Catch Me If I Fall


Publication Date: 3 Nov. 2020
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781760877613

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    'We've been worried about Aiden too, Ash,' said Mum. "He's always been such a "¦ predictable child. You're not the only one to have noticed the changes.'

    Ash and Aiden Delatour are identical twins, living a privileged lifestyle with loving parents. In a world that has fallen apart at the seams, they want for nothing. All they have to do is be there for each other, no matter what.

    But after Aiden suffers a terrible injury, he isn't the same brother Ash always relied on. Something has changed, and it will lead to a discovery that will turn their whole world upside down.

    A brilliant and timely middle-grade novel from the bestselling author of My Life As An Alphabet and A Song Only I Can Hear.

    Information

    Book Type: Junior High
    Age Group: 12 to 15 years
    Traffic Lights:
    Class Novel: Yes
    Good Reads Rating: 5/5
    Literary Rating: 5/5

    Review

    Catch Me If I Fall is set in a dystopian near future where climate change has ravaged the Earth and society has fractured. A privileged few rule the decimated population, aided by the working class. Everyone else must fend for themselves.

    Into this world are born twins Ashleigh and Aiden. Their mother is the world's foremost AI developer and owner of a megacorporation. The children are privileged to live in a cocoon, sheltered from the dangers of the "real world".

    But a school trip in the Blue Mountains changes the twins' lives forever. In an attempt to save Ashleigh from harm during a kayaking accident, Aiden is himself injured. Surprisingly he doesn't seem to have sustained any serious injuries, but he begins to act strangely. Once very protective and considerate, he has become more confrontational and inquisitive. He even seeks out society's outcasts in order to understand their viewpoint. At first, Ashleigh puts this down to puberty, as they've just turned 13 -- but as Aiden continues to change, their parents become increasingly worried.

    Things come to a head when Aiden gets into a fight at school. Ashleigh, trying to stop the fight, gets caught in the crossfire. As a result, their mother's terrible secret is revealed: she used her expertise with AI and robotics to create Aiden. Aiden was supposed to be a protector for Ashleigh, but now that he's hurt her their mother is certain that he's found a way around his programming. And an AI unbound by programming is a serious threat.

    But Ashleigh knows her brother better than that. By switching places, they manage to escape and make their way to the outcasts. There, Aiden talks about the future with Ashleigh. He wants to save humanity from the cruel cycle we are stuck in: a system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and food supply and climate change get worse year by year. He knows that our society is not sustainable and plans to use his intellect to change things for the better. His mother was afraid of him because he was unlearning his programming, but he's not actually a threat to humanity. Gaining a new perspective, outside of the rules he'd been following all his life, has given him an opportunity to protect everyone, not just Ashleigh.

    A very enjoyable story with a great twist. The ecocritical themes will tie into any discussions about climate change, pollution, and activism. Though set in a world ruined by climate change, the social commentary in this book is applicable to a number of scenarios -- discussing classism and privilege in an accessible way.

    This great story will keep you in suspense until the last page and leave you wanting more. Definitely a worthwhile read.

    Themes

    family, privilege, classism, Artificial Intelligence, school, climate change, ecocriticism, activism, dystopian future, change, knowledge, sibling bonds

    Content Notes

    1. Language: bitch x 2. 2. Ashleigh nearly drowns in a kayaking incident, and breaks all her ribs. Aiden is also involved and has some cuts on his face (p. 80-83).

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