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The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
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The Last Leaves Falling

by Sarah Benwell

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1108109,733 (4.09)5

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Well, this is the first time a book has made me cry in a long time. I don't read much about terminal illnesses - I haven't read a book like this since well before my grandfather passed from cancer, and it hit me a lot harder now that I can visualize the end of life.

I didn't connect to Sora as a teenager, though - I connected to his anguish about prolonging life artificially and his fear of dying without dignity. The writing was kind of stilted and I don't really know what to think of this as a British person writing a story about Japan, with Japanese characters discussing their culture often. Some language seemed very American, ("dude") so.

I also like the technological aspect of it and the message that online friends can be just as important.

Another thing: there was no sweeping love story, no dangerous adventures, no romanticizing a terminal illness. And that was so so good. The story that carried out was a lowkey and mild one. Also, I think I saw a jab at TFIOS. ( )
  jwmchen | Nov 4, 2017 |
Four Stars for this well written, poignant tale of Abe Sora, a seventeen year old young man who is dying from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also know as Lou Gehrig's disease. Intelligent, loved by his family, he seeks answers to life's questions, primarily, he longs to know what will happen when he dies. Is there another life? Does he have the right to choose when this one should end?

Throughout his journey, rarely, if ever, does he sink to the depths of why me, why not someone else. Rather, he longs for friends, which he does eventually find through an internet chat room. And, he longs for relief from the fact that each new day brings less muscle coordination.

The author weaves a beautiful tapestry of the friendship of Abe and his two friends who gladly learn to see the world through his eyes. Each day is a blessing, and he and his friends try as best as possible to make each journey special.

The setting is Japan, and I very much liked the way in which the culture was portrayed throughout the story. With a strong bond of his mother and her parents, Abe walks a fine line between wanting them to answer some of his questions, yet not wanting to burden them.

With this wonderful book as the author's debut, I anxiously await another. ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Jul 7, 2016 |
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

If you hadn't heard about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) before last summer, you'll probably know it now thanks to all the attention that went into the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was of course only a matter of time before there would be books about it as well. And I thoroughly believe it's a good thing that awareness is created for this terrible disease (as there should be awareness for many more terrible diseases).

I really liked the setting, in Japan. It's always nice to read about a different culture. I was not such a big fan of the chats that were included into the book, and I felt that the friendship that followed was rushed, especially in the beginning. Come to think about it, the whole book felt rushed. It wasn't a particularly long book, so I would have liked to perhaps see it a bit longer so that the events all felt better in place.

Although I thought it was an interesting story, I never truly connected with Sora or his friends. It didn't have the emotional wow-factor that I thought it would have. Perhaps my expectations were a bit too high...

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
This is the story of Abe Sora who was diagnosed with ALS at 17. At the point we meet him, he has already lost the use of his legs, he is no longer attending school and he is experiencing depression for all he has lost, as well as knowing he has a terminal disease. He lives with his single mother but is close to his grandparents who are also suffering from his situation. Feeling closed off, he goes online to various chat rooms where he befriends two people who come to mean a great deal to him – Mai and Kaito. While Abe fears death, he also fears an end without dignity. This is the story of the choices he makes, the friends who understand and help him, and why each moment we have on earth is valuable. It is a tearjerker so do not read in public! ( )
  Susan.Macura | Apr 17, 2016 |
Abe Sora is seventeen years old, and he’s got an older person’s degenerative and fatal disease: ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s progressing extremely fast. His school has been unwilling to allow him to continue since he’s now using a wheelchair, so he stays home, surfing the web, with his mother for company in the evenings. That is the extent of his life.

Then he meets some kids in a teen chat room, and friendship blossoms. Their first physical meeting is awkward, but the relationships evolve, as does his relationship with his mother. He gets to be a teenager again, doing things with friends as equals.

The joy he finds is always edged with sorrow because of his limited time on this earth, but he finds himself taking his life into his own hands instead of being told what to do or being limited by his condition. He blossoms, but the story is piercingly sad. It’s a coming of age story, but a coming of age that you know is going to end soon. Beautifully written; my heart ached for Abe. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Feb 17, 2016 |
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In Japan, teenaged Abe Sora, who is afflicted with "Lou Gehrig's Disease," finds friends online and elicits their help to end his suffering.

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