Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

3 December, 2013 Reviews 18 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra CouttsTumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
Series: Standalone
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 17th September 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

Tumble & Fall

Otherwise known as  Tumble & BORE (sorry, I hadn’t seen anyone use that pun yet). Tumble & Fail: the most boring apocalyptic book ever. A gentler, kinder soul might say that it’s a character-driven novel exploring the way three teens face the oncoming apocalypse. That gentler and kinder soul would be wrong. The apocalypse is treated like background radiation. It keeps getting mentioned, but it’s hard to see what the hell it’s got to do with the book. Honestly, you could remove it and most of the book would scarcely be affected which is problematic considering how much the book rides on that concept.

This book is made even more boring since, for a bunch of people about to possibly die, and have everyone they love die, these are the most disaffected people ever.  No joke, the first hundred pages or so of this novel is people standing around going:

“Hey, heard about that apocalypse thing?”

“Yeah, sucks. Wanna make out?”


There you go. If you were interested in Tumble & Fall, you now have a basic grasp of the plot – times three! This is possibly the most disconnected and emotionless novel I have ever read. Even Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality was more interesting because at least it was funny! Zan gets the closest to some kind of emotional impact, but it’s over a boy who died 10 months ago. Where’s the examining of one’s life, the search for the meaning of it all, the desperate despair at an uncontrollable fate? If you’re writing a story about the oncoming apocalypse, here’s a tip, why don’t some of the characters spend some time actually agonizing over it. This novel spends so much time trying to be cool, yet fails to be anything other than frustrating.

The writing is abysmal, especially when it’s trying to be clever.

“Two things people make time for at the end of the world: Free food and a party.”


The two things everyone cares about is sex and doing all the illegal shit they couldn’t otherwise do unless the world was coming to an end.  End times babies and our inherent affinity to breaking shit is proof of that.

Free food and a party? Don’t get me wrong, I will eat ALL the things if I know the end of the world is over. I’ll probably have cans of whipped cream on tap just so I can constantly be injecting it into my mouth. But a lame community center party with cocktail wienies? WHO DOES THIS?! You have a week to live people! It’s like you don’t even know how!

Here’s a tip:

-420 Party


-Big ass speakers and a base.

-A packet of condoms (safe sex, kids! Even at the end of the world!)



-pine cones

-an enraged badger

-a bag full of feathers

-enough PVC glue to fill a vat

-a pool filled with corn flour slime

-inflatable pool filled with jello

-glow sticks



-clothing optional policy

I don’t know about you, but that party sounds like it’d be totally illegal in at least 49 states but totally awesome in every single one of them!  Boom. I should have written this novel.

Most of the time, unless I paid attention to the chapter header, it took me awhile to figure out who was who. I only figured out the difference between Zan and Sierra because one of them was constantly moaning about a dead boyfriend that I honestly couldn’t have cared less about. And the only thing that marks Caden’s chapters differently is that he’s checking out girls instead of boys and being even more disaffected than the other two characters. Which frankly seems like he bends the rules of the time space continuum to achieve.

What I want to know is, end of the world, why did Coutts pick the three most boring teenagers ever, living at the most boring place ever, to write about?

I stretched my brain to think about three characters I’d be even less enthused to read about and this was all I could come up with:

1. Someone whose goal is to document the full life cycle of the Boletellus obscurecoccineus fungus family before the end of the world.
2. A man desperately trying to convince family and friends to legitimately convert to Jedi-ism before the end of the world to save their mitochondrial souls (because he doesn’t really understand the force).
3. A mime trying to send a message of peace to the entire world through silent body motions – only to realize, sadly, that nobody cares. Because everyone hates mimes. Everyone.

Actually, I take that back. Those three people could actually manage to be more interesting.


Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

18 Responses to “Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts”

  1. Miranda @ On The Nightstand

    Well, I know whose end of the world party I’m going to! 😛

    I agree with you on this novel; it really was kind of boring and just not very well written. And the science was so, SO bad. If they knew where Persephone was in order to shoot a rocket at her, then how come they didn’t also know how big she was and how much damage she’d do on impact? FAIL.

    It’s a shame, because this could have been a really breathtakingly, heartrending, emotional story. But nope. Since it’s packaged, it basically feels like nothing.

