A tragic tale with layered lessons

Book Review: The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell

Be prepared to connect with the characters in this story.


Be prepared to connect with the characters in this story.

Skylar Willis, Staff writer

The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell was very good and it helped me to learn about different cultures. However, the ending to this book made me uneasy.

In this book, you are introduced to Sora who started having aches in his legs which the doctor’s first thought was the flu, but eventually his legs stopped working altogether. They couldn’t find out what was wrong with him, although they did a lot of tests, and nothing came up conclusive, until it did.

Sora was diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig ’s disease. It is very rare in anybody, especially someone as young as Sora. It causes gradual deterioration, limited movement, and has no cure. It will always end in death. The average prognosis is two years, but it can be more or less.

When he hears his diagnosis, Sora goes online and meets two friends, Kaito and Mai. They eventually meet up, become best friends, and start hanging out.

There are some sweet scenes with Sora and his mom as well as his grandparents. The story shares a lot about Japanese culture and readers also get to learn about ALS. Sora is a very strong protagonist, even though he doesn’t have much hope or things to look forward to.

It was a powerful although heartbreaking read, and the ending had me at a loss for words. There are some sensitive topics in this book so if you get triggered easily I wouldn’t suggest reading this book. However, if you have the courage to pick it up, you won’t forget Sora’s story. It truly is heartbreaking and, while I didn’t cry, I could see how people could.

Sora helps his friends with their problems and they help with his. I adored his friends, they were super sweet. It talks a lot about power of choice and it shows how disability can be such a difficulty and barrier for communication, with everyone looking at you crazy.

I loved this book and definitely recommend you give it a read, it’ll surely be worth your time!