Review of ‘The Fall’
Megan describes herself as ‘an avid fan’ of Australian kids/YA author Tristan Bancks (you can read her Book People interview with him here). Given that her ‘mind was blown’ by Tristan’s novel ‘Two Wolves’, which was an Honours book in the 2015 CBCA Book Of The Year (Younger Readers) Awards, we knew she wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to publish a review of his latest novel ‘The Fall’.
Fortunately for us, the fabulous author Sue Whiting had not only read ‘‘The Fall’ but was keen to share her thoughts with you all! TMB
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Reviewer: Sue Whiting
Author: Tristan Bancks
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Age Range: 10+
Genre: crime, mystery, thriller
Themes: crime, family relationships, courage, resilience, survival, trust, rite of passage.
The action in this gripping story takes place over a tense 24-hour period that begins in the wee hours when 13-year-old Sam Garner witnesses a body falling from the sixth floor of the apartment block he is staying in with his crime reporter father – a man he hardly knows. Sam watches as another man checks on the body, but this man, a possible murderer, also sees Sam. Sam goes to wake his father, only to discover he is not there. This sets off a chain of events that leads Sam into much peril and forces him to take on the dangerous role of crime investigator.
Marketed as a crime thriller for readers aged 10+, ‘The Fall’ offers this and much more. The plot is tight and tense, and filled with all the twisty-turny surprises you would expect from a Hitchcock-style crime thriller, and readers should be kept on the edge of their seats to the last page. But what sets this middle grade thriller above many others are the layers woven into the crime plot and the nuanced and complex characters, especially the less-than-perfect protagonist, Sam.
Within the framework of a classic crime novel, ‘The Fall’ is actually a coming of age story. Bancks has much to say about the complicated nature of families – particularly about fathers and sons and male relationships, as well growing up, independence, trust and resilience.
Upper primary and lower secondary readers, especially boys, will gobble this one up. Highly recommended.
About the author: Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and filmmaking. His books include the ‘Tom Weekly’ series, the ‘Mac Slater’ series, and ‘Two Wolves’. Find out more about Tristan here.
About the reviewer: Sue Whiting is the bestselling author of books for children and teens. Find out more about Sue here.