Publishing Info: June, 7, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 12, 2016
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.
As much as I distrust THIS meets THAT comparisons on books, I’m always intrigued when something good pops out at me. When I heard that ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES was Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow, I knew I had to read it. I just love quirky, a little dark, and small town so this book was calling my name!
I haven’t watched Twin Peaks so I can’t say how accurate that comparison is, but I really was hoping for a little bit more of that Gilmore Girls sass, snark, and clever turn of phrases throughout the book. It was entertaining throughout and did have its own sass but it wasn’t quite as snarky and clever as I hate hoped for. The concept itself was clever and the book took a few turns I wasn’t expecting, but I was hoping for a little bit more in the character development based on that comparison alone (hence why I don’t like THIS meets THAT comparisons unless you REALLY mean them).
ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES was a interesting concept! I loved the magical realism concept which was great since magical realism is really hit or miss for me! It was right on that line that dances between magical realism and urban fantasy but I think it really leaned more toward the former since it’s just Aspen’s family with these unique abilities. The way the powers connected to the town and to nature were really great and I love how it seemed fairly straight forward right off the bat… until the book digs deeper and then everything becomes even more meaningful. I loved Lindsay Ribar’s ability to tell a story on so many levels and then bring you even further into the book than you were expecting.
Aspen’s character was wonderfully complex and I appreciated his struggle with morality when it came to using his abilities. Aspen is able to “take” things from people and this could mean many things — a physical feature (such as a mole or scar), a personality trait (competitiveness), or a fondness/affinity (a love of the water). His ability to do these things, especially without the subject’s knowledge, really brings in a level of morality that we never have to worry about contemplating. The magic to “take” gives Aspen a power that’s higher than human will. Even if he takes a thing that a person finds a negative thing about themselves, is removing that fear/embarrassment/ailment making their lives better or simply avoiding a problem that could make them a stronger person? Does he help improve someone’s quality of life or does that change destiny? It was a really interesting moral argument and I especially enjoyed this part of the book!
The characters had a delightful amount of quirk to them. The families were a bit eccentric, the love interest strong and independent, and the history between everyone long and complicated. The small town setting was really fun and I love how it makes everyone’s relationships that much more complicated. I was hoping for just a few more witticisms — mostly because I just had that expectation set up in my mind about the tone of the book — but it was a solid read and I definitely want to read more from Lindsay Ribar!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Kept Me Hooked On: Magical Realism. The cool thing about magical realism is how different it can be and yet still be the same concept in so many books. Each book I’ve read that I’d place in a magical realism genre is so different and I’m really loving the different concepts that I’ve read so far! The first few I read were more misses so I’m really excited to see so many more that I’m connecting with lately!
Left Me Wanting More: Wit. I just love snark! And I love witty and clever and snark coming from a male main character. I don’t know why but it’s just SO much fun when male narrators — especially in YA — are clever and funny. I think maybe because I like the funny guys so I just really gravitate towards those books!
This was a solid read! I didn’t fall totally in love with it but again, I think that was maybe due more to expectation than actual content. It was a strong book with some really great history and backstory. The characters were unique and quirky but not overly so.
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(Click the cover to see my review!)