Sunday, August 5, 2018

Book Review: The Sound of Falling by Scott D. Brillon

In The Sound of Falling author Scott D. Brillon takes the reader into the world of high-school student Bayard Bitter during a particularly difficult time in his and his friend's lives. Bayard is forced into dealing with the persistent bullying of his best friend and the downward spiral of drug abuse and lack of self-respect by the girl he has feelings for he gets into a series of fights and loses his way in his studies. An inappropriate girlfriend and being witness to a liaison between a teacher and student make matters worse and as the situation spirals out of control his friend confides in him a terrible secret.

This story expertly captures the drama that can complicate the lives of teenagers and makes the reader feel like they are witnessing the events for themselves and creating a wonderful sense of intrigue about how these events will conclude.

The best thing any author can do is make the reader believe in the characters and then care about what happens to them and in this novel Scott D. Brillon manages that within the first few chapters. These feel like real kids, not a middle-aged author's impression of teenagers, who are not yet fully-formed but have opinions and sometimes surprise themselves with what they do and this makes the plot unpredictable and, at times, shocking. There is also an element of the underdog versus the villain here with Bayard portrayed as mature for his years and ready to stand up to bullies.

The plot is simple but skillfully revealed but is slightly predictable in what it is eventually leading to by about three quarters of the way through but this does not detract from the effect as the reader is still left to guess whether the events will happen or not. I found that I wanted to keep reading this book to find out what the conclusion was but when I reached the end I was not altogether sure of what had exactly happened. I guess that is best left to the individual reader; they can choose whether there are some allegorical factors to the story or whether to take things at face value. I am not sure that is what the author intended but at least that was the effect it had on me.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy serious stories that make a point about issues that young people face as well as anyone interested in how things can go terribly wrong in schools. The Sound of Falling is highly recommended to anyone who is in the teaching industry. This is a very well-written book with a slightly confusing ending but worth a second read because of that.

Score: 8.5/10

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