Fall is a novel set in Canada and written by Colin McAdam. The book follows the lives of two boys as they navigate through St. Ebury, an exclusive boarding school for the children of Canada’s elite. The days spent at school are repetitive and strictly defined by school work and the expectations set for future lives. The school is predominantly male, housing only a handful of girls. Of these girls, it is the beautiful and graceful Fall who captivates many of the boys and provides distraction from the dull life of an average student. Julius is a popular boy who seems to have everything figured out, despite being at an age where the future is uncertain. The reader, who has access to Julius’ thoughts, knows the opposite to be true; he is concerned only for Fall, consumed by lust and love, and full of inarticulate musings. His roommate Noel, on the other hand, is a clever loner who has a tendency to remain at the school on the weekends, spending free hours lifting weight and reading books.
As the year progresses, Julius becomes physically closer to Fall, and Noel begins to believe that his place of residence automatically draws him closer into Julius’ circle of friends, and in turn, closer to Fall, the girl he watches closely from a distance. When Fall disappears from the school, the illusion of a predictable future will disappear and the lives of these boys will change dramatically. McAdam manages to create an articulate and accurate account of what it means to be an adolescent boy in the space of few words. His daring style and eye for detail remind us that life can never be predictable, even in a place where each day seems to be the same as the one before. I was disappointed by the ending and the thinness of Fall’s character: she was nothing more than an object of desire. This book contains some mature themes and a great deal of course language. Recommended for students in grade 11 or 12, especially boys.