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.Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 17th September 2013
Genres: Apocalyptic, Young Adult
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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.
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:
-Big ass speakers and a base.
-A packet of condoms (safe sex, kids! Even at the end of the world!)
-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
-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.