ebook, 220 pages
In the summer of 1985, thirteen-year-old Ben Brendel, still grieving the loss of his best friend, forms an unlikely friendship with the seventeen-year-old girl across the street. Aubrey Rose shares his love for film and soon helps him rekindle his passion for filmmaking.
But shortly after their first film is sent to the developing lab, Ben finds himself haunted by bizarre visions and nightmares. And when he brings the film home, nothing can prepare him for the dark secret it will reveal, bending the fragile bonds of family and friendship past the breaking point, and testing the courage and strength of a boy on the cusp of manhood.
WHEN WE FALL is a dark coming-of-age tale you won’t soon forget.
When We Fall by Peter Giglio is a highly recommended dark coming-of-age novella.
Ben Brendel is sure Billy Joel got it wrong. "The bad die, too. Young, old, and all points in between. Everyone dies." He knows this because a year after his best friend, Johnny, dies, thirteen year old Ben finds himself going to another funeral, this time for his worst enemy. Ben still misses Johnny and the Super 8 movies they made together. When seventeen year old Aubrey Rose, the girl across the street who babysat him buys film for him and offers to make a movie with him, Ben is thrilled. Aubrey is the only other person he knows who is nice to him and doesn't treat him like an outcast.
Ben plans to do part 4 of the series he and Johnny were filming and lets Audrey know about the plot: “But I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble figuring it out. It’s not like we really followed a story for any of them. We just set up weird ways for evil spirits to get loose and attack people. A reel of Super 8 film is about three minutes long with no sound, so there’s not a lot of room for a story.”
After the two make their film, Ben makes a frightening discovery. Unknown to him Audrey is fighting some demons of her own.
This isn't really a terrifying novella, but it is dark. Actually it is the coming-of-age story that works better than the creepy paranormal elements of the plot. Ben was a believable thirteen year old boy and Giglio does an excellent job developing his character. Although When We Fall is listed as 220 pages it did seem much shorter thus my calling it a novella. Perhaps that perception could be due to the intensity of the story too. The ending was a shocking surprise for me.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of DarkFuse via Netgalley for review purposes.