A pretty enjoyable debut novel. The premise is a good one and seems fairly unique for young adult dystopian fiction. Cate lives in the remains of the United States where the population has been decimated. Still, her parents generation survived and rebuilt to give their kids a decent life. With the population being so small and having seen so much death, many parents have taken preventative measures by having their children cloned. Their clones live in a laboratory, but they feel and remember all the same things as their “origins.” When Cate’s sister Violet dies at a young age, they go and pick up clone Violet after the funeral. The story picks up several years later with Violet in trouble with the law and Cate trying to figure out what’s going on.
I loved how much emphasis was put on the relationship between Cate and Violet. Siblings are a huge part of growing up for many people and it was fascinating seeing these two navigate their way through complicated situation. They felt like strongly written real people. Both had flaws they were trying to overcome, but they were strong in their own ways. Gaither’s writing was good. It wasn’t showy or distracting, just clean writing in service of the story. She really has a knack for writing fight scenes in a clear way. It was very easy to picture what was going on in some of the more complicated scenes.
I felt like the weak points of this book were the adult characters who didn’t always feel like real people and complicated situations being resolved a little too easily. I’m also not sure I completely understand a few side characters motivations. Still, I’m not sure the adult characters would matter so much for the intended teenage audience. If you or your kids like dystopian YA, they’d probably like this book.
I received Falls the Shadow as part of a goodreads giveaway.