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Tumble & Fall tells the interconnected story of three teenagers in the week leading up to the end of the world. Their stories are overwrought, soap opera fodder. The third-person present narration is personally distracting and hindered my ability to invest in the main characters, who are unlikeable, flawed, and self-absorbed. It features one of the most blatant uses of insta-love I've seen in a YA novel.
But if you stick it out, the ending is beautiful.
In the heart-felt, hopeful climax, I finally got what the last 380 pages were trying to do. And it wasn't pretty. I rolled my eyes and huffed. I yelled at the e-reader's screen. I was confused by loose ends. But teenagers are selfish, people act badly when presented with their mortality, and not everything gets closure. In showing this, I think the book showed a real understanding of humanity and felt refreshingly realistic.
Unfortunately, while effective, I wouldn't classify it as an enjoyable read. Zan and Sienna's plots felt like retreads of other contemporary dramas, (dead boyfriend's last secret and summer romance that Daddy doesn't approve of, respectively,) and Caden's was just odd. In a book that was sometimes unflinchingly realistic, kidnapping and extortion felt out of place. It's fitting that most of his scenes took place off island, because they didn't feel like they meshed with the rest of the book. Someone please explain to me the Camille scene. It was really out of nowhere.
Characters run into each other with too great frequency to really be coincidental, the general feeling that all of humanity is deep-down good and won't rob and murder during the end of the world is naïve, and it does shamelessly tug at the heartstrings.
But I'll be haunted by the last chapter long after I've forgotten the secret of Vanessa or Sophie or Owen's tribe.