    At least it has a pretty cover?
    Miranda @ On The Nightstand recently posted…Review: The White Stag by Linden FlynnMy Profile

  2. Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy)

    One of my pet hates is taking a book with a massive major event – an apocalypse, a grand war, loved ones being kidnapped – something – then putting the characters in the middle of it and have them NOT BE INVOLVED

    I have seen books where the protags are literally being hunted by malign forces out to kill them and instead they spend their whole time worried about their love lives. Or their daddy issues. Or what clothes to wear for X party while I sit and yell “HELLO!? DEMON TRYING TO KILL YOU? DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THIS?!”

    I suppose it’s “character driven stories” but I tend to think of it as a stunning lack of priotising skills. If “worrying about the boyfriend” > “demons that want to eat my skin” then someone needs to reassess their life

    And your party sounds much much better

  3. smiling_ina

    Well, one good thing that came out of it, I got thoroughly entertained by your review! 😀 So, could I get an invite to your party? 😉

  4. Sandy

    Aww I’m sad. I just heard about this book when I saw the review for it on your blog. I see the pretty cover, read the interesting synopsis and then BAM find out it’s crap. I guess I should be happy that you saved me from reading this story :D. And I definitely have to agree wit you, if there is going to be an apocalyptic story where characters and the world of the story actually know an apocalypse is coming and coming soon there should definitely be a lot more interesting things happening. A lot more interesting things happens whenever someone “predicts” the end of day in the real world so why didn’t that happen in this book? Especially if you have 3 alternating perspective that gives you a greater opportunity to show how people react to this type of situation. If you want the story to be character driven find but the characters have to MAKE the story. And I am guessing since the end of the world party was crap there was no actual chaos in the book? Economic crisis, looting in the streets, mass suicides. Preachers on the radio calling for people to repent their sins? Parents hosting orgies in the backyard?

  5. Kazhy

    Wow. You certainly gave the 411 on this book. I’m all for giving everything a chance but this one? Not any time soon. I certainly won’t spend more for a hardcover; I just hope they use the same cover for the paperback because that is one pretty thing. Great review!
    Kazhy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday {37}My Profile

  6. Christina2227

    Oh, the hilarity of this review; I needed that laugh this morning. I’m surprised you were able to even finish it (You’re into torturing yourself, huh?). I flounced it at like 20-something percent when I was already bored to tears. Not going to lie, I felt very mislead by the pretty cover.

    All that said, it seems like you know how to party. I know where I’m headed if the government ever tells me earth’s demise is imminent.
    Christina2227 recently posted…Blog Tour & Giveaway: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarryMy Profile

  7. Cyn

    Well that’s really unfortunate to hear. What a waste of a pretty cover and apocalyptic stories are usually not suppose to be boring, I think that takes skill to kill it. How disappointing. Oh well, save myself sometime to read a better book I guess. Thanks for review!
    Cyn recently posted…“Waiting” on Wednesday: Into the DarkMy Profile

  8. fakesteph

    YES! T he thing that drove me crazy is that the end of the world barely seemed to matter! I don’t mind the quiet character driven stories, but this one didn’t work. The only part I liked was when Caden’s dad bought him a prostitute and even then he couldn’t follow through with anything interesting.
    fakesteph recently posted…Crash Into You by Katie McGarryMy Profile

  9. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Yet again, I am proved right in DNFing. Goooo me! I actually thought the writing was pretty decent, but I couldn’t keep the cast straight and I didn’t care. Too long; too little happening.

    Haha, a much better pre-apocalyptic thing is The Last Policeman. Society basically shuts down because people are running rampant because seriously who gives a fuck at that point.
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Cover Snark (82): The One with a Fortnight’s Worth of CoversMy Profile

  10. Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts | wrapped up in books

    […] Cuddlebuggery: “Tumble & Fall: the most boring apocalyptic book ever. A gentler, kinder soul might say that it’s a character-driven novel exploring the way three teens face the oncoming apocalypse. That gentler and kinder soul would be wrong. The apocalypse is treated like background radiation. It keeps getting mentioned, but it’s hard to see what the hell it’s got to do with the book. […]

  11. Mercedes

    This book was not interesting at all. The plot was very lame and i wished i didnt pick this book for my project.

  12. Mercedes

    I don’t recommend this book at all. only reason i thought it was interestin because of the cover. Only interesting character was Zan.

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