Welcome to the blog tour for Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch! I can't tell you how excited I am to be part of this tour, you guys. Let's get this party started, shall we? Oh! Be sure to check out the other tour stops by clicking the banner above or clicking HERE. Also, enter the tour-wide giveaway below!
Black River Falls
by Jeff Hirsch
Published: 5 July 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Provided for tour in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4/5!
Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories. He chooses to remain in the quarantined zone, caring for a group of orphaned kids in a mountain camp with the help of the former brutal school bully, now transformed by the virus into his best friend. But then a strong-willed and mysterious young woman appears, and the closed-off world Cardinal has created begins to crumble.
When first we jump into the novel, we meet Cardinal Cassidy. His father is a famous comic book author/artist and his mother is a well-known dancer. He has an older brother, Tennant, as well. I liked Cardinal almost immediately. He has such a distinct, strong young voice and he pulled me in from the start. It starts with him writing a letter. It's not given away immediately who he's writing to, which I liked quite a bit, but you do find out after a while. It's been a year since the breakout of Lassiter's happened, taking his family away from him, and he's made a little home for himself and other orphaned children. I liked that the author also didn't give away what happened to make him away from his family. This made me want to keep reading, which is genius. Card is hyper-aware of his surroundings, being one of the only uninfected people in the town, so he wears his mask and gloves and keeps a safe distance. I enjoyed how caring he is and how he is much stronger than he realizes. Card is a bit of a wild card emotionally, but like I said, he's so much stronger than he knows. The kids at the camp all know he's strong and look up to him as well. His best friend, Greer, used to be his biggest tormentor before the virus. I really liked Greer a lot as well. He was a ball of energy and positivity, which was clearly much different from his pre-virus self. He made me laugh every time he would announce he was pretty sure he was this or that in his previous life. Ever the optimist, Greer! The mystery girl was an interesting addition, but I didn't like her as much as the guys. The kids name her Hannah and she becomes one of the ones in charge of everyone in camp, along with Greer and Card.
The pace of the story, I felt, was rather spot on. It slowed in parts and then sped right on up in others. There were parts where time just kind of froze, but that was what Cardinal was expecting, so it didn't bother me at all. I think my favorite part about this novel was how it makes you think. Sure, these people lost their memories, but what's the big deal? How could this be such a disaster that they would have to Quarantine the whole town and have the government basically babysit them? Then you think about how scary it would be to suddenly have no memory of anything. You don't remember your name, where you are, who the people surrounding you are, anything. It's no surprise there was mass chaos and people freaked out. I don't know if it would be more frightening to lose my memory and be one of the ones who didn't during the outbreak. It also brings to mind the discussion about nature versus nurture. Who would you be if you suddenly had no memory of your past, your family, your traditions, your... anything? Food for thought.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I found myself wanting to sneak in as much reading as possible, which is always a good sign. This book made me think and made me care about the characters and this town infected with a strange virus. What would you do? What I suggest is picking up Black River Falls and find out for yourself.
Here are some things about me.
I live in an extremely Brazilian section of an extremely Greek neighborhood—Astoria, Queens, which is just to the right of Manhattan. (That's as you face Manhattan. If you were, say, lying on your back in the middle of Central Park with your head in a northerly position, we would be to your left) I live there with my wife who has a blog and our two cats who do not. One day I hope to have a very large dog that I can name Jerry Lee Lewis.
I used to write plays (I actually have an MFA in it, which is currently number 8 on US News and World Report's annual list of the top twenty most useless masters degrees) and now I write books for teens. I've written two. One was about a girl who wanted to be a rock star and could graciously be called a learning experience.
The second is The Eleventh Plague and it came out Sept. 1, 2011, a fact I still find pretty amazing.
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