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The Compulsive Reader: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

Friday, June 17, 2016

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

Aspen Quick is born into a strange family, with very strange and very important powers. They have the ability to reach--into objects, into people--and take things. Memories, thoughts, emotions, even physical characteristics. They use this ability as a part of an old ritual to keep the cliff overlooking their small New England town from tumbling down and crushing everything. But Aspen uses his ability outside of this ritual, and he's never given it a second thought...until the summer after his cousin's mysterious death, when he meets Leah, who is a little too curious about his family's strange legacy.

Aspen is a surprising, not-exactly-reliable, and privileged narrator. He makes terrible decisions, but his confidence is engaging, and the flashbacks that Ribar sprinkles in among the present-day drama add depth and complexity to his character. The premise of this story and Aspen's family history is fascinating and fresh, especially as the consequences to their actions become more apparent and nuanced as the story progresses. Aspen starts out confident in his abilities and what he thinks he knows about his family, proud of what he can do and secretly hurting over is mother's abandonment. But as he gets to know Leah, who inexplicably knows about his abilities and his family's legacies, he begins to question what he thought was true about his family. This development is drawn out realistically, a result of Leah's new information and Aspen's own poor decisions pushing him closer to the truth. The somewhat serious story is balanced out by terrific sarcastic humor and banter between Aspen and his friends, and great flashbacks. Like its excellent title, this novel may appear flippant at first, but it's a lot darker, a lot more complicated than it seems.

ARC provided by publisher.

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