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review 2016-08-08 00:00
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies - Lindsay Riba... Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies - Lindsay Ribar Racking up another for #ARCAugust! Review to come before the end of the month.

Manipulative dick realizes he’s a manipulative dick after discovering his family’s dark secrets.
I didn’t like Aspen. He wasn’t bad at first, just…a dude. Playing third-wheel to his best friend and the girl of his dreams so his train of thought focused on that a lot. Which turned creepy and awful later. Hell, everything did. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before:
• The magic was cool and Aspen’s enthusiasm for the ritual was adorable like a little kid’s.
• I liked the mystery of unraveling what the hell happened to his cousin Heather, Leah the hipster book clerk, and how this all got started.
• I liked Leah, the hipster book clerk and Brandy, the dream girl the most.
• What the hell was in those drinks?
• Huh, Aspen’s a fucking asshole...
• Christ, people. RUN AWAY! GET AWAY! SAVE YOURSELVES!

After:
• Holy shit, Aspen got fucked.
• Holy shit, Aspen really fucked them over.
• Thank fuck for Leah.
• Poor cousin Heather & her mother 
• His poor mother…
• FUCK YOU [SPOILER]!
• WHAT are YOU DOING, ASPEN?!?! You ASSHAT!
• Good for you Aspen. Try not to fuck up again, dear.
• Want to hug and soothe everyone violated by these fucking people…sheesh.

What you would be like growing up in a hidden magical family like Aspen’s?

The magic is all invasive. It’s supposed to be to save the town, but they use it like a crutch. They’re entitled, selfish and blinded by power. It’s a tale of privilege and family secrets. Aspen’s caught in the middle of it all. At one point an innocent child, now an obnoxious teen. What kind of adult will he be?

The blurb calls it “Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow” but I’ve never watched either of them. Indeed, I had to Google what Stars Hollow was from and finding it’s from the Gilmore Girls leaves me perplexed.

I think it’s more like if Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden was a contemporary dude with powers. Or Mara Dyer without the physically traumatic past and murderous streak.

It was a good, quick, enjoyable read but if you don’t like protagonists like Aspen, I’d steer clear. While magic is pervasive, it’s more about how and why their using for the majority of the tale. So, if you’re looking for a dramatic, character intensive with a spice of magical realism, go for it. It does the unlikable clueless protagonist well.
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review 2016-07-13 19:36
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies Book Review
Rocks Fall Everyone Dies - Lindsay Ribar

This book is so unique and different that I have to give it four stars. Its not my favorite book out there. But its literally unlike anything I have read yet and that makes it that much more compelling. 

 

Aspen Quick has secret powers. He's no super hero though. His powers are that he can take things from people, emotions, feelings, etc. A family ritual that keeps the town and everyone safe. But not everything is quite as it seems.

 

This is a gritty and fairly dark magical realism story. Aspen isn't exactly a protagonist you'll like. He's every bit arrogant as he is snarky.  Luckily, he does grow a bit throughout the book. 

 

I have a feeling this will be a popular book throughout the year and in the future. Magical realism isn't something I haven't read before and I think everyone will be hooked on it because of how unique it is. 

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review 2016-07-07 21:07
Mystery, Suspense and Complicated Families
Rocks Fall Everyone Dies - Lindsay Ribar

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Isn’t the title of this book just great? It’s even awesomer when the author drops it into some of the conversations in the book. But really, this book is amazing. It seems like it would either be full of dark humor or fluff and while it has both, Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies is surprisingly dark and wonderfully mysterious. I had to take several breaks throughout because there was so much tension and so much build-up to a really fucking great climax.

Aspen is a great main character and completely unlikeable when you are first introduced to him, but as we find out more about him and his family, we learn more about why he is this way and what made him this way. And of course, not all hope is lost even though Aspen makes some really bad decisions over the course of the novel.

There are some notable secondary characters present but it is Aspen’s relationship with his family members that is most interesting to me. We already know that this family really isn’t normal but as Aspen finds out more about their ritual, we find that nothing is what it seems and that there are even more hidden depths to this family than we first thought.

Ribar also really spends a lot of time making the Quick family truly unique instead of just magical. They aren’t just a family with a secret and magical powers, they have sob stories, differences amongst each other, and significant others who are scared of these powers. Magic does not always equal rainbows and unicorns but also, their magic is actually really cool and interesting and not at all generic.

Lies, secrets and all that fun stuff obviously makes the plot all the more exciting--to the point where there is no coming back. I mean, I put down the book during some really stressful moments but all I could think about was the book and how much I needed to know what would happen next and how this story would unravel.

And it really does unravel. There is nothing easy or clean about how this book concludes and it becomes clear towards the end that there really isn’t an easy solution to all the problems and perhaps a happy ending might not even be possible (but you’ll have to read to find out more about that ;).) I will say that the ending is fitting for the book and not at all disappointing. I would definitely not mind a sequel though.

Basically, if you love mystery and suspense with a dash of complicated families and magic, this book is for YOU. So go forth and devour.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2016-05-25 04:43
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies (Let's face it, I picked this one up because I liked the title.)
Rocks Fall Everyone Dies - Lindsay Ribar

Without any substantial spoilers, I've got some things I need to say right off the bat. I'll admit it: this book made me super nervous for the first half. When the main character, Aspen, kicks off the story by using his powers to manipulate a girl into a relationship with him I felt all sorts of queasy. (Not really a spoiler as this happens in the first couple pages.) Aspen's behavior kept edging into territory I found really gross, and as I've never read Ribar before I wasn't certain I could trust where she was going. I'm happy to say that in the end she proved herself, at least to me.

 

You could read this book in a lot of different ways. I believe at its core it is about how different people go about coping with difficult emotions, how we manipulate the people around us (especially those we care about), and how the ways we teach children/teens to deal with their emotions and problems can twist them into unhealthy adults. I also think you could throw in a "Smash toxic masculinity!" reading, but that might just be me.

 

There are a few mysteries to be solved, but they take a backseat to Aspen and his internal struggles. He's not often a likable character (at least not to me), but he is often a relatable one, as well as at times an amusing one. The magic system is interesting, and makes for some fertile moral grounds, which are explored. The small town feels familiar and strange all at once. The plot moves forward at a good pace, and reaches a satisfying conclusion. And, most satisfying of all, the lessons learned are excellent ones.

 

All in all this made for a fast read, with some decent meat on the bones to chew on. I'd read Ribar again, and I'm looking forward to putting this in the hands of any teenage boys (or girls really, though to a lesser degree) I find roaming my bookstore.

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