Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Series: standalone
Released: June 7th 2016
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Length: 336 pages
Source: bought
Buy: Amazon

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.

I strongly suspect that a title like Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies will make just about everyone grab this book from the shelf. It’s a title that demands attention, but luckily for us (and for debut author Lindsey Ribar) the rest of the book absolutely deserves it. Closer to magical realism than just about anything else, this debut title is funny, quirky and unique.

The story is told by a 17-year-old boy from a family with magical abilities. Member’s of Aspen’s family can reach into people and take things – feelings, affinities, personality traits and even physical characteristic. They do it mostly to keep the Cliff from falling and destroying the inhabitants of Three Peaks. They can also use it for personal gain, the only rule being that they can’t turn on each other.
Our narrator Aspen is no hero. He’s quite the opposite, in fact. His moral compass is seriously malfunctioning and it continually leads him to highly questionable choices. It doesn’t take more than a few pages for us to understand that Aspen won’t be an easy one to like. As he sits and gleefully watches his best friends breaking up, we have to reach deep into ourselves to find some sympathy and understanding. And yet, Aspen turns our feelings around unusually fast. He doesn’t change his personality, if anything he keeps making more and more mistakes, but his dry humor and his almost childlike understanding of his own powers makes him somehow dear to us despite our best efforts. Power corrupts, of course, and when you’ve had such immense power from early childhood and no one strong enough to teach you right from wrong, you can’t become anything other than an anti-hero.

Aspen does a lot of harm along the way, but it does it almost like a child handling his father’s gun, with no real grasp of the consequences. Still, he isn’t entirely blameless and most of his use of magic is absolutely self-serving. Ribar doesn’t offer easy fixes, not even at the end of Aspen’s journey. She merely gives us hope that he might approach things differently in the future.

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies is unusual from start to finish, filled with original ideas and flawless execution. Ribar’s teenagers are true teens and she doesn’t shy away from them. They engage in casual sex and they drink at every available opportunity. The story is completely free of any type of moralizing, be it about drinking, sex or Aspen’s reckless actions. Things just are, as they are in life, and just like in life, there are no clean solutions.


  1. It's interesting and different to have a main character like that! Thanks for the discovery!

  2. YES! I really love this title so I'm glad that the book is just as good! I adore a well-written magical realism story like no other so I can't wait to pick this up. Fantastic review, Maja! :)

  3. The title definitely makes me want to pick this book up. I'm also very curious about the main character because he sounds so different from your typical MC. I didn't realize this was magical realism, but I've been craving more since I loved The Weight of Feather.
    Wonderful review, Maja! I'll be adding this to my TBR!

  4. I ordered this one for my library because I thought it was much different from the other books in YA right now. I kinda like the sound of the MC, because he does seem like a real person. We'll see if I can actually stand him. :)

  5. Stupid blogger ate my comment :/

    Cool cover!

  6. I am a little intimidated by this book, but I'm so intrigued.

  7. I wasn't entirely sure about this one at first and I have to blame the title for it, but I'm glad to hear we get something that has real and genuine character but also a sense of magical realism to it! I'm now very intrigued about this one, so thank you for your review Maja!


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