The Last Leaves Falling

The Last Leaves Falling

Book - 2015
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In Japan, teenaged Abe Sora, who is afflicted with "Lou Gehrig's Disease," finds friends online and elicits their help to end his suffering.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2015
Edition: First US edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781481430654
Branch Call Number: Y FIC Benwell S
Characteristics: 359 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Jul 17, 2016

This book made tears bubble in my eyes several times. The book gives you a new perspective and outlook on things, with Sora's ALS getting worse and worse throughout the story. It makes you completely FEEL the main character, Abe Sora, and the pain he goes through. I loved how Sora's friends all had different passions—Mai (MonkECMonkEDo) with drawing, Kaito (NoFaceBoy) with technology, and Sora himself (SamuraiMan) with literature. I enjoyed how there was a focus on Japanese culture and traditions; it's always great to experience something different. However, there were some things that I noticed. First of all (this might've just been me), I felt that the book spent a little too much time with Sora contemplating death. As well, the friendship between Kaito, Mai, and Sora was somewhat rushed. Overall though, I really liked how their friendship went and the memories created. This book is definitely something I'd recommend!

Sep 06, 2015

The Last Leaves Falling is a beautifully written novel by author Sarah Benwell that leaves readers in profound thought with different questions and perceptions. This book made me feel so many strong emotions, and I just could not put it down. Appropriate for older teens, The Last Leaves Falling touches on deep and darker subjects that makes you take a step back and reflect. The Last Leaves Falling is a book that’s words and message I will not soon forget.

Abe Sora is a 17 year old boy living in Japan suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) who expects to die within two years. His previous life shattered, Sora is left confused and lost, and in search of ordinary lifestyles turns to teen chatrooms online. There he meets two friends Mai and Kaito whom he becomes very close, and provides Sora with a sense of relief from his rapidly progressing disease and the guilt he feels of burdening his mother. With the help of his friends and some Samurai quotes, Sora grows to accept his future and makes an important decision.

I cannot get this book out of my head. It has brought on me whole new perspectives and thoughts. To put it simply, The Last Leaves Falling inspired my thoughts, I’m not sure that makes sense, but make of it as you will! The indirect message kept me up late into the night, wondering, considering, conflicted. There is no way you will finish this book and it will be simply “a book you read at some point.” The Last Leaves Falling has gotten me thinking, and looking at life and other things in diverse, atypical ways I would never have thought of before. Most certainly The Last Leaves Falling has left its mark upon my soul, and will leave a mark on yours, for eternity.

Using a mix of traditional first person narration and online chatroom conversations, The Last Leaves Falling kept me interested for the entire book. In fact, I finished it within two days! This unique style of writing gives the story its own distinct spin, and enables the reader to really dive deep into the story. Furthermore, the raw emotion expressed in The Last Leaves Falling hits you like a wave. I laughed, sobbed, and clenched my fists in anger and frustration along with the protagonist all the way through. That’s how strong you’ll feel connected to Sora and his story, something you don’t find in every book.

I would say that The Last Leaves Falling is appropriate for older teens. Darker subject matter and some foul language (not without reason) as well as also older teens will likely get more out of the main message than the younger audience. However there is nothing I would consider “inappropriate.” Generally speaking 14+.

All in all, The Last Leaves Falling is memorable read that will keep you wondering and thinking. The one of a kind writing style and emotions striking you like a sharpened knife renders the reader incapable of tearing their eyes away. Every component of The Last Leaves Falling weaves together to create an exquisite tapestry unlike any other. Not exactly uplifting, but I will always remember this book, and hold the message and characters close to my heart.

“I cannot mourn, for I have lived a life
Of mountain air and cherry blossoms, steel, and honor.”
-from The Last Leaves Falling

I give The Last Leaves Falling a total of 5 katana (samurai swords) out of 5.


Add Age Suitability
Jul 18, 2016

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Aug 13, 2016

A boy suffering ALS gains friendship from online chatting.


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Jul 18, 2016

This quote made me really emotional:
“I wish, I wish, I wish. But they cannot grant me anything I really want.
I wish to have a life.
I wish to meet my grandchildren, and feed them ice cream until they’re sick.
I wish to be young and free and not in this wheelchair.
It is as if they’re saying , “You are going to die. The best you can do is wish for life.”


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