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All Fall Down [Paperback]

Sally Nicholls
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Mar 2012
When Isabel's Yorkshire village is devastated by the Black Death, it seems that the world is ending in horror and fear. But for the survivors of the terrible plague, a new and freer society will rise from the destruction of the feudal system that enslaved the family. A powerful historical novel from one of today's most exciting young writers.


Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books; 1 edition (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407121723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407121727
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good history lesson for 12 upwards. 29 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Set in the middle of the fourteenth century, when the Black Death was sweeping through Britain. All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls tells the story of Isabel, her family and friends, and the village she lives in as the pestilence draws ever nearer.

Sally Nicholls has researched her subject very well and the wealth of period detail including contemporary language is excellent for a YA novel. The spirit of the medieval times is captured quite well and things are explained in fairly plain language so a young audience can get a history lesson at the same time as reading a good story. However, at times, I felt like I'd read it all before. The characters are somewhat lacking in interest and the story is perfectly fine but formulaic and most of the time not particularly gripping even though this time period is one of the most interesting in history I didn't always feel it and it sometimes felt more like an obvious textbook re-telling of well known events.

The main protagonist, Isabel, is a rather modern young lady who is unbelievably composed in the face of great trauma and worryingly self-contained, even when the pestilence strikes down her father and stepmother in rather grim fashion.
Maybe I'm being picky because this is a children's novel after all but I felt that the characters lacked depth and much of the horror was distanced from the reader by either happening `off-stage' or to people the reader didn't really know.
I was moved by the character of the young priest who selflessly tends to the sick and dying when the previous parish priest flees. He was a highlight for me and a brilliant touch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Apocalypse Historical 18 July 2012
By elkiedee VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
All Fall Down is set in the 14th century, yet it reminds me a lot of the post apocalypse novels that fascinated and disturbed me during my teens, and indeed, the author herself describes the Black Death as very much an apocalyptic event in an Author's Note at the end.

Isabel is 14, and can't imagine any other life than living with her father, stepmother, younger brothers and sister, sharing the home with their animals, farming the land. Suddenly, the end of the world seems to have come, as sickness wipes out many of the people in her village including some of her own family. Isabel and her friend Robin, orphaned by the Black Death, and with Isabel's younger brother and sister to look after, have to work out a way to survive in this strange new world, and deal with the challenges of growing up and becoming adults.

Perhaps in some ways Isabel's character is a bit modern for a historical novel - the concept of the teenager and of there being a stage between dependent child and fully fledged adult didn't really exist until quite recently. Isabel has already been working on the land for years. Still, it makes for a very readable perspective on what it might have been like to be a young person in the past, and Nicholls mostly avoids too much softening of the harsh realities of the period. I found Isabel a convincing and believable character, and I think young people might well enjoy this presentation of historical events through the eyes of an ordinary girl, and imagining what it would be like to be her.

An enjoyable yet thought provoking read - now to look for my old post apocalypse books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's 1349. 14 year-old Isabel lives with her father, step-mother Alice, younger brother Ned, younger sister Margaret and baby Edward in the village of Ingleforn in Yorkshire. They're serfs, tied to working the local lord of the manor's land before they can work their own. They have limited freedoms - prevented even from leaving the village without permission - but they live reasonably well and own their own livestock.

A year earlier reports arrived in the village of a terrible sickness taking hold of other parts of the country - a sickness that started in Bristol but soon arrived in London. Given its remoteness, the village thought that it would be safe as the plague started to work north. It was wrong. Over the course of the next year, Isabel will live through horrors she could never previously imagine and everything about her life will change forever ...

Sally Nicholls' YA novel is a historically accurate account of life during the Black Death, but it lacked dramatic tension, with plot and characters existing only to describe what actually happened. As a result, although this is a worthy read and one I'd recommend for any teenagers studying the period, I didn't find it a satisfying novel overall.

Isabel is deftly drawn. Nicholls does well at showing her struggling to come to terms with the tragedies that happen to her and I liked how the plague's arrival and the daily struggle for survival contrasts with her `previous' normal life and mundane concerns. Her relationship with Robin is interesting - part friendship, part romance - and they contrast nicely with each other with Robin desperate to escape mundane village life while Isabel dreams of working her own land.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Acceptable history, boring characters
In the world of Young Adult books there's nothing like a book with lots of death to attract favourable attention from reviewers, and you can't get much more death into one book... Read more
Published 11 months ago by R. A. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars When Living is Harder than Dying
1349 and the Black Death is about to hit fourteen year old Isobel's Yorkshire village with devastating consequences. All Fall Down is structured into three books. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bookbird
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls
When I was a kid, I had a real obsession with the Plague. Morbid, I know, but I had this book that was all about diseases - in the fun, quirky illustrations, cartoony sort of way. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Liberty Gilmore
3.0 out of 5 stars Not emotionally engaging enough for me
I received my copy of this book from Amazon Vine for review and I must admit it took me a while to get round to reading it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ~The Bookworm~
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, informative and touching.
I rarely give 5 stars to anything but I can't fault Sally Nicholl's All Fall Down. Although I suspect the book is aimed at teens, adults should not be put off. Read more
Published 19 months ago by M. E. Cole
4.0 out of 5 stars A survivor's story
Sally Nicholls is one of the best new writers of books for older children and teens. Her debut Ways To Live Forever, the diaries of an eleven year old boy dying from Leukaemia won... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Annabel Gaskell
4.0 out of 5 stars A great, horrifying read for younger readers
This is an apocalyptic novel for younger readers and young adults set during the plague years in the north of England. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Bess_Wheat
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent storytelling
I thought this book was excellent...hence the five stars . It was a descriptive, thought provoking page turner. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Mary wimbledon
3.0 out of 5 stars I would have loved this as a young teenager
Sally Nicholls has taken the Black Death of the mid-fourteenth century and used it as the background to an apocalyptic novel of disaster and survival. Read more
Published on 21 May 2012 by Roman Clodia
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping teen novel ina real apocalypse
This was a easy and gripping read. It is centred on a villien in a small village near York. She has never travelled further than the next village, although her step-mother once... Read more
Published on 17 May 2012 by JoMaynard
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