“I keep thinking if I remember everything the way I need to that the memories will fade way. That I can accept what happened. I can accept that I survived and everyone else died.” (Morris, p. 2).
Feel Me Fall is a fast paced, riveting thriller about life, secrets, and survival. Hold on to your hats as you are taken deep in to the Amazon jungle, surrounded by danger. This book is full of twists and turns, deadly surprises, and Lord of the Flies style horror!
The Plot: Emily Duran has survived a horrific ordeal. While on a plane for a school trip, disaster strikes and the plane crashes in the middle of the jungle. Only six survive the crash; Emily, Ryan, Nico, Derek, Molly and Viv. In hopes of being discovered by rescue teams, the group decides to travel along the river, toward the ocean. They soon realize that hunger, dehydration, and the jungle are not the only things they have to worry about. They struggle with secrets, betrayals, lies, and lost hope as they try to survive the elements, and each other. With Emily being the only one rescued, can she handle the burden of knowing what really happened in the Amazon?
“If I’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s that we are all miserably flawed and capable of acting like monsters.” (Morris, p. 222).
Wow! Feel Me Fall held me in its grips from beginning to end! It’s obviously no secret that there is only one survivor of the horrific plane crash. But what is surprising is the story she tells of what happened after the crash. Morris does an exceptional job of making me feel like I am truly reading the journal of 17-year-old Emily Duran and her recounting of the horrifying details of surviving in the jungle. This book is like Lord of the Flies meets Lost. I felt terror and utter shock during the escape from the torrential river where the plane had crashed. I felt relief when we find out that someone in the group actually knows a little bit about surviving in the wilderness. And, of course, I felt the fear from the group as we witness the dangers of the jungle, the struggle with hunger and dehydration, and the teenagers trying to survive each other.
“I didn’t know what to call Ryan’s demise. Accidental death? Murder?” (Morris, p. 120).
The characters were so well written. Each one had enough backstory to allow me to see who they used to be and what drove them. Molly was the outcast, lonely girl. Derek was the bullied “geek”. Ryan was the “tough guy”. Nico and Viv were the “cute, superficial couple”. And Emily was a complex, typical teenage girl. Together they almost make an odd Breakfast Club of sorts. But, of course, Emily is the intriguing character of the story.
With the story being told by Emily, we have to assume that she is being factual. We have no other source. The story seems believable enough, horrific, but believable. It is toward the end of the story, when her guilt starts to intensify, that we find out the shocking twists of the truth. Emily has so many layers to her character, because of the story she tells. She is shown as brave and caring, but we find out that she is also deceitful and cunning. Though, she is not the only one with secrets and lies, we slowly uncover layers to her character that suggest she is not the sweet, innocent teenage girl we thought she was.
“I determined what was worth telling or not. I determined who was a villain and who was a hero. Rewriting my own story made it bearable.” (Morris, p. 215).
I was blown away by this one! Feel Me Fall is powerful, emotional, intense, and terrifying! It felt like a thriller movie was playing in my head while I read it! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories full of secrets, lies, peril, and survival instinct. Just don’t read it on a plane ride!
Author Q & A
Can you tell me a little about the YouTube videos that inspired the events of the story?
I wouldn’t say the YouTube videos inspired the events, but they did help with the research – survivalists and jungle experts, especially in creating “beds” from wood and cutting V-grooves. In any fictional world, solid research helps ground the story.
How does this book differ from your other books you have written?
You know, they are all a bit different. And I sometimes think I probably shoot myself in the foot from a marketing point of view. You know what kind of book you’ll get when you pick up, say, Stephen King. Not so with my books. One book is a YA thriller (What Lies Within), another is a love story set in world where music is illegal (Melophobia), and I’ve got a YA horror coming up (Screams You Hear). I pretty much write what interests me, and then I figure out the ages of the characters, rather than setting out to always write a young adult, for example.
How did it feel to get in to the mindset of a teenage girl for the character of Emily?
My wife writes, as well, and what I find interesting is that she generally writes men. I’m a male, and I generally write female characters. I think it’s because I know men. They just aren’t as interesting to me, in general. Whereas, writing in a different gender allows me to really consider: what is it like to be this person? It’s more of a challenge.
Did you have any inspiration when writing Emily’s character?
I didn’t base her on any one person, no. I tried to think how a real person would act in those circumstances. We all want to be the hero in our own lives, our own narratives, but that is rarely true.
Did you have any other story inspiration, such as the television show Lost?
I didn’t watch LOST. My inspiration was more about the theme: what are the stories we tell ourselves, versus the actual event. How do we make sense of the senseless? That’s what intrigued me the most. And then I had to work backwards and figure out: what kind of plot would be best to explore that theme.
Do you have any wilderness survival skills?
Aside from Cub Scouts many years ago, I am pretty much useless in the woods. I can fish, though.
What genre do you enjoy reading the most?
I try to read across all genres, from non-fiction to poetry, to thrillers, historical fiction and young adult. I think they all help keep me aware of what’s going on in the writing world.
How would you feel if Feel Me Fall were to be made in to a movie?
I think every novelist’s secret or not so secret dream is for a book to be made into a movie. You just can’t escape the fact that many people don’t read; but a majority go see movies. It would be a thrill.
Would you be able to stomach grubs in the jungle?
Ha! I think we might all surprise ourselves by what we would do if our survival depended on it. I think grubs would be the least of my concerns.
Do you feel like there is a room for more story after the ending?
I think for all my books there is room for more story; the question becomes how much story? And is that story worth being told? How many times have you read a sequel to something and were disappointed? Offhand, and these are movies, only Godfather II, Aliens and Empire Strikes Back were better or equal to the originals. Otherwise, sequels feel more like money-machines. It’s not always true, but for me, it feels that way. So I ask myself: is the remaining story just as potent, just as propulsive, just as interesting? Otherwise, sometimes it’s good to leave people wanting more, as opposed to them wanting less.
About The Author
James Morris is a television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of What Lies Within, Melophobia, Feel Me Fall and the upcoming Screams You Hear. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching ‘House Hunters Renovation’, or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles.
Thank you to the author, James Morris, for sending me this free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion and for agreeing to an author interview!