Falling Leaves by Stefan Mohamed
|Falling Leaves by Stefan Mohamed|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Building on the strength of his fantastic Bitter Sixteen trilogy, author Stefan Mohamed returns with an adult read that skilfully blends the fantastical with the everyday – making for an exhilarating and moving tale that cleverly combines supernatural happenings with human themes of loss, growth and love. A brilliant read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: March 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
When your best friend vanishes, how can you begin to move on? How can you live your life not knowing whether they're okay? And what would you do if they reappeared in your life? – all questions that Vanessa faces every day, even seven years after her best friend Mark vanished. When he reappears, she's shocked not only by his presence back in her life, but also by the fact that he hasn't aged a day – for him, no time has passed since his disappearance. Shocked, confused and emotionally reeling, Vanessa must return to her home town in order to help Mark find the answers he so desperately craves. But what's waiting for them is far more surprising than either of them could ever have dreamt…
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Stefan Mohamed – his Bitter Sixteen trilogy were a hugely clever blend of pop culture, superpowers and real heart, that made for refreshing and original reading. Falling Leaves ticks all the boxes that Bitter Sixteen did – in terms of strange occurrences, pop culture references and clever characters, but goes in a slightly more adult direction – where Bitter Sixteen dealt with the feelings and problems that come with being a teenager, Falling Leaves explores life as a 20 something – and the money worries, failed relationships and family difficulties that can often come with that age. It's a really clever move – as Mohamed keeps everything I love about his writing but turns up the emotional intensity just a notch. His skill for writing real, relatable characters ensures that every emotional beat hits hard – and they're characters you'll be glad to go on a journey with, no matter the destination.
The plot itself is certainly one that surprises – a few moments had me open mouthed in surprise, but that's certainly not a bad thing – and Mohamed keeps a tight grip on his plot in order to ensure just the right amount of everything – the supernatural elements never become overpowering, and nor do the emotions at the core of this story. It feels genuine, warm and rather tense experience to travel with these characters, and I'd be very keen to see them return in some form – I'm curious to see whether Stefan Mohamed is building a shared world for the characters both here and in Bitter Sixteen, as there seemed to be a subtle link here and there that could well tie them together. Either way, I'll be waiting with baited breath for his next book – he's an author of rare talents, and the combination of emotion, humour and action in his books is unique – many authors try and achieve the right balance but, for me, Mohamed is one of the few who gets it absolutely spot on. His books never fail to provide me with huge amounts of enjoyment – and Falling Leaves is certainly no different.
Many thanks to the publisher for the copy, and for further reading I certainly recommend checking out the first book in the Bitter Sixteen.
You can read more book reviews or buy Falling Leaves by Stefan Mohamed at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Falling Leaves by Stefan Mohamed at Amazon.com.
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