And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
Keek’s life was totally perfect.
Keek and her boyfriend just had their Worst Fight Ever, her best friend heinously betrayed her, her parents are divorcing, and her mom’s across the country caring for her newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. To top it all off, Keek’s got the plague. (Well, the chicken pox.) Now she’s holed up at her grandmother’s technologically-barren house until further notice. Not quite the summer vacation Keek had in mind.
With only an old typewriter and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar for solace and guidance, Keek’s alone with her swirling thoughts. But one thing’s clear through her feverish haze—she’s got to figure out why things went wrong so she can put them right.
And Then Things Fall Apart was a fantastic contemporary novel that reminded me why it was one of my favorite genres of YA. I went to Arlaina's signing a few months back and was very intrigued by the passages she read. It took me awhile to dive in myself but, once I did, it was hard to stop reading! There was something so original and unique about Arlaina's debut. The fact that Keek was writing her story from bed while suffering from chicken pox put an interesting spin on everything. I was worried this would make the story less enjoyable, but it only added to how much I liked it. Keek (short for Karina) was an excellent narrator and although she was younger than me, I still felt a connection with her.
Keek was a very realistic character and I felt for her, but I also rooted for her to overcome her different struggles. Although Keek was only 15, she was very mature and I connected with her love for film and literature. One thing I know I have to do ASAP is read The Bell Jar! This novel played a large role in the story and in Keek's life.
The style of this story was a very unique way to tell it, but it worked perfectly. Keek's voice danced from the pages and I loved how sarcastic and real she was. Everything Keek dealt with was believable and happened for a reason. She had to deal with a lot over the course of the novel and every page allowed me to better understand her and what she was going through.
There were quite a few secondary characters, but none as solid as Keek. Nic and Keek's grandmother were two of my favorites and I only wish we could have seen more of them.
Some people are put off by the set up of And Then Things Fall Apart, but I loved it. Keek is just writing from her sick bed, but we get to see so much more. She talks about past experiences and what happened leading up to this moment. Everything came together extremely well and Keek learned a lot about herself and her friends/family by the end of the book.
If you're looking for a quick and entertaining read, with a unique twist and fantastic narrator, this is the book for you! I loved the way it was told and Keek is one of the most memorable narrators I have ever read about. I'm looking forward to seeing what Arlaina releases next, I'm hoping it's something else contemporary!
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
S&S Children's Publishing/July 26, 2011/254 Pages/Young Adult