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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review: And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky

I will be starting this review with the quote: "Sometimes things fall apart so they can fall into the right places." It might not be the exact quote, but it's the one I remember vividly while I was reading this book.

Title: And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky
Pages: 272
Release Date: July 26th 2011
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Publisher/Marketing (Thanks Amy!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads):

Keek’s life was totally perfect.

Keek and her boyfriend just had their Worst Fight Ever, her best friend heinously betrayed her, her parents are divorcing, and her mom’s across the country caring for her newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. To top it all off, Keek’s got the plague. (Well, the chicken pox.) Now she’s holed up at her grandmother’s technologically-barren house until further notice. Not quite the summer vacation Keek had in mind.

With only an old typewriter and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar for solace and guidance, Keek’s alone with her swirling thoughts. But one thing’s clear through her feverish haze—she’s got to figure out why things went wrong so she can put them right.

Keek's life went from perfect to worse. Just a week ago she was still happy with her boyfriend, Matt, until they had a fight over doing "it". Until she contracted chicken pox. Until her parents' marriage became a big disaster. And until her so called "best buddy" decided it was a great idea to sleep with her father in their restaurant's freezer. Now everything was so wrong, and Keek was shipped to her grandmother's house, away from civilization, with a broken phone and no internet connection, sick and very depressed, only a typewriter and her battered copy of The Bell Jar to keep her company until she gets better. So Keek did the only thing she could do if she wants to stay sane. Write. And write she did, about everything that went wrong, and think about them, and maybe think of how to fix her life while writing about it.

There is something about Keek that makes her very entertaining. I love reading about characters like her. It's immensely satisfying and at the same time intriguing to read from a person's point of view because you get to know everything, the whole package. Everything that Keek feels, from hatred, to confusion, to intense love, loneliness and bitterness felt very honest, and it has more impact when you read it as she tells it. No sugarcoating. Just the truth, and what she feels about it. Her humour and frequent sarcastic remarks pasted a permanent grin on my face while reading. You can tell that for a fifteen year old, Keek is a smart girl with a lot on her plate. Her emotional turmoil was evident. She's at that point where everything around her seems to demand answers and everywhere she looks she can't help but be confused.

Drawing parallels with Esther of The Bell Jar and comparing the book to her life is the highlight of And Then Things Fall Apart. I haven't read The Bell Jar, so I'm not sure what to expect of Esther, but from what I can tell, her character and the book helped Keek deal with her issues. It was hard to see anything good out of what was happening to Keek's life, but The Bell Jar helped. Writing became therapeutic for Keek and before long, she was trying to get out of her depression. She had to be angry, depressed and lonely to be able to sort out her feelings and realize the mistakes she has made and make amends for them. As said in the book, "what was done cannot be undone", but Keek can start over and she realized that after quite a lot of difficulties. It wasn't easy, but Keek had to go through another phase in her life after all the emotional upheaval: understanding and acceptance.

And Then Things Fall Apart, though told solely from Keek's perspective, has a few characters readers will love aside from Keek herself. It made me a little bit sad for Keek's parents. Keek made me feel what she feels. It was easy to empathize and sympathize with Keek. I hated her parents, despised Amanda, adored her grandmother, loved Nic, and still felt torn about Matt. I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with a few things in the book, forgiveness and understanding doesn't come easily as Keek said. But this book made me realize that it might be healthy to ponder about our lives once in a while.

Arlaina Tibensky has a way with words. Quirky, snarky, but downright touching, And Then Things Fall Apart is quite a debut. If Keek feels unloved by her parents, you will love her after you've read of her. Overflowing with sarcastic humor, countless musings about love, sex, family and life in general, And Then Things Fall Apart is a fantastic debut. The haikus and anagrams are also worth taking a look, there's something in those words we can all relate to.

Arlaina Tibensky is a promising author that I will be looking out for, with this splendid novel. Give this novel a try!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Thumbs up for the snarky humor!

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
That cover makes me want to buy a typewriter.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Sounds like a fun read. Great review!

  2. Keek is just the most awesome name, seriously. And I have no idea why, but I thought this book was about a road trip at first...

    Yay, lovely review. I need to get a copy of this.

    Cinnamon @ A Thousand Little Pages

  3. Sounds like a real emotional read. Good to know that there is snarky humor that offsets all the varied feelings Keek is dealing with. I think having her write about it all is an engaging format. Terrific review.

  4. This book sounds amazing! I haven't read The Bell Jar, either, but it's supposed to be amazing, and I have a feeling I'll be picking it up as soon as I finish And Then Things Fall Apart.


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