Date finished: 19 April 2015
The Last Leaves Falling is a striking novel that demands careful consideration of serious issues by its reader. Sora, a Japanese teenager with huge dreams, struggles to find friendship and courage in his struggle with ALS. Unfortunately, there are elements that did not sit well with me, and I constantly found myself questioning what exactly the author was trying to convey to her readers.
Although Benwell’s writing style and simplistic plot are far more suited to readers in their early teens, Sora’s opinions on death, suicide and his struggle against ALS are not entirely appropriate for younger readers. Overall, there is a dark underlying tone of helplessness and tragedy that, instead of challenging its readers, seems to advertise suicide as a courageous and noble death. Teenagers would be safer reading novels with darker content that present a more stable view on life, especially when suicide and self-harm are becoming increasingly prominent among adolescents.
This incompatibility of the storyline, teenage characters and main themes resulted in a confusing and overwhelming story that left me feeling ill at ease. This book is not worth the wasted time or emotional energy it demands.
This review was also posted on The Bluestocking Review.