August 30, 2013

Review of The Fall by Colleen Nelson with Interview and Giveaway


Before Luke came into his life, all Ben cared about was skateboarding, and whether his father would ever remember that he was alive. Then there was Luke, and it felt like he was being carried along on some sort of wave. But then Luke died, and everyone at school thinks it’s his fault. Maybe it is. The Fall charts the lives of three boys as they deal with the death of their friend and brother. One turns to alcohol to escape his guilt. Another looks to a gang to replace what he’s lost. Ben needs to find a way to reconcile his role in Luke’s death and prove that he was not to blame. He must also learn that the man he will become is his to define.

add to goodreadsThe Fall by Colleen Nelson
Publication Date:  April 1, 2013
Publisher:  Great Plains Publications

Available for Purchase:

I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!
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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

The Fall by Colleen Nelson was a pretty powerful read for me.  It shows the way a death can affect different people in different ways.  Where in one character, it gave him the strength to finally stand up for himself, in another it caused a downward spiral from which it seems there is no turning back, and in another, it strengthened a bond that was lost a long time ago.

Ben’s love for skateboarding is something that he can turn to, to escape his hurt and pain caused by a non-existent father who disappoints him time and time again, and with hopes and aspirations of being sponsored and becoming a pro skater, there isn’t much that will stop him from doing what he loves.

After a run in with school bullies Taz, Luke, and Cory, an act of “kindness” from Ben causes Luke to start befriending Luke.  Unfortunately for Ben, hanging with Luke and his crew is not really his scene…drinking, drugs, and the trouble.  But a fight with his best friend Tess is the deciding factor in Ben’s decision in hanging out with them.

But in the blink of an eye, Ben’s pretty quiet life is turned upside down after a tragic accident.  But the accident doesn’t only affect Ben.  It affects the new group he’s been hanging with, and some deal with it worse than others.  Some end off veering down the wrong path, and into a darkness that sucks them deeper and deeper.

The Fall by fellow Winnipegger, Colleen Nelson, is a read that captured my attention and held it.  Even though the book is a fairly quick read, the book ended pretty quick for me as I was completely engrossed in the story, and in the lives of the main character.

All of them have problems at home, which some readers will be able to connect with.  Author, Colleen Nelson, does a fantastic job in showing the different lifestyles that these boys come from.  The storyline in The Fall is one that cause many different emotions to come to surface.  The way in which she shows just how awful fellow classmates can be is pretty shocking.  How quickly their impressionable minds can be so quickly swayed was pretty shocking…and to be honest…very real.

I found my emotions running wild while reading The Fall.  The way in which the author was able to spin my emotions sadness to happiness to fear in the blink of an eye was fantastic and left my head spinning.  Her detailed descriptions of various events as they unfolded were done so well, that you can’t help but feel like you’re part of the story.  I do wish that there was more in end.  It ended pretty sudden, and left some questions unanswered for me.  I know that there’s enough information presented that the reader can come to their own conclusions, but I still found myself wondering what happens to these characters.

I personally feel like this is a book that readers everywhere should experience.  To see the impact of death, and to witness the strengths that people didn’t know they had until after tragedy strikes.


CxC:  Hi Colleen!  Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!

CN: My pleasure! I love connecting with people who have read my books; it’s the most exciting part of writing.

CxC:  Describe The Fall in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)

CN: Three boys witness their friend’s death and struggle with blame, guilt and grief as try to move on with their lives.

CxC:  What was your inspiration in writing The Fall?  Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?

CN: ‘TheFall’ was inspired by events that I witnessed while teaching junior high. A boy died in a tragic accident. As I watched his friends grieve for him, I realized how difficult it is for teenagers to deal with grief and loss. They aren’t prepared for the range of emotions as an adult might me, but still have to live through it. I set out to write a book that boys would want to read, but I also wanted it to be meaningful, for me as a writer, and for reluctant teen readers.

CxC:  Tell us about the main character(s) in The Fall.

CN: There are three main characters, and the book flips between each of them in the week after their friend’s death. Ben, is a skater who had a shaky relationship with his dad. He looks to skating as a way to cope with the bullying he faces after he gets blamed for Luke’s death.

Cory, is the charismatic ring leader, angry at the world. He chooses to redefine himself by joining a gang and leaving his friends and family behind.

Taz, is a trouble makers and Luke’s brother. He has to overcome his guilt for not being able to save his brother, and a brewing hostility between his parents.

CxC:  Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that really love?

CN: My favourite scene is after the funeral when Taz and his parents are in the car taking them to the gravesite. It is Taz’s last chance to find redemption and forgiveness. I get emotional every time I read it! I also love how Cory’s story ends. Not all stories need to end happily; they just need to end right.

CxC:  Was there a specific part in The Fall that you had an especially difficult time writing?  If so, why?

CN: My editor, the wonderful Anita Daher at Great Plains, sent me an email advising me to strengthen Ben’s story. She told me I needed to ‘dig deep’.  I realized I’d been protecting Ben from bad things happening to him, like getting bullied by his peers. I did a rewrite that included Ben going to dark places, and questioning his role in Luke’s death. In the end, I know Ben’s struggles made the story better, but it was hard to write.

CxC:  What sort of projects do you have going on right now.  Any new books coming out?

CN: I am hoping to hear back from a different publisher about a third book. Their last email sounded encouraging, so keep your fingers crossed! I also spent all summer at my computer trying to finish up a fourth novel. I am always thinking up new ideas, but have to be really excited about something to commit to writing it. Writing is like having permanent house guests; you really have to like them if you want to live with them for over a year!

CxC:  It was great having you on the blog today, Colleen!  We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success in your writing future!!

CN: Thanks so much for inviting me! I look forward to chatting again soon!

Colleen Nelson is the author of YA fiction books Tori by Design (2011) and The Fall (2013). Currently living in Winnipeg with her husband, two young sons and three grown step-children, Colleen manages to eke out time to write everyday, but usually in the early morning after a strong cup of coffee. A junior high school teacher for ten years before having children, Colleen is familiar and comfortable with the tricky phase of life called ‘adolescence’. School visits are an enjoyable side benefit to being a writer and she visited over 20 schools in 2012.

Now a preschool teacher, Colleen spends her free time running (for fun) on the forest trails near home, volunteering, traveling (to New York City lots, and Europe as often as possible!), baking, sewing and struggling through tennis lessons. 

Tori by Design was nominated for a Saskatchewan Young Reader-Willow Award and won the 2012 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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  1. may

    Sounds like a great book! Looking forward to it!

  2. Kimberly Sheridan

    I’m really curious to see how the boys handle death. Looking forward to reading it

  3. Kimberly Sheridan

    I’m really curious to see how the boys handle death. Looking forward to reading it


    I like The Fall’s cover. I think that’s what drew my attention. The colors are so vibrant and the lines contrast against it. I almost didn’t even notice the figure of a guy until I looked more closely. Thanks for hosting this giveaway :)!

  5. joe hawkshaw

    Wild cover looks awesome.

  6. Tammy

    A Jr high teacher, oh boy, the stories to be told :)

  7. Wendy R

    I’m really intrigue by the cover! I am a cover judge and would definitely pick this one up! Colleen’s interview was fascinating and she sounds so sweet! Thank you for the interview and giveaway. Good luck everyone!

  8. Meghan Stith

    This looks great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Lisa Vazquezanzua

    Ooohh another GOOD book to add to my TBR list. Sounds really good!! I’m really looking forward to reading this one!! Loved the interview! Always love reading about the author.

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