The last of the April releases by DarkFuse was the novella “When We Fall” by Peter Giglio. Why this was the last of the four was really just a matter of reading them alphabetically since I had been seriously impressed by Giglio’s novel “Lesser Creatures” and had been waiting to read more from him.
The year is 1985 and Ben Frendel is your average thirteen-year-old boy who harbors a budding fascination with the seventeen-year-old girl, Audrey Rose, who lives across the alley from him. Ben’s life had changed the previous year when his best friend died in an accident and his world is again rocked by the death of another peer although one he is a lot less fond of. Then Audrey seems to take a new interest in Ben and love appears to be in the air. As the two bond over a mutual fascination of film and the almost inexplicable romantic feelings that Audrey seems to share with Ben, their world is again in for another shift.
Just when everything seems to be going well, Ben starts having nightmares. The problems are kicked into overdrive when he discovers a ghostly message in the film that he made with Audrey. Now Ben must discover the secret behind the seemingly haunted film as well as the mystery as to why Audrey has suddenly taken a romantic interest in him.
When I started “When We Fall,” I have to admit that I was a little concerned after reading the first couple pages. The opening of the story reminded me a lot of the movie “Super 8” and I was a little worried that this story would be too similar to that movie for me. I son found out just how wrong that first impression was. For being a relatively short novella, “When We Fall” is a surprisingly complex story with many layers. It is, at times, a coming of age story superimposed on a ghost story and is always entertaining. Giglio puts so much into the story that it makes the mind spin and forces the reader to reflect not only on the story but on humanity itself. The ghosts in the story itself become secondary to the dark places that lurk in the back of the mind. Ben and Audrey are forced to face the evils of the world and their own minds while the ghosts serve more as guides to understanding rather than dark forces.
Giglio impressed me with “Lesser Creatures” and “When We Fall” cemented him in my mind as a writer with considerable talent. “When We Fall” is quite simply one of the best novellas I have read in a while. Giglio creates a tale that transcends a simple ghost story to become something much more haunting. I found myself completely immersed in the story and anxiously read as fast as I could to see what would happen next. “When We Fall” is a terrific story and one that is sure to be a favorite of mine for a long time and a story that I look forward to reading again in the future.
I would like to thank DarkFuse and NetGalley for this advanced review copy. “When We Fall” is scheduled to be released by DarkFuse in April and is available for preorder now.