love the scientific facts, and little ones will like trying to act out the different kinds of kisses. I adore books that give chances for kids to interact with what they are hearing!
Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar
by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper
In this sequel to Hedgehugs, Horace and Hattie return for another sweet story of friendship.
It’s spring! And everything is colorful—rainbows in the sky and flowers blossoming on trees. When Horace and Hattie Hedgehog see a caterpillar become a butterfly and take flight, they decide to try a transformation of their own. When these two best friends put their minds to solving a problem, nothing can stand in their way!
MY THOUGHTS: Sweet and charming board book about a pair of hedgehog best friends who find a caterpillar. The story moves quick and has a concise ending, which is good for storytime with wiggly toddlers. It encourages kids to use their imagination.
Shiny Shapes: Love You Always
by Roger Priddy, illustrated by Lucy Fleming
Cute and cuddly animals wear their hearts on their sleeves in this charming board book with Valentine’s Day rhymes. There are tactile, heart-shaped holes on every page, while glitter and foil add a sprinkle of Valentine’s Day magic to this endearing book for the little one you love.
MY THOUGHTS: Colorful illustrations and eye catching glitter on the pages will keep the attention of even the littlest ones at bedtime. A quick, easy rhyming read about a duck and bear who are best friends. Super sweet way to show your love this Valentine’s Day!
Thank you so much to Macmillan for providing these books for review! Find more information on these titles, activity kits, and so much more at http://us.macmillan.com/mackids/.
by D. Melhoff
A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counselors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.
Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.
MY THOUGHTS: 3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I will admit that my initial instinct about this book, after reading the first 10 chapters or so, was to put it down and give it a DNF. For some reason I continued though, and although I can’t say I’m exactly super thrilled I did, the book was worth the time it took to read.
It seems the author was trying to create a Friday the 13th, slasher flick atmosphere; in some ways he succeeded, in some ways not. This is a horror book for sure though; very gory and not for the faint of heart.
Scott Mamer and a dozen other college aged students are counselors at a fairy tale themed camp for kids in the middle of the woods. Before the kids even arrive, the counselors are being picked off one by one, their bodies displayed in gruesome ways. When the murders continue after the children get there, Scott takes it upon himself to see who is really behind the killing and try to stop it.
Don’t get twisted–Scott is no hero, though. He’s not even really likeable as a character. No one in this novel truly is. It’s soon discovered all of the counselors have been handpicked for a reason and they will pay for the sins of their past. The victims and the ways they are killed are all, in some cases very tentatively, connected to old school, violent fairy tales. In some instances I could see the connection, but in others it was a stretch.
I had a TON of questions as I was reading this book and seeing as this was a mystery, decided to keep reading and see if they would be answered. For the most part, they were, but some things still don’t make sense to me. It’s difficult to explain myself more without giving away the plot.
I feel that in some ways the author was trying too hard. He uses big, uncommon words when simpler ones would have fit better. There are mentions of torture devices and methods of killing that are kind of shoehorned in, as if the author was just trying to say, “Look, I know this.”
Though in many ways I was dissatisfied, Grimm Woods was a quick, thrilling read for me and I was totally escaping into the world when I was reading. The author does do a great job with descriptions, whether it’s the setting, or the bloody details of how someone is killed. It’s very vibrant and you can really see it in your mind’s eye.
In my opinion the basis for the story was a creative one and it took me for a ride, but the author just has some writing issues he needs to work on. I would revisit his work in the future.
About the Author
D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror. For more information, visit grimmwoods.com.
Strong, independent heroines join together with mysterious, dangerous heroes in explosive conflicts that are as much external as they are internal.
Hidden Realms has all of this along with mermaids, shape shifters, demigods, fae, demons and half-breeds with even darker inheritances. There’s love, both forbidden and true, and there’s all the sacrifice it takes to keep it. Regardless of what your preferred flavor of paranormal romance or urban fantasy actually is, there is something in this collection of 10 novels that will knock your socks off.
Hidden Realms contains multiple books that are otherwise only available for $2.99 or more, and it’s available for FREE—but only for a limited time!
Torn by Dean Murray
Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school she seems to know things she shouldn’t about his shadowy world, and the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes.
Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep?
Awaken by Skye Malone
Chloe had never been to the ocean, and now one simple vacation has altered her life forever. Her body is changing in bizarre ways, a mysterious boy is following her, and she’s become the target of killers too. Ancient and deadly secrets surround her and it’s going to take everything she has to discover the truth.
Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon
Harper moves to Peachville hoping for a fresh start, but when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, she discovers this small town has a big secret.
Five by Christie Rich
Rayla Tate dreams of escaping her ordinary world for a bright future in the art world. Throw in an overbearing aunt who is keeping major secrets, a disgruntled best friend tagging along to college, and a bunch of fae warriors waiting in the wings to claim her the minute she leaves her sleepy little town, and Rayla’s dreams are about to shatter.
Bitterroot by Heather Hildenbrand
Charlie and Regan Vuk have secretly always wanted a sister. Now, they finally found each other, only to be forced into a head to head contest for pack alpha. A competition that threatens to destroy their new bond and 1 sister’s chance for true love. Bitterroot is a 3-part Young Adult Paranormal novella series with a dose of sibling rivalry… Who will you root for?
Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith
Amelia Bradbury is the last living Elder. She has power she can’t control, a prophecy dictating her fate, a betrothal she can’t stop and a heart lost to a human.
Ignited by Desni Dantone
When evil forces come for Kris Young, she is forced to go on the run with the young man she has long considered her guardian angel. As they search for the truth behind her role in the long-running battle between good and evil, they discover that nothing is as it seems, and nothing, least of all their hearts, are safe.
King of Ash and Bone by Melissa Wright
When monsters break through the veil between worlds, Mackenzie Scott devises a plan to stop them, whatever the cost. She finds an injured stranger who just might hold the key, but he’s not the helpless boy he appears to be. He’s one of them, and he’s got plans of his own.
Xoe by Sara C. Roethle
Xoe never thought she’d be the type of girl to contemplate murder. Of course, she never thought she’d be dealing with werewolves on top of her own strange, budding powers. Everything comes crashing down at once when her best friend’s life is put in peril, and Xoe will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it involves trusting a tall, handsome vampire with an infuriating attitude.
Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight
Lauren is visited in her dreams for years by a stranger claiming to be her destiny. Destiny becomes reality when paths cross during a failed robbery attempt.
Be Frank with Me
by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.
When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.
As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.
4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Alice is 24 years old, working in the book publishing world, and is sent to be an assistant of sorts to the famous-for-one-novel Mimi Banning. When she meets Mimi’s 9 year old son Frank though, she suddenly has to become so much more. Frank lives in his own unique world to say the least. Adults either cannot deal with him or find him endearing, and children his own age just find him plain weird.
Mimi has been in hiding since the massive fame she gained with her first and only novel. Having Frank has changed her, but not necessarily for the better. She now is on a tight deadline to come out with another bestseller, and Alice must keep her household and child under her sights while Mimi tries to do just that.
I quite enjoyed this look into the lives of some truly intriguing characters. I instantly fell in love with Frank, even though many may find him annoying or struggle to understand him. It’s never stated, but seems obvious to me, that Frank falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. His mother, delicate as she is, loves him but does not always have the energy or attitude necessary to keep up with him.
I loved the bond that Alice and Frank formed. It’s cliche to say they both helped each other learn a lot, but it’s true. Frank needed Alice to guide him socially and in some other ways, and Alice learned that things are not always so cut and dried and perhaps can be looked at from another angle by watching Frank.
One thing I didn’t understand nor was it even touched on was the reason why Mimi was so rude. Alice was there to help her, after all. Maybe Mimi resented needing the help; maybe she felt she was being spied on and didn’t like it; maybe she became jealous of the attention Alice was getting from Frank. These are all plausible, albeit facetious reasons that could explain Mimi’s perpetual nastiness towards Alice, but it felt like something deeper was at play.
I don’t know if the book could be described as hilarious or heartwarming, but I’m glad I read it, if only because I was introduced to young Frank. He’s a character that will stay with me for some time and make me think of him often. I loved the author’s writing style, though I didn’t particularly like the flow of the individual chapters.
Give this novel a read if you love characters with a lot of heart and honesty, or if you’re interested in reading a story that is true to life about a child on the autism spectrum.
About the Author
Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.
If I Fall, If I Die
by Michael Christie
Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will’s art projects.
Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother’s protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.
If I Fall, if I Die is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.
If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie
It’s hard to become a normal teenage boy when you’re sequestered in your own home because of your mother’s extreme agoraphobia. Will knows something isn’t right with the way he lives, but it takes venturing outside for him to realize just what he’s missing–and that the world is so much more complicated than he could have imagined.
I am not sure if I would describe this as a coming of age story, per se, though Will does go through an enormous amount of growth. Part of it is due to puberty, and part of it is due to finally being able to explore the town around him and meet other people besides his mother. Will is sublimely innocent in many ways, and it’s heartbreaking to watch him fall and get disappointed, but you also know it has to happen in order for him not to end up like his mother.
The agoraphobia/boy venturing out storyline would have been plenty enough for me, but around the 60 percent mark there are other elements and characters that come into play that I really could have done without. Yes, some history and background on main characters is important, but in my opinion the author often went off on tangents exploring events that didn’t really matter in the end.
Once I committed myself to reading I got through it quickly, but ultimately I was left unsatisfied by the ending. A lot of questions were left unanswered, and not in a way that the reader can divine the answer for themselves. I liked Will and enjoyed seeing him blossom, but the rest of the story dragged me down.
About the Author
MICHAEL CHRISTIE’s debut book of fiction, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. Prior to earning an MFA from the University of British Columbia, he was a sponsored skateboarder and travelled throughout the world skateboarding and writing for skateboard magazines. Born in Thunder Bay, he now lives on Galiano Island with his wife and two sons. If I Fall, If I Die is his first novel.