Published by Kathy Dawson Books on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.\r\n\r\nAspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.\r\n\r\nWith a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.\r\n
I discovered this book in a list of “YA Books You Need to Read This Summer”, and the title and cover immediately grabbed my attention and the description pulled me all the way in. Thanks to a couple of long trips in the car, I flew through the audiobook. It’s an interesting premise that got me thinking – what would I choose to do if I had the ability to “reach” and could remove bits of people’s (or even my own) personalities or physical traits? How tempting would it be to make people forget the cringe-worthy things that I have said? Or to steal someone’s speed so I could be a faster runner, or bits of someone’s super high IQ? Would it be wrong to take away someone’s fears or sadness, if you could? How much do those things change what essentially makes up that person? Are any of your relationships really “real” if you’re using this gift? Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar is unique, with its touch of magic in an otherwise realistic world. I also liked that the protagonist was male, and he was a pretty realistic teenager. Which is to say, a lot of the time he was sarcastic and made rash decisions and selfishly considered what he wanted above everything else. Of course he grew over the course of the book, as he had to face some shocking secrets and make some tough decisions. The narrator, Michael Crouch, was wonderful. He had a great voice and read the characters just as I would’ve imagined them to sound. Side note: I discovered that he also narrates The Serpent King, which I read and absolutely loved. Now I can highly recommend reading that book or listening to the audiobook! But back to the current book: there was quite a bit of drinking, language, and implied sex, so I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers. Aspen is even able to steal sobriety, so drinking and driving isn’t a problem. Handy! My only real complaint was that some of the secondary characters were undeveloped. Theo’s character wasn’t very well formed, and I also could’ve used more insight into Aspen’s parents. I had several questions about them that went unanswered. This is a fun summer read, but not a book that will likely stick with me long-term or one that really left a huge impact. I’m glad I listened to it, and it was fun spending some time thinking about what I would do if I had this power.