Review: We All Fall Down by Katlyn Charlesworth
We All Fall Down by Katlyn Charlesworth.
Published: May 3, 2012.
Published by: Katlyn Charlesworth.
Source: Won from being part of her street team.
In 14th century Europe, black spots and scarlet rings have covered the country. Seventeen-year-old, Jemmaline Girard, is suddenly thrust into a time of death and loss, while she desperately clings to the small hope of the future. Struggling to survive, Jemma journeys across the country to find a safe haven, in a world that is falling fast. On the way, she discovers the truth behind freedom, the strength in memories, and the possibility of love. But, can love thrive, while everything else is dying?
If you're looking for a fast-paced read with both heartbreak and hope, this might be the novel for you. Being a short book, it moved very quickly and didn't linger on unnecessary details. It dove right into the situation and the characters, and time moved quickly so there was never a chance to get bored. Since the novel took place in our world (just in its past), there wasn't a great need for world building, which allowed Katlyn to focus on the situation at hand: the black plague and its effect on Jemma's family.
I enjoyed that we got to see many different people that were part of Jemma's life, and got to learn about why they mattered to her, but also that these scenes weren't dragged on, again keeping with the fast pace of the novel. It kept the characters interesting and emphasised what was most important. Despite an overuse of commas and the occasional statement that felt a little false from the character making it, I thought this was a well executed novel. And I was so happy to find that the love between Jemma and Henry actually had time to grow! Even with their instant attraction, it wasn't insta-love. It would have been easy to make it so, but Katlyn spaced events out well and provided great reason for their encounters. It was nice seeing bits and pieces of the growing feelings while time passed. They were also a very cute couple whom I just loved reading about.
This is a novel that takes the worst event of the time period and uses it to show that even when things look terrible, not all is lost. There was a lot of hope in the novel, which kept it from being a depressing re-imagination of a terrible event, instead focusing on the resilience of humanity, which is something I think we can all be moved by.