I was recently directed to a very impressive blog named Xpresso Reads, and happily discovered a positive review by Amy of my upcoming book, The Fall (September).
The money quote:
“I didn’t realize the emotional impact this book had on me until the very last sentence when it brought tears to my eyes. This was a heartbreaking and beautiful story about friendship, bullying, and the aftermath of all of it.”
I encourage you to click madly right here to grok the review in fullness.
Footnote: In the comments section, I came across a number of readers who mentioned the plethora of books these days about suicide and bullying. I felt compelled to add my thoughts to that discussion, and I might as well share them here.
So, um, here goes:
Hi, Amy. Thank you for the thoughtful review of my book, THE FALL. Just a little background here. When I wrote BYSTANDER in 2009, it was the right book at the right time — just before the issue blew up on the national media and the politicians got involved. Funding in schools, educators forced to address the issue, etc. To my surprise, I had stumbled upon an “it” topic.
In my visits to schools around the country, I was often asked about a sequel. I had no plans for one, not wired that way. But a few things started to happen in my mind. One, I saw the vilification of “the bully” and it didn’t easily jive with my perceptions. In most cases, I don’t actually believe in “the bully” per say; I understand “bullying” as a verb, a behavior, rather than as a label to stick on young person. So I began to think that if I ever approached the topic again, that’s where I wanted to go — from the perspective of a so-called bully. I wanted to write about it with sympathy and compassion, rather than finger-pointing and easy admonition. At the same time, I read some heartbreaking news reports about suicides, children who had been abused on social media, and so on. That’s how I came to write this book.
It is uncomfortable for me to feel like this book is part of a tidal wave of books on the topic. That’s never been how I’ve operated my career. My hope is that the first-person journal format brings something fresh and vital to the conversation.
Again, thank you for reading the book.
While you’re here, some other recent review quotes about The Fall:
“Readers will put this puzzle together, eager to see whether Sam ultimately accepts his role in Morgan’s death, and wanting to see the whole story of what one person could have, and should have, done for Morgan. Pair this with Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (2007).” — Booklist.
“Told through journal entries, Preller’s latest novel expertly captures the protagonist’s voice, complete with all of its sarcasm, indifference, and, at the same time, genuine remorse.” — School Library Journal.
“With its timely, important message and engaging prose style, Sam’s journal ought to find a large readership.” (Fiction. 10-16) — Kirkus.
Thank you so much for the shout out for my review of your book. I love that there are many more books on this topic out there and that you wrote it from one of the bully’s POV’s. It really did bring out a lot of emotion in me in the end. I thought it was really beautiful. Thank you for a wonderful book on such an important topic.
Amy, you are the one who deserves thanks. Writers are nothing without readers; I appreciate that you read and responded to the book. And, yes, the best thing of all is for a reader to FEEL . . . something/anything.