The Last Leaves Falling

If you're looking for something to balance out your beach bag full of breezy summer reads, consider Sarah Benwell's new Young Adult novel, "The Last Leaves Falling." Brushing it off as "just for teens" would be a mistake; this is a book with great depth.

The story follows Abe, a Japanese boy with ALS, who is in a wheelchair and doesn't have control of his body. Not only does it give a glimpse into what life is like with a disability, it also opens readers eyes to Japanese culture.

The heart of the book is the great right to die debate. Abe has already lost control of his legs. Soon, he will lose control of his hands. And his body will continue to deteriorate. He hates being a burden to his family and has to make an extremely difficult decision about his life, whether he should live or die. Hey, we warned you this was a heavy read.

Yes, it's sad, but this is a book that asks important questions and gives readers a greater sense of empathy. Read it with a box of tissues.


Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

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