Benwell, F. (2015). The Last Leaves Falling. UK: Definitions Young Adult.
I can’t even. This is a beautiful story of a teenage boy in Japan who enjoys playing baseball and dreaming of becoming a professor until one day when his legs simply fail him on the field and he collapses. Sora
and his mother sit in the doctor’s office and hear a dreaded prognosis of ALS, a degenerate disease that will cause Sora to progressively lose control of his body to the point where he will be in a hospital bed with machines to help him breath and eat.
To be a young man facing death is terrifying, but what concerns Sora most is his mother. His lovely mother who has given everything to Sora already, will need to stop working and stay home to care for her only child. He is truly wracked with guilt at the thought of the people he will leave behind, including the dearest grandparents in the history of grandparents.
A quiet, thoughtful soul, Sora doesn’t have a network of friendship already in place in his life, and as a sort of social outlet, he turns to a teenage chat forum. Mai, Kaito, and Sora turn out to form an incredible support system for each other.
Clearly, this story arc ends tragically, as we all know it must. We can expect to be sad (as you can see from my selfie below!) and face serious life questions. The world needs more diverse books like this that deal with real issues. I know I want stories that make me THINK and that feed me.
Fox Benwell has a new one out, Kaleidoscope Song:
Wah! This is me after finishing The Last Leaves Falling: