If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

9780771022425At 11 years old, Will cannot remember spending time outside. His days consist of staying inside painting masterpieces and helping his agoraphobic mother battle the Black Lagoon that haunts her. That is until one day when he hears a loud BANG outside his house and for the first time since they became recluses in their home in Thunder Bay, Will goes outside to investigate and meets a boy named Marcus, who is busy stealing their garden hose.

This encounter opens up Will’s curiosity to going outside. He convinces his mom to send him to school where he learns about Marcus’s disappearance. With the help of some new friends, Will sets out to find Marcus and save him from the evil in that lurks inside Thunder Bay.

If I Fall, If I Die is a coming of age novel that puts a curious and naive boy in the middle of a risky, and almost deadly, task. One of my favorite parts about this novel was the descriptive lines Christie used throughout the story. They were new and interesting ways of describing every day sensations and experiences that I have never read before and that helped define who Will was as a character. All of the characters were unforgettable and very real in their reactions. I think the fact that Christie’s mother suffered from agoraphobia helped in his writing of Will’s mother, who had many different quirks to help her quell her anxiety.

I did, however, find the ending slightly underwhelming. I felt that it ended rather abruptly and for several of the questions that lingered at the end to be answered within one or two sentences, as if the book was suddenly too long and needed to be wrapped up as quickly as possible. I actually went back and re-read some of the second section after I was done the book because I thought I had missed something, when really I just feel that it might not have been explained that well.

But, I cannot say that the ending would deter me from recommending it to others. The twist at the end was still surprising since Christie did a good job in leading the reader to believe one truth when it actually was something completely different. I just felt that it lacked the overall TA-DA! experience that it should have had. Despite that one shortcoming, I still think If I Fall, If I Die was an amazing read with lively characters that tell a remarkable story.

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