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.
Aspen 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.
With 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.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies is a very special little book. It was this book, and Lindsay Ribar’s writing in particular, that helped me get over an incredibly serious reading slump. Sometimes, to reset your brain, it takes a book that is so unlike anything you have ever read. And in that, this book was the perfect palate cleanser. It’s genre defying–paranormal, fantasy, mind bender, thriller, coming-of-age, etc. It also raises some really important questions about the meaning of free will and just how important it is.
Aspen is pretty much a shitty person. Why? Because he has the ability to reach into people’s minds and take thoughts and feelings and memories from them to suit his needs. He can do this because his family is part of a ritual to keep a cliff in an upstate New York town from falling down on its residents. His ability is supposed to be used in the ritual to feed these memories to the cliff and keep it strong, I guess? But he doesn’t just use it for that. He uses it in a really selfish way, like breaking up his best friend and his girlfriend because he wants the girl for himself. And he doesn’t really feel guilty about it at all, he just chooses for people what he thinks they need, so he’s playing god. He’s very hard to like at times. But this book was awesome anyway, and it’s very difficult for an author to write an unlikable MC and keep the reader engaged and invested, which just goes to show how awesome of a writer Lindsay Ribar really is. Of course there is a character arc, but for a good portion of the book, Aspen is like this and I found that really interesting.
The magic system in the book was stupendously odd, and I enjoyed it so, so much. You never know what’s going on completely, but it’s interesting just the same. If the Quick family doesn’t keep using their ability to heal the cliff with the town’s memories, the cliff will fall down and kill everyone, or WILL it? There’s also a mystery here, and it’s revealed piece by piece, and based on the reviews I have read, most readers are surprised by the ending, but the foreshadowing was blatantly obvious to me and I saw it coming, right down to the big reveal. But surprisingly, it didn’t ruin the book for me or make me like it any less. And I must mention the May Day tree. The way the Quick family steals the memories from town citizens is by holding an object that belongs to them, a conduit of sorts, and through that they are able to see into the person’s mind to find something to take. They then channel it into the cliff to heal it. Town citizens leave objects under the tree, but they don’t have any idea they are used in this way. The thing is, sometimes the tree takes what it wants instead of the memory a Quick has picked out. Someone went blind, and sometimes things even more serious than that happen.
It’s a really unique book, super quirk, and I loved it to pieces. I also really loved the ending. It’s not wrapped up with a pretty ribbon. It’s not necessarily unhappy, but it’s realistic, and those are the endings I like best. Real life doesn’t generally wrap up with the perfect conclusion, and neither does this book.
In short, it’s not going to be a book for everyone, but I think most readers will find something to love here. I’m definitely a new fan of this author, and I’m looking forward to seeing what her brain dreams up next.