Hi! Today I have the brilliant opportunity to review ‘Feel Me Fall’, James Morris’ brand new book. I’m really excited about this, as I really enjoyed the book and I love to write reviews for books I have loved reading! Thank you to the author for providing me with a hard copy of the book!
I don’t know what genre I would class this book as- probably thriller mixed with young adult and with some adventure thrown in there too! So, on with the review…
‘Feel Me Fall’ was based on quite a ‘basic’ premise, but the depth that emerged regarding the characters, themes and ideas was anything but basic. The novel starts with the knowledge that Emily Duran, a 17 year-old high school student, is the only survivor of a plane crash that was carrying her and her classmates to the Amazon. She begins in hospital after the ordeal, and the novel follows her struggle to survive in the Amazon jungle, along with 5 other students- and why she is the only survivor.
Throughout the book the narrative switches between before the ordeal, when she is just trying to survive high school, facing boy and financial problems, during the ordeal, when she has to try and survive the Amazonian rainforest conditions, and after the ordeal, when she is writing down her story and dealing with the aftermath of the experience.
I must admit I was apprehensive about reading ‘Feel Me Fall’ at first, as it had many links to ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding. When I studied ‘Lord of the Flies’ for GCSE, I wasn’t that keen on the book, so I was a little worried, but I thought this book was like a refreshing, relevant and much better (sorry William Golding!) version of the novel. What I thought was lacking in ‘Lord of the Flies’ was female characters, so the presence of a strong female narrator was definitely refreshing!
So, clearly, I really enjoyed this book! One of the things I liked most about the book was Emily’s narration, and whichever part of the story Morris was relating- whether their trek through the jungle or Emily’s recovery- the story was always from Emily’s point of view, and I thought this was a great aspect. Emily is a 17 year-old student, who goes through all the typical trials of a high school student in modern day America, and so naturally I found her character relatable (although I’m from a school in the UK!).
*Small spoiler in this paragraph (sorry I usually pride myself on not giving spoilers, if you read it by accident it’s not a massive spoiler!)* I also liked the fact that Emily often withheld information from the reader, and she emerged as the ultimate unreliable narrator, with the passages on Emily’s depth and her questioning of her morals and conscience, as well as when she wondered about what kind of person she was, being particularly good.
I also loved the way that this book put the cliques and hierarchy of the school corridor into a completely different setting, and the parallels Morris drew between high school life and relationships in the jungle was really interesting. Within this, I also loved the character of Derek. Derek is the victim at school, the powerless nerd who is bullied, but in the jungle he relishes in a new power over his classmates, due to his knowledge of survival skills, and puts himself in a position of authority over the others.
I thought it was brilliant how the school hierarchy, with Derek supposedly at the ‘bottom’, was completely turned upside down in the jungle and Ryan, your typical bully and jock, was the first to die, suggesting that what was important in high school is no longer important in this setting, and the others need Derek in order to survive. With this reversal of school hierarchy, the jungle also becomes the perfect place for those on the lowest rungs of the social ladder to exact revenge, and it is worrying that such mayhem ensues in a place where there are no rules.
“We’re in the animal kingdom. Different rules. Different code.”
I thought that this book was really well-written. The best young adult books (in my opinion) manage to maintain a balance between an easy-to-read and gripping style, while still expressing important ideas, showing both depth and nail-biting action. This book definitely delivered this style and substance.
The book was gripping right from the first line, and I think what really helped this was the fact that the reader knew from the very beginning that Emily was the only survivor, and so when the narrative switched to the group in the jungle, trying to survive, there was a sense of suspense building up as to why she was the sole survivor. This book was also fast-paced, and I finished it within a day, always a sign of a great book!
I also loved the ending of this novel. After lots of little twists leading up to the ending I thought the book would slowly drift off into a predictable ending (which would have been fine with me, the discovery of the ‘truth’ leading up to the ending was eventful enough!) but I was wrong. The ending was so good, the perfect twist and shock knocking Emily and the reader completely off balance and changing everything that had happened just before the very end.
Overall, I really liked this novel! I thought it was the perfect mixture of depth, thrill and excitement, and I loved how Morris managed to mix action with deep moments. I also loved his characterisation, and characters such as Derek were so great to follow, as he changed so much over the course of the expedition through the jungle, and the difference between Derek at high school and Derek in the jungle was so interesting to read about! I also loved the narration of this novel, and thought that the whole book was aided by Emily’s narration.
If you want to find out more about this brilliant author, you can visit his Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or buy a copy of this book on Amazon! You can also check out James’ website for lots of up-to-date information on his new books and projects!
Have you read this book before? Has my review convinced you to order a copy or check it out further? I hope so! Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below…
Currently reading: ‘The Invention of Wings’ by Sue Monk Kidd