Kat's Fall by Shelley Hrdlitschka is a teen fiction book, which was published
in 2004 by Orca Book Publishers. The story takes places in Hope Springs, a
town in the U.S.A. The main characters in the book are Darcy Murphy a
fifteen year-old boy and his sister Kat an eleven year-old girl who is deaf.
Their mother has been in jail for ten years convicted of throwing Kat off a
fifth floor balcony when she was a baby. Now she has been freed and has
come back to live in Hope Springs. By the end of the book, Darcy finds out
that his mother is innocent and that he threw his sister from the balcony. His
teacher helps him to write a letter to the newspaper explaining this. Now, he
doesn't feel so guilty about what he did when he was a little boy and the
people in the town don't hate his mother anymore.
I like this book because it was so interesting that I kept reading and could
not put it down. So much happens in the book and it really made me think about
some of the bad things that can happen in people's lives. The book is well written
but like all books, it has its strengths and weaknesses.
There is strong characterization the story. The characters in the
book are very different from each other and are believable. For instance, I
think Darcy is really mixed up, because he thinks his mother tried to kill his
sister. He goes to a special school for students who behave badly but the
author shows his good side too. He looks after his deaf sister and he works
after school baby-sitting a deaf 4 year-old girl. Kat too is a strong character.
She has her deafness to overcome but she is usually happy and does not act
out. Another strength of the book is its realistic language. Darcy uses some bad
words but the author uses them because teenagers use them in real life. I
also think it is realistic when Darcy cuts his arm when his girlfriend leaves him.
The art work on the cover of the book is really good. The photograph is
taken from the bottom of the apartment building looking up. It makes you
think about how far Kat fell when she was thrown. The letters of the title
also look as if they're falling. "So," The art work and the theme of the book go
Some parts of the plot are weak: for instance, when the little girl says she
has been hurt by somebody whose name begins with " D ", Darcy is accused
of sexual abuse. Why didn't the police woman ask her if it was Darcy right at
the beginning? I also feel that Darcy's mother is not believable. I don't think she
would have taken the blame for Kat's fall and gone to prison. She knew that
Darcy would be forgiven because he was only 4 year-old. Going to prison meant
she would not with her family for ten years. Darcy's father is also difficult to
understand: if he didn't want to look after Darcy and Kat, why didn't he ask
for help from social services? Darcy was too young to have brought up his
This book is worth reading. There are more strengths than weaknesses. Actually
many of friends have read this book, they also said this is a good book to read and
learn more words.