Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

Tumble & FallTumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux on September 17, 2013
Genre: Apocalyptic, Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Source: BookExpo America
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★½

A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings

The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week's time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn't how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.

Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world.

Tumble & Fall is such a tough book for me to review because there were so many things I loved about this book, but there were also some things I didn’t like. I think it’s going to be really hard for me to touch on everything, while still conveying that I enjoyed the book.

Tumble & Fall follows three different plot lines/characters, which all converge at the end. We have Sienna: a girl who just got released from rehab for attempted suicide; Zan: a girl mourning the loss of her boyfriend’s untimely death; and Caden: a boy with an alcoholic mother and an absent father who abandoned him when he was young. We learn about each characters’ stories and relationships in alternating chapters, as they face the inevitable asteroid collision and live out their final days. It actually reminded me of those movies that always get released around Christmastime that have like 4 characters with different stories, but they all come together at the end. Tumble & Fall is very similar to that! (But not at all Christmas-y, hehe.)

I think the easiest thing to do now is break it down into likes and dislikes:


  • I like how different each of the characters were. I really cared about their stories and got invested in their individual lives and relationships!

  • The book brilliantly feels sad and hopeful at the same time. Some scenes seriously made me want to cry, but others made me feel happy, despite the inevitable doom!

  • I like how imperfect the stories in the book are. It’s not all depressing, but it’s not all smiles and butterflies either; there is a great mixture. Some things work out wonderfully and unexpectedly, but others completely fail and don’t pan out at all. There were a lot of things I didn’t expect to happen, because I thought the book would go one way (everything working out) or another (total doomsday with everything going to shit).

  • I LOVED Zen’s chapters so much! She definitely stole the spotlight, I think. Hers were most interesting, and kind of most tragic. Despite a few things that went unresolved (see dislikes), I think her character was the most developed, and I definitely found myself relating to her more than the others.


  • The book may have been too short and had too many characters to really dig deep. We have 384 pages to alterante between three different characters, each with their own stories, problems, and relationships. As a result, it kind of feels like the author only scratched the surface. Perhaps the book would have been more intense and heart-wrenching if it focused on only one character, or if the book was longer.

  • Sort of expanding on the previous point, I feel like some things weren’t quite resolved. I almost didn’t know what to think of them. In particular I’m referring to Zen’s story. View Spoiler »

  • There is a little bit of insta-love in Sienna’s chapters. Keep in mind that this book spans like seven days. Sienna goes from meeting someone to actually saying “I’m in love with you” in that time period.

  • I think I was most disconnected from Caden’s chapters. A lot of things in his story just felt so random and oddly strung together.

The Ending: Meh

Tumble & Fall has a bit of a gutsy, ‘leave it to your imagination’ ending. I usually hate it when books are left open-ended, and this was no exception. I think this particular ending leaves the reader with a sense of, “What’s the point?” and that kind of sucks.


Overall, I really enjoyed Tumble & Fall as I was reading it. It was such a breeze to get through and I was easily whipping through the pages! I think most of my “dislikes” come from after I finished the book and spent time reflecting on it. And once I got to the ending, I did have that What’s the point? feeling. I thought that the stories in the book were going to lead somewhere, but I don’t feel like they ever did.

I think that with more expansion, polish, and a better ending, Tumble & Fall could be a really fantastic book, but for now I’m sticking with “okay”.

The Verdict


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  1. I haven’t been seeing many positive reviews for this one, and I tried to read this one, but I think I ended up putting it down in favor of a different book >.< I hate the fact that it's an open-ended ending, because while that could work in some instances, I feel like it couldn't really work in a novel because it's supposed to feel complete. It's a shame that you felt some characters were underdeveloped though since managing that many characters in like less than 400 pages must certainly be tough.

    Fantastic review, Ashley! <33

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  2. This sounds like a really interesting book! The plot sounds very interesting! I am scared with the rating you gave it though! Now, I’m hearing that this book is getting very low ratings and not very people have finished it. 🙁
    Maybe I’ll read it one day, maybe not. But, do like the plot!

    Brianna recently posted: Review: City of Lost Souls
  3. I pretty much felt the same way you did for this one, though I think the flaws got to me more than it did you. I agree with you about Zan! For some reason, Sienna felt like one of those stereotypical characters who come out of the hole they entered a long time ago, and love finds them immediately, so I didn’t really find her particularly memorable. Caden… well, I couldn’t connect to him much. So Zan was definitely the highlight of the book, because her story was really more heartbreaking between the three main characters. I wanted the book to be more intense, too, but the constant alternating POVs kind of made it hard for me to become truly invested in the book.

    AND YES. Let me rant about the ending! Admittedly, one of the reasons why I decided to read Tumble & Fall was because I wanted to know if the asteroid would actually hit Earth. That was really all I could think about. Then the ending ended like THAT, and I was SO disappointed. I did like the writing though – it had a lyrical and smooth flowing feel to it that I felt really suited the story.

    Great review!

    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted: Mythology Gone Wrong: Silent Echo, Elisa Freilich
  4. Yeah so not for me. I have yet to read a really glowing review which makes me sad as this book has been hyped for so long.
    and THANKS for adding the part of the ending which now makes it even clearer for me that this won’t be a book for me.

    I said from the early beginning that this book needs to end “good” in order for me to read it.

  5. If Tumble & Fall had left out Caden’s perspective entirely, I think I might have enjoyed it more. His was the most bizarre and disconnected one for me. I agree that Zan’s story didn’t feel quite resolved enough, but I never understood the point of Caden’s chapters. I think he was meant to appreciate his mother more by the end of it, but we already knew he appreciated his mother more than his father. And I’ll not even get started about some of the things they did together. Go hunting? Buy his son a prostitute? Riiiiiiight.

